Saturday, February 15, 2020

At 222 Km Per Hour, Air India Pilots Spotted Jeep, Man On Pune Runway

New Delhi: Hurtling down the runway in Pune at a speed of more than 222 kilometres per hour this morning, pilots of an Air India aircraft noticed a jeep and a man in their way, prompting them to carry out a premature and emergency takeoff. Though a major catastrophe was averted, this resulted in the tail striking the surface of the runway, damaging the fuselage.
The Airbus A-321 aircraft carried on with its flight to Delhi where it landed safely. There were 180 passengers and crew on board the flight. The incident is now being investigated by the aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and both the pilots have been de-rostered till the end of the probe.

It is unclear at this stage why the pilots chose to continue their flight to Delhi instead of returning to Pune to make an emergency landing. Investigators will try to understand whether the pilots were aware of the extent of the impact that the rear fuselage of the airliner made with the runway. It is also currently unclear whether a 'tail-strike' sensor was installed on this aircraft which would have alerted the pilots of the impact with the runway when the aircraft made its emergency take-off.

The Pune Airport is also an Indian Air Force airfield, like several other airports in the country, where armed forces personnel carry out routine activity. The DGCA has asked the Indian Air Force to preserve the recording of Air Traffic Control. Meanwhile, Air India has been advised to remove the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) for its analysis, a DGCA official said after the flight landed in Delhi.

"During the morning hours a service vehicle was cleared for routine task on the runway at Pune Airfield, it reached close to the runway at a time when an Air India flight was on the takeoff roll. Due to the presence of the vehicle near runway the Air India pilot had to do an earlier rotation, than what was planned by the crew of the aircraft...," the Air Force said.

A DGCA official, who is aware of preliminary investigation into the incident, said, "The aircraft has been withdrawn from service for investigation. Air India has been advised to coordinate with Pune ATC (air traffic control) also to find out any marking on runway."

When asked about the incident, an Air India spokesperson said, "The A321 aircraft that was scheduled to operate AI 825 (from Delhi) to Srinagar was observed to have certain marks towards the empennage area. This aircraft had arrived from Pune on AI 852. The aircraft has been withdrawn for detailed investigation. The CVR and SSFDR (solid state flight data recorder) readouts would be carried out and the findings shared appropriately."
16/02/20 Vishnu Som/NDTV

Disaster averted: Jeep on runway forces Air India plane to lift off early from Pune

New Delhi: An Air India aircraft on high speed take off roll at Pune airport Saturday morning was forced to get airborne earlier than planned to avoid a possible collision with a jeep that was dangerously near the airstrip. The aircraft had a speed of 220 kmph when an alert Captain Vikram Singh Besoa and first officer Mansika Harlan decided to go for early rotation — lifting nose wheel off the ground — instead of completing the take off roll as planned before doing so. The jeep belongs to Indian Air Force (IAF), which operates the Pune defence airfield, and there was also a man near the runway.
The rear section of Airbus A321, which has a longer fuselage than A320, scraped the runway in the process. Luckily it (VT-PPU) took off uneventfully at 7.55 am and flew all the 190 on board, including 180 passengers, safely to its destination Delhi as AI 852 where it landed at 10.17 am. “Prima facie, Captains Besoa and Harlan have prevented a disaster,” said a senior pilot.
Damage on the fuselage was discovered during inspection of the aircraft before being released for the next flight it was to operate to Srinagar as AI 825. AI has grounded the aircraft for checks and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is probing this incident.
In a statement, IAF confirmed that on Saturday morning “a service vehicle was cleared for routine task on the runway at Pune airfield. It reached close to the runway at a time when an Air India flight was on the take off roll.”
“Due to the presence of the vehicle near runway, the AI pilot had to do an earlier rotation, (earlier) than planned by the crew of the aircraft. The AI aircraft has landed safely in Delhi. The matter is under investigation by IAF,” the statement added.
As per protocol, the crew has been taken off flying duty for so that they are available for the investigation. “We will have interaction with them shortly. IAF has been requested to preserve ATC recording for investigation,” said a DGCA official.
“The average decision speed (V1) — by which any decision to reject a takeoff must be made — for an A321 is 240-250 kmph, depending on various factors like temperature and weight of aircraft. The Pune-Delhi flight may have been below V1 but averting take off might have meant ramming the jeep and a disaster. So the pilots decided to get airborne as soon as possible. The A321 has a longer fuselage (compared to A320) and in almost all tail scrape/strikes involving this aircraft, the same is realised on seeing the marks after landing,” said one of the senior most commanders of AI.
15/02/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

JetLite staff moves NCLT to be part of Jet’s insolvency resolution

Mumbai: The employees of JetLite, a subsidiary of Jet Airways, have moved the
dedicated bankruptcy court to be part of the corporate insolvency resolution process of the
defunct carrier.
On Friday, the employees approached the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law
Tribunal (NCLT) with the argument that when they had approached the resolution
professional (RP), their claims were rejected.
“Claims submitted to the Jet Airway’s RP are being rejected and JetLite’s employees are
being neglected,” argued the counsel for the employees of JetLite. “Jet Airways and
JetLite are interdependent entities. The dues of JetLite employees are around Rs 50
crore.”
15/02/20 Maulik Vyas/Economic Times

Nagaland: Dimapur Airport to be developed in two phases

A meeting of Nagaland governor RN Ravi and senior officials of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) from Delhi in Kohima decided to develop Dimapur Airport in two phases.

The meeting on Friday follows a recent meeting of Ravi and union minister of state for civil aviation (independent charge) Hardeep Singh Puri.

The meeting also decided to further improve the air connectivity in the state, Raj Bhavan said in a statement on Saturday.

In the phase-I of improvement, it was decided to ensure required extensions of the runway of the airport to enable Airbus and other modern aircraft to operate from Dimapur Airport and also cater to the required security and safety needs besides increased passenger amenities.

The Alliance Air, which is operating on the Guwahati-Dimapur-Imphal route thrice a week, is considering to increase its services and make it daily.

Indigo Air under Regional Connectivity has also assured to introduce its air service from the first week of March by connecting Dimapur with Guwahati, Imphal, and Dibrugarh, it said.
15/02/20 Bhadra Gogoi/NorthEast Now

Govt mulls light rail system to link 2nd airport in Parandur

Chennai: As Parandur in Kancheepuram district has been zeroed in as venue for the proposed second airport, the state government is exploring the possibility of introducing a mass rapid transit link to connect it with the existing airport. While a light rail may link the airport in Meenambakkam to Parandur 62km away for transit passengers, there is also a plan to extend metro rail line from Poonamallee to connect it. Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to shift international flight operations to the second airport.
Sources in the industries department said the suggestion for light rail was floated during discussions about setting up the second airport. “Light rail is the only option for passengers landing at Meenambakkam to proceed towards Parandur. For city passengers, metro rail is an option,” an industries department official privy to developments told TOI. The Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited, which will appoint a consultant for the second airport, would also study which option will be feasible.
15/02/20 Yogesh Kabirdoss/Times of India

Pondy CM calls on Civil Aviation Minister in Delhi

Puducherry: Chief Minister V Narayanasamy along with Tourism Minister Malladi Krishna Rao and Welfare Minister M Kandasamy on Friday called on Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in New Delhi and urged him to sanction new Air routes from Puducherry.
 A release from Chief Minister Office on Saturday said, Mr.Narayanasamy requested the Minister to start Air traffic from Puducherry to Tirupati, Kochi, Coimbatore, Chennai and Mumbai.
 He also urged Mr Puri to sanction a new Airport in Puducherry in view of the increasing tourists and growth in industrial development and also to expand the existing Airport by the Airport Authority of India (AAI), the release said.
 15/02/20 UNI

DGCA asks airports to screen passengers from Japan, Korea

New Delhi: Not ready to take any chance in the wake of the spiraling cases of coronavirus across the countries, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked airports and airlines on Friday that passengers arriving in flights from Japan and South Korea must be screened once they step out of aerobridges in order to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infection.

 Till date, only passengers arriving from four countries -- China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore - were being screened for possible

exposure to the respiratory virus at 21 identified airports in India.

 The Indian Embassy in Japan said on Friday that a third Indian crew on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast has tested positive for the novel coronavirus as authorities confirmed that total 218 people have been infected with the deadly virus on the quarantined ship.

 Two crew members, out of total 138 Indians on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess, were tested positive for the virus earlier.

 In a circular, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated, "Universal screening of all the passengers coming in flights directly from Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore besides the flights from China and Hong Kong shall be ensured immediately once they step out of the specific identified aerobridge."
 "It is advised to place the suitable signages at strategic locations at all the airports and getting the self-declaration form filled by the passengers as per the instructions of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare," it added.
15/02/20 Pioneer

Anoushka Shankar slams airport for damaging equipment

Sitar exponent Anoushka Shankar on Friday became the latest victim of the insensitivity of the Indian aviation industry towards musicians, their musical instruments and their equipment.
Shankar performed at the Sri Shanmukhananda Hall on Thursday night as part of her India tour to promote her latest album, Love Letters. On Friday, at 4.15 pm, she tweeted angrily, “Security at Mumbai airport has
gone through my sound man’s luggage, removed cables!!! Left our in-ear monitors unpacked, so they are smashed! Delhi show is gonna be fun tonight.” Her second show was scheduled at the Siri Fort Auditorium at 8
pm on Friday.
Shankar’s India manager Anujita Jain told Mirror from Delhi, “During transit from Mumbai to Delhi, the pelican case was opened without knowledge of the passenger. Two inear monitors were broken, which are important
for our performance today.” The in-ear monitors are speakers positioned on stage so as to enable the musician to hear the music during the live performance.
Though Shankar blamed the Mumbai airport security, the airport officials said such equipment is strictly allowed in check-in baggage and airport security, which is handled by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),
has no role to play. CISF officials were not aware of the incident. Shankar or her manager did not name the airline on which they travelled.
15/02/20 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror

Air India kicks off flash sale with domestic flight tickets starting from Rs 799

Air India is here to make your travel plans feel lighter on your pockets with their lucrative flash sale. The airlines took to their website to announce their Amazing Air Fair in which they are giving discounts on their domestic and international flights.

Under the flash sale, air fares for the domestic flights on Air India’s route will start from Rs 799, the airlines announced. As for the international flights, the fares will start from Rs 4,500.

The booking period for limited sale offer begins from today, February 15, 2020 and will go on till 11:59 pm on February 17, 2020.

For its domestic sectors, the flash sale is available in the Economy class of the airline and for the flights running on the international sectors; the sale is available for all classes. Also, the sale is not applicable on the airplanes flying on the routes to Saudi Arabia, Air India announced.
15/02/2/0 India Today

Adani group, AAI sign deal for operating three airports

New Delhi: The Adani group on Friday signed agreements with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for operating the airports in Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru. The group had earlier won the bids for operating six AAI airports. “Over the past 30 years, @AdaniOnline has catered to critical demand gaps in India. Today, as we sign the concession agreements for Mangaluru, Lucknow & Ahmedabad with the AAI, it’s the beginning of another historic journey catering to India’s exponential airport infra demands,” Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani tweeted.

The AAI said the concession fee would be utilised for the maintenance and development of brownfield airports along with RCS-UDAN and other greenfield airports. The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) is also known as Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN).

Three subsidiaries of the group – Adani Ahmedabad International Airport Limited, Adani Lucknow International Airport Limited and Adani Mangaluru International Airport Limited – signed concession agreements with the AAI.
15/02/20 New Indian Express

Gurugram Residents Store Poop Falling From Aircraft In Fridge Thinking That It’s A Rare Mineral

A bunch of residents in Gurugram got an intensive lesson on ‘heavenly endowments’ on Saturday. The most important lesson: don’t put them the refrigerator. What’s more, if their experience were to be ever made into a motion picture, a portion of the individuals who saw the daylong drama may even recommend the title, ‘Crap li Live’.

The ‘blessing’ had come out of the blue. Rajbir Yadav, a farmer at Fazilpur Badli town, was out for his wake-up routine in the fields when he saw what appeared to be an “extremely huge stone” collide with the ground close to him and disintegrate. “It hit the ground with a major wreck,” he later reviewed. Different locals present in the region gathered around Rajbir. Word spread rapidly. From the farm to the horse shelters to the back streets; within no time, the whole town was discussing it. Individuals filled the wheat farm for a look.
Among them, a portion of the more educated individuals made an estimate: this could be a meteor. The stone had a white surface and was super cold, with a transparent surface. Some uncommon mineral, at that point? A land treasure? In all the speculative talk, a few townspeople sneaked a couple of pieces into their garments and moved them quickly to their homes. To make sure they weren’t caught snoozing if the object is discovered to be an invaluable item. It was cold, so they stored the pieces in the refrigerator, guaranteed that was their most secure place. At that point, they came back to their day by day business.
Meanwhile, word reached the local administration, which dispatched a group from the National Disaster Management Authority and India Meteorological Department to the town, situated in Farrukhnagar. The primary ‘intel’ that accompanied the discovery was that an ice ball had struck the wheat field. The Meteorological Department experts decision dissolved the interest. The object was no meteor, nor any divine miracle as found in a science fiction film. This was no doubt ‘blue ice’, a term utilized for frozen toilet waste from planes.
At first sight, it would appear that aircrafts waste. All things considered, we are sending it to the criminological lab in Bhondsi to recognize what precisely it is,” said Vivek Kalia, the Pataudi subdivisional officer who went with the expert group to Fazilpur Badli.

Kalia said townspeople trusted it to be a meteor on the grounds that the ice hadn’t melted, potentially as a result of the winter climate. Blue ice is a solidified blend of human excreta and liquid disinfectants.
15/02/20 All India Roundup

Dilip Buildcon receives EPC project

In an exchange filing made after market hours on Friday, 14 February 2020, Dilip Buildcon said the company has received the letter of acceptance (LOA) from the Airport Authority of India for the EPC project in Gujarat.
The order is for construction of new Greenfield airport at Hirasar, Rajkot, Gujarat. The order is worth Rs 570.06 crore without GST. The completion period of the order is 30 months.
Dilip Buildcon is engaged in the business of infrastructure facilities on engineering procurement and construction (EPC) basis. The company undertakes contracts from various government and other parties and special purpose vehicles promoted by the firm.
15/02/20 Capital Market/Business Standard

Yaduveer suggests naming Mysuru Airport on Jayachamaraya Wadiyar

Mysuru: The Mysuru airport at Mandakalli on the outskirts of the city may be named after the last Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, whose birth centenary is being celebrated this year.
 A suggestion to this effect was made by the titular king Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar at the centenary celebrations of the last Maharaja organised by the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage and the JSS Women’s College in the city on Saturday.
 This was in response to Lok Sabha member Pratap Simha’s request to Mr Yaduveer to suggest a name from the family in view of their contribution in various spheres in the socio-economic, cultural and industrial development of the State.
 Mr Yaduveer responded stating that Jayachamarja Wadiyar’s name would be apt in recognition of his contribution to the development of aviation in India. He said that the last maharaja backed the idea of manufacture of Aircraft in India.
Though the promoters Walchand Hirachand approached many rulers across India most backed out but Jayachamaraja Wadiyar not only invested in the project but alloted nearly 700 acres of land for the establishment of the factory. Mr Yaduveer pointed out that the airstrip at Mandakalli was completed sometime around 1940- 41 where many of the planes would land during World War II. In addition, his grandfather (JC Wadiyar) had procured one of the planes for personal transportation but it was mostly used by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for his travels.
 Minister for Kannada and Culture C T Ravi said the contribution of the Wadiyars, whose history spans more than 600 years, has not been nationally acknowledged. Historians tend to be biased and write hagiography and reduce everything to caste.
15/02/20 UNI

HAL Management Academy Holds Maiden Convocation of PGDAM

Bengaluru: The first batch of Post Graduate Diploma in Aviation Management (PGDAM) has passed out from HAL Management Academy. Prof Debashis Chatterjee, Director, IIM-Kozhikode, was the chief guest at the convocation held at HMA here today. Professor Chatterjee appreciated the efforts of HAL in offering this unique program relevant to the industry.

The main objective of the AICTE approved, 15-month PGDAM program has been to develop students who could further contribute in strengthening the aerospace eco-system in India by bridging the gap between industry and academia.

The certificates were awarded to 31 students. Gold Medals were awarded to Kiran Nellore for the best academic performance and to Vineeth Vijayan for the best overall performance. M. Raviprakash bagged the best project award.
15/02/20 India Education Diary

Fog disrupts flight operations in Mangaluru

Atleast five flights were affected at Mangaluru International Airport on Saturday morning owing to fog and poor visibility. A SpiceJet flight from Dubai was scheduled to land at 8.40 am.
Owing to fog and poor visibility, the flight was diverted to Bengaluru and finally landed at Mangaluru at 11.05 am. Bengaluru bound Indigo flight landed at 11.30 am instead of 8.35 am.
The spiceJet from Bengaluru landed at 10.35 am instead of 8.50 am. Indigo flight to Bengaluru was supposed to take off from Mangaluru at 9.05 am, but it departed at 12.07 pm.
15/02/20 Naina JA/Deccan Herald

1.65 kg of gold seized at Trivandrum airport

Thiruvananthapuram: Customs wing at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport foiled two smuggling attempts through an Air India Express flight that landed on Friday morning. They seized over 1,650 gm of gold worth over Rs 68 lakh. Air Customs officers seized the gold hidden in a juicer from a passenger and the Customs preventive division seized two gold bars hidden beneath the seat of the same flight. However, they did not reveal the identity of the passenger who was apprehended.

The preventive division led by Deputy Commissioner Harikrishnan D found gold bars concealed under the passenger seat of IX 540 Dubai-Thiruvananthapuram Air India Express flight. The gold weighed 1040.72 gm. The officers said they searched the aircraft based on a tip-off and the gold bars were wrapped in masking and insulation tapes. The consignment was glued beneath the seat occupied by a child. The inspection was carried out after the passengers alighted the plane.
15/02/20 New Indian Express

Friday, February 14, 2020

Air India Express to fly to Delhi, Doha, Abu Dhabi soon

Tiruchy: Air India Express (AIE) is expecting to make a profit of Rs 500 crore this financial year, according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) K Shyam Sundar. He was speaking in Tiruchy while announcing new destinations for the airline from the city.

The Air India subsidiary on Thursday announced direct flights to Doha, Abu Dhabi and New Delhi from Tiruchy. “We are planning to start operations to Abu Dhabi, Doha and Delhi from March 28. In a week, we would have four flights to Abu Dhabi and three flights to Doha,” said the CEO.

Currently, AIE operates flights to Dubai, Sharjah and Singapore from the city.

Officials said the airline is getting good traffic with its existing operations from Tiruchy. Officials said the airline would have daily flights between New Delhi and Tiruchy via Madurai next month.

“We have four weekly non-stop flights between Delhi and Madurai. We have decided to extend the service of this flight to Tiruchy. Therefore, the Delhi-Tiruchy flight would be via Madurai,” said Sundar.
14/02/20 Jose K Joseph/New Indian Express

Air India displays its treasure trove of arts, artefacts amid disinvestment woes

Back in 2016, a courtesy call on an old friend and then newly appointed CMD of Air India (AI) Ashwani Lohani turned into an opportunity of a lifetime for art historian Meera Das. Something she would cherish for a lifetime. Das was given a rather arduous task of assembling all objet d'arts that AI had owned, till date.

As the national carrier is grappling with financial troubles, its decades-old, rich art collection has been put on display at the Nehru Centre at Worli, southern Mumbai. Maharajah of Skies: Portrait of Air India Through its Archives, showcases the history of the national carrier through these rare collectibles.

Among the several articles on display are paintings, including the works of VS Gaitonde and SH Raza, chinaware once served to the Pope, the 9 yards of wonder that made Air Indian stewardesses the most glamorous of their time, and even an ashtray exchanged for Surus, an elephant!
AI owns thousands of artefacts that are present not just in India, but overseas as well. And so, collating these from world over hasn’t exactly been trouble free. Das, along with Uttara Parikh, former commercial director of advertising and product development at AI, began by numbering, photographing, assembling and finally, storing the artefacts that the airline owned. For a brief period, the articles had found a home in the 18th floor of the national carrier’s headquarters at Nariman Point, but not anymore.

Sources of AI’s paintings are multiple; A few were commissioned, some purchased. Art enthusiasts would know that Gaitonde -- a quintessential and low profile Mumbaikar and Raza, who lived in France for many years, are among the most illustrious of Indian painters who were known all over the world. And the artworks were not just limited to their original medium – they were replicated into in-flight menus, calendars, coasters, aircraft interiors and so much more.
14/02/20 Shivani Khandekar/CNBC TV18

Kolkata airport domestic wing gets inline bag scan

Kolkata: Authorities at Kolkata airport kicked off the soft launch of inline baggage screening system (ILBS) in the domestic wing on Thursday with Air India getting the checked-in bags of six flights screened by the new system. With three portals in the international wing already in use, the addition of portal E in the domestic wing meant more than half of the portals that are to be commissioned between February 18 and 28 are currently undergoing live trials.
“The E portal that is reserved for Air India was put into use on Thursday. The shift went glitch-free and for Friday, we have planned to put one more domestic portal into use,” said a senior official at the airport. This is likely to be portal D used by SpiceJet and Vistara. IndiGo that operates over 100 flights daily uses two portals — B and C. Portal A used by AirAsia India and GoAir will get the ILBS system later.
While the soft launches have been glitch-free till now, four passengers had to be escorted to the ILBS area in the terminal basement to remove power banks from their checked-in baggage. Three of these passengers were travelling to Dubai on Wednesday evening and one by an Air India flight on Thursday. “Six flights with 820 passengers availed of ILBS on Wednesday. Altogether, 1,145 checked-in bags were screened on portal G and H. Of them, only three went to level 4 check requiring passengers to be summoned to remove restricted items from bags. All other bags were cleared at either level 2 where the screener checks the 3D image of the bag and its contents generated by the CTX machine or in level 3 where screeners get more time to review the image or use standalone X-ray and explosive trace detector to clear the bags,” said airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee.
14/02/20 Subhro Niyogi & Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

GoAir to appoint former Jet Airways chief Vinay Dube as CEO

Mumbai: GoAir Friday said it will appoint former Jet Airways chief Vinay Dube as its CEO as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The announcement comes a year after its former chief Cornelis Vrieswijk quit. He had been at the position for just nine months.
Managing director Jeh Wadia had been running the airline in the interim. Dube was CEO of Jet in its most difficult times before the airline shut operations in April 2019 as it ran out of cash and was unable to raise funds.
Its debtors later filed a case in India’s bankruptcy court. In its last months, Dube and his team tried to keep operations going, co-ordinated with authorities and angry debtors and even tried to find alternative jobs for Jet’s employees.
 14/02/20 Economic Times

Etihad to add flights to India as coronavirus outbreak leaves spare capacity

Etihad has started adding more flights from India as it looks to utilise the capacity which is lying idle due to temporary suspension of most of its operations to China due to coronavirus outbreak.

For now, the airline is increasing the frequency of flights from existing points of network like Trivandrum on a sporadic basis but has decided to add a second frequency to Trivandrum and a third frequency to Chennai for the entire month of May as it looks for "short-term" re-allocation of spare capacity.

"It is a fluid situation and changing every day. We have suspended some operations but we are still operating to Beijing. We are still seeing where we can operate those assets in short term," a senior executive at Etihad said.

While the airline hopes that the situation which has arisen due to the outbreak of deadly coronavirus be resolved soon, it may look at re-allocating some of the spare capacity on a long-term basis, officials said.

"We are not completely dependent on China. We have opportunities in Saudi Arabia, India, North America among others," a senior executive said.

The airline provides direct connectivity to Abu Dhabi from 10 Indian cities, namely Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum.

"These additional services will be operated by Etihad Airways A320 and will add 158 seats to each route. As a result of these seasonal changes, Etihad Airways will operate 21 weekly flights to and from Chennai, and 14 weekly flights to and from Thiruvananthapuram during this period," the airline said. The airline will also replace a narrow-body with a wide-body on one of the flights from Chennai.

The airline, which has completed 15 years in India, is confident that it will be able to offer a better service to passengers travelling to the US with its pre-clearance immigration facility at Abu Dhabi airport terminal.
14/02/20 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18

More morning flights from Chennai

Chennai: There could be more early morning flights from the city airport as SpiceJet is looking at increasing the number of planes that will be parked at the airport to fly early morning schedules.
Ajay Singh, chairman, SpiceJet, said that the airline has asked for more parking slots as there was scope for fleet expansion in the south and to small towns.
"We have asked for six parking bays at Chennai. The airport is also expanding the airside capacity. The routes will be decided later," he added. “Airside” capacity is the number of landings and takeoffs an airport can accommodate in an hour. Spicejet currently has 16 aircraft parked overnight at the airport.
The airport now has 46 domestic flights in the 4am to 8.30am window. IndiGo has the maximum number of planes parked overnight and operates around 26 flights in that window, while SpiceJet operates 11 flights in the same window.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is also expanding its airside capacity by adding more parking bays, rapid exit taxiways, straightening of taxiways connecting runways so that more planes can be operated.
"The idea to allow airlines to park planes at night is to have more early morning flights. The planes will be used to fly multiple sectors before they return at night for parking. This means the airport will get more morning flights and also a few more evening flights. Once the airside capacity augmentation work is over, we can encourage airlines to build a base here,” said an AAI official.
If airlines park more planes overnight at the airport, including small 70-seater ATR types, there will be more flights to smaller cities too.
14/02/20 V Ayyappan/Yimes of India

PIL in HC to ground all A320 Neos with faulty engines

New Delhi: A PIL has been moved in the Delhi High Court seeking grounding of all faulty Airbus A320 Neo aircraft, used by Indigo and GoAir airlines, till their engines are repaired or replaced.
The petition has contended that the entire fleet of A320 Neo aircraft should be grounded "in larger interest of public safety".

The plea, by an association, has alleged that despite being aware of "significant technical issues with Airbus A320 Neo", neither the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) nor the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have taken any concrete steps to ground these aircraft.

Instead, MCA and DGCA have only issued notices extending the timelines for carrying out the repairs or engine modifications by the airlines concerned, it has said.

"It is submitted that respondent 1 (MCA) and 2 (DGCA) have repeatedly extended the timelines for modified versions of the Pratt and Whitney engines to be installed, instead of grounding the entire fleet of A320 Neo aircraft," the petition has said.

It has also contended that despite repeated incidents of mid-air engine faults or problems in these aircraft, the aviation regulator has still not grounded the aircraft, which number more than 130 in India.
14/02/20 PTI/Outlook

Confronting Arnab Goswani an act of resistance, says Kunal Kamra

Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra has called his confrontation of Republic TV owner, editor and anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an IndiGo flight an "act of resistance".
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Kamra (30) said he does not regret his actions. He said: "You do not let go (of) a chance like this (sudden encounter). It was important for me to confront him (Goswami) and tell him what he is doing is damaging." (sic)

Known for his anti-establishment political satire, Kamra said that he initially wanted to engage in conversation but did "exactly what Republic TV journalists would do" after not getting a response in Goswami.

IndiGo banned Kamra for six months after a video of his act (posted by him on Twitter) went viral. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri termed Kamra's actions "absolutely unacceptable & endangers safety of air travellers" (sic) and advised other airlines to follow. Within hours, Air India, GoAir and SpiceJet also issued statements via Twitter banning Kamra from using their services.
The debate around his ban continued on social media and in reports with the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and authorities standing by the carriers' response.
14/02/20 Moneycontrol

SpiceJet reports ₹73-crore profit for the December quarter

SpiceJet has reported a net profit of ₹73.2 crore for the quarter ended December 31 as against a net profit of ₹55.1 crore reported during the same period previously.

In a statement, the airline said the results have been achieved despite odds that the airline is facing in terms of additional costs incurred because of the continued grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft.
The statement adds that it has received an interim offer of compensation from Boeing for the grounding of the MAX 737.

In a statement, the airline said that its standalone profit from Air Transport Services (airlines) was ₹ 115 crore. Air Transport Services includes passenger transport and ancillary cargo operations from passenger aircraft operations.

“From this quarter onwards, the airline will declare its freighter and passenger segments separately in its standalone results. This is because the two segments are different from an operating and management point of view and now even the freighter business has assumed materiality,” Kiran Koteshear, Chief Financial Officer, SpiceJet, said. The latest figures show the airline’s earning of ₹3,590.80 crore from Air Transport Services as against ₹56.32 crore from freighter and logistics services in the quarter ended December last year.
14/02/20 Business Line

Air India Sale Anticipated in First Part of Subsequent Fiscal, Says DIPAM Secretary

New Delhi: The federal government expects to finish sale of nationwide provider Air India within the first part of the following fiscal, Division of Funding and Public Asset Control (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey stated on Friday.

All through an interplay with monetary sector mavens to speak about the Union Funds, Pandey additionally stated disinvestment technique has shifted from minority stake sale in public sector gadgets to strategic sale, and a large number of privatisation would occur within the subsequent fiscal.

In November, he stated the federal government determined on large price tag disinvestments whilst regarding sale of stakes in BPCL, CONCOR, and Transport Company of India.

“I feel our motion has been very swift. Even the Expression of Hobby (EoI) for Air India is within the public area… We intend to finish those transactions within the first part of economic yr 2020-21,” he stated.
14/02/20 Christopher Stern/Market Research Record

Delhi airport sets Valentine's day goals with IndiGo, Vistara, SpiceJet, Air India

It is Valentine's day and the romance is literally in the air at Delhi airport. The GMR group-run airport kick-started the day with a romantic Twitter conversation with IndiGo, asking the airline to "never run away from its runway."
Excited about the capacity addition by IndiGo, whose total neo-order-book comprises 730 aircraft, the airport also added that it is looking forward to "so many future planes together."
Moving on to the national carrier Air India, the largest airport in India called the airline its "first love". Air India reciprocated and said that it is glad to have found a special place in the Delhi airport hub.
For Vistara, the joint venture of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, the airport had a special plan. Delhi airport asked the youngest airline out on a date. Vistara, which will soon be inducting the wide-body B787 aircraft, has readily agreed to this date and has also informed the airport that it will be wearing purple for the special occasion.
The airport then sent a romantic message to the Gurugram-based low-cost carrier SpiceJet. The airline responded by telling the airport that Delhi airport is always in its heart.
14/02/20 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18

SpiceJet Q3 profit rises 23% on aggressive accounting

Low fare carrier SpiceJet posted a 23% increase in consolidated net profit for the October-December quarter on income it recognised on expected compensation from plane maker Boeing for grounding its 737 Max planes.
 The airline posted a net profit of Rs 78.2 crore up from Rs 63.5 crore a year earlier. In an instance of what the airline’s finance chief acknowledged as “aggressive accounting” the airline’s net profit was propped up by other income of Rs 270.2 crore, up five times on year. Without the other income, the airline would have posted a loss for the quarter.
 The consolidated numbers included earnings from its air transport as well as freighter and logistics segment. SpiceJet’s air transport business posted a net profit of Rs 115 crore, while its freight and logistics business posted a loss of Rs 41.8 crore, pulling down overall net profit. In a note, under its profit and loss account, the company clarified that certain costs including “aircraft and supplement lease rentals and certain other identified expenses relating” to the grounded planes were recognised as other income.
 SpiceJet has been recognising these claims since the last two quarters but has significantly enhanced the recognised amount for October-December. Global aviation authorities grounded the Max planes in March 2019 following two plane crashes—of flights operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air and Ethiopia’s flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines—in the span of five months.
 14/02/20 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

SpiceJet hopes Boeing 737 MAX planes can begin flying by June

Chennai: SpiceJet hopes that its grounded Boeing 737 MAX planes will be back in to flying by June, its Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh said.
Globally, these planes were barred from flying since March last year in the wake of two deadly crashes involving the aircraft.
SpiceJet has 13 MAX aircraft on the ground right now. “We are hoping that the MAX aircraft will be back in to flying in June. We hope that they can come back and fuel growth for us this year. We are expecting the approval in May or June. While we continue to work Airbus, we are confident that Boeing will be able to sort out this problem,” he told newspersons at the Chennai airport.
Singh was in Chennai to host the music launch of Kollywood actor Suriya’s new film song on board the airline’s aircraft in Chennai airport.
14/02/20 Business Line

How Air India scripted history with its Wuhan evacuation

A lot of preparation was involved in the Air India’s first-ever medical evacuation; 647 Indians were brought back from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak
The flights to and from Wuhan in China evacuated Indians stranded there after the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in the first medical evacuation for Air India in over 70 years of existence. This will probably also be the last evacuation while the Maharaja is still owned by the government.
Ashwini Phadnis writes why Air India flights 1348 and 1349 will go down in history >>

E-Cigarettes Banned Across All Indian Airports and Aircrafts - Aviation Security Regulator

Aviation security regulator BCAS has banned e-cigarettes and similar products on all airports and aircraft in India, according to an official document. "Upon the prohibition of electronic-cigarettes by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it has been decided that e-cigarettes include all forms of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), heat not burn products, e-hookah and the like devices," stated the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security circular dated January 10.

Distribution, sale, storage and advertisement of such products is prohibited on any airport premises or any aircraft departing or arriving in India, the regulator added. In September last year, the Central government banned production, sale and import of e-cigarettes and similar products citing health risk to people, especially the youth.
14/02/20 PTI/News18

Coronavirus: Around 13K flyers screened at Jaipur airport

Jaipur: A total of 12,992 passengers have been screened at Jaipur International Airport in the wake of coronavirus alert coming in from 84 international flights till Friday.

In a release by the Directorate Medical & Health Services, it was informed that screening of all passengers has been going on since January 28. Five doctors and 5 paramedical nurses have been deputed at the airport.

Samples of 80 patients were collected out of which all 80 have been found negative. Till date, no patient has been declared positive for coronavirus here, confirmed health officials.

Additional Chief Secretary medical and health, Rohit Kumar Singh issued directions to all health officials to remain sensitive about the issue.

He also asked officials to identify tourists who have been coming from China and get their thermal screening done.

A total of 239 patients were under observation after coming from China, out of them 26 have completed 28 days of surveillance, 3 passengers have gone back to China, 6 to Phillippines and 204 are under surveillance.
14/02/20 IANS/Outlook

SpiceJet Bangkok-Delhi passenger tests negative for Coronavirus

Delhi: A passenger suspected of suffering from coronavirus on a SpiceJet Bangkok to Delhi flight on Thursday and quarantined on arrival, has tested negative for the same.
"The passenger travelling who had been suspected of being infected with Coronavirus on Bangkok to Delhi SpiceJet flight SG-88 on Thursday, has tested negative for the same. The test results came Friday," said a SpiceJet spokesperson.
The passenger was quarantined on arrival at Delhi Airport. The Boeing 737 (VT-SYE) was disinfected before being released for next flight.
The crew had been quarantined at their homes to keep a check on their health. Airport officials say all other passengers were screened and none of them was found to be sick. Hence they were allowed to go to the city.
14/02/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Coronavirus outbreak: SpiceJet to suspend Hong Kong flights from February 16 to 29

New Delhi: SpiceJet will finally discontinue its daily Delhi-Hong Kong flight from Saturday (February 16). Air India and IndiGo had suspended their flights to Hong Kong earlier this month due to coronavirus outbreak. SpiceJet crew was reportedly very unhappy with the airline’s decision to continue flying to Hong Kong. “SpiceJet has decided to temporarily suspend its daily Delhi-Hong Kong passenger flight from February 16 to 29, 2020,” said an airline spokesman.
After SpiceJet’s decision, no Indian carrier currently has flights to mainland China and Hong Kong. AI had earlier suspended its Delhi-Shanghai and Delhi-Hong Kong flights. Similarly, IndiGo has suspended its three dailies to China — Delhi-Chengdu, Bengaluru-Hong Kong and Kolkata-Guangzhou.
Hong Kong’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific has reduced flights between India and the special administrative region of China — from 49 weekly flights to 36 till March 29, 2020. The airline has significantly cut its overall schedule for next two months due to reduced travel demand following coronavirus epidemic and the India reduction is part of that. Among Chinese carriers, Shandong Airlines and Air China have suspended their flights to India. China Southern has reduced flights.
14/02/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

1.85 Lakh Passengers Use Mysore Airport In 28 Months

Mysuru: From Sept.17 2017 to Jan. 20, 2020, a whopping 1,85,254 passengers have landed and taken off from the Mysore Airport at Mandakalli, the Airport that was once a grazing land for bovines.

A total of 90,398 air passengers have arrived at the Airport through many flights operated by TruJet, Alliance Air and Indigo Airlines and over 94,856 passengers have taken off to various destinations. The Airport that handled only one flight to Chennai in 2017 now handles eight flights and 16 routes including Belagavi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kalaburagi, Goa and Chennai.

The Kochi flight has been grounded as works on upgrading the Cochin International Airport is on and will be completed by March this year when the flight services will resume. Then, the total flights operated from Mysuru will touch nine and there are plans to introduce more flights to different destinations.
This increased flight operations from the Airport became a reality after the Narendra Modi government introduced the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagarik) scheme under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) and after Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha took keen interest in convincing the Civil Aviation Ministry to introduce more flights as Mysuru has the potential. Following this, many new flights were introduced and this saw a healthy rise in the occupancy rate over a period of time.
14/02/20 Star of Mysore

Mock anti-hijack exercise at Visakhapatnam airport

Visakhapatnam: In an effort to test the efficacy of contingency plans and procedures to deal with hijacking threats, an anti-hijack exercise was conducted by INS Dega at Visakhapatnam airport recently. In course of the exercise, a mock situation was created, which involved actions by various agencies including Marine Commandos (Marcos), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Airport Authority of India (AAI) and other state government agencies.
The mock situation was created using a naval Dornier aircraft for initiating coordinated action by all stakeholders from the Navy, the airport and other central and state government agencies. Upon completion of the exercise, a de-briefing was held and standard operating procedures were revalidated.
14/02/20 Times of India

Delhi airport starts doorstep baggage pick-up and drop service for Terminal 3

New Delhi: The Indira Gandhi International Airport on Friday announced that it has started a doorstep baggage transfer facility for passengers flying to and from its Terminal 3.

This service will also be extended to Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of the airport, stated the press release by GMR group-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).

"The service has been introduced (at Terminal 3) in collaboration with Bengaluru based 'CarterX'," it said.

To avail the facility, a passenger can make a booking through CarterX website or app or counters at the airport for the baggage to be picked from their home in the National Capital Region (NCR).

"Each bag thus booked is then secured in a separate tamper-resistant sealable bags, which are marked and bar-coded for easy identification. On arrival at the airport, passengers can collect their baggage at the departure forecourt area and proceed for check-in," the press release explained.

Similarly, if luggage has to be sent from the airport, passengers can book the service online or at the baggage pick-up and drop counter, located in meters and greeters area of Terminal 3.
14/02/20 PTI/Times of India

IGI to install 69 ‘precise’ full-body scanners soon

New Delhi: The new German-made full-body scanners being tested at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport are providing better results than the previous scanners that have been tested in the past, CISF officials said. The testing process, which began last year, is expected to continue in the next two months, with officials stating that any improvements required will be made to fine tune the machine.

The airport operator — Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) — will meanwhile be responsible for installing these full-body scanners and officials said the process to start installation will begin soon.

“Based on the specifications provided by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the new German-made full-body scanner is providing better results than those that have been tested in the past. The next few months will only be able to provide us more data and allow any flaws to be fine-tuned. Information on the machine has already been provided to DIAL, who in the end is responsible for installation at the airport,” said Hemendra Singh, assistant inspector general (AIG), PRO, CISF.

DIAL said the process to identify the requirement of body scanners was complete, while the installation process will begin soon. “A total of 69 full-body scanners will be installed at IGI airport. These body scanners use millimetre wave technology, which is non-intrusive in nature, and takes care of the privacy norms and conforms to all BCAS specifications,” said a DIAL spokesperson.
14/02/20 Jasjeev Gandhiok/Times of India

India’s first unisex airport salon opens in Mumbai

NS Style Salon was launched to provide express beauty and grooming services for both men and women inside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) at two outlets — one at Terminal 1-C, Departure, Opposite Gate 26, and the second at Terminal 2, Domestic Departure, next to Irish Cafe.
Many travellers looking for a quick grooming-fix at the airport will now be pleasantly surprised with NS Style Salon offering a wide range of beauty, hair, skin, and nail care for women, along with some customized services for men such as haircut/hair trimming, hair styling, beard styling, a luxurious shaving experience, and beard spa, among other services at both its airport outlets.
“The airport outlets will offer time-based service packages — Express Services (within 15 minutes), Deluxe Services (30-45 minutes), and Premium Services ( more than 45 minutes). We have hired the most experienced and internationally trained professionals to help people travelling from Mumbai look their best,” said Amyn Manji, Founder, NS Style Salon.
14/02/20 ANI/Telangana Today

Prosperity from Jewar airport brings the good life, alcoholism and suicides to UP villages

Jewar (UP): Raja Thakur, a 24-year-old resident of Jewar on the outskirts of Delhi, is planning to drive down to Goa in his newly-bought car, an SUV worth Rs 14 lakh.
The SUV isn’t something he could have aspired to purchase until recently.
Not until his family farmland was acquired for the upcoming Jewar airport, which will serve as a much-needed second international airport for the bustling Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).
The airport is going to be built in partnership with a Swiss company, Zurich Airport International AG, and around 1,334 hectares of land has been acquired in Jewar towards the first phase.
Compensations handed out by the Uttar Pradesh government total around Rs 3,000 crore, with payouts for individual families extending to Rs 8.4 crore for nearly 40 bighas (a land unit with varying definitions used across India) or Rs 21 lakh/bigha.
Read how the the sudden arrival of big money has spelt massive lifestyle changes for local residents >>

Gold worth Rs 9.4 lakh seized at Mangaluru airport

Mangaluru: Air customs officers at Mangaluru International Airport (MIA), late on Wednesday, caught Mohammed Mahir Patla Majeed of Patla, Kasaragod, who was attempting to smuggle gold.

Mohammed, 24, who arrived from Dubai by Air India flight IX 384, attempted to smuggle 233.2g of gold in strip form worth Rs 9.4 lakh, concealed inside a rechargeable emergency light and solar sensor wall light.
14/02/20 Times of India

Gold worth Rs 86 lakh seized at Chennai airport

Chennai: Customs officials seized a total of two kg of gold, worth Rs 86 lakh, from passengers at Chennai international airport on Thursday and Friday. One passenger was arrested.
On Thursday night, the officials intercepted Syed Ansari, 27, of Ramanathapuram, who arrived here from Colombo in a Srilankan Airlines flight (UL 123), Hammed Ibrahim, 21, of Ramanathapuram , who arrived here from Dubai in an Emirates flight (EK 546), and Masthan Gani , 39, of Chennai and Ahmed Basheer, 34, of Ramanathapuram, who arrived from Colombo in an IndiGo flight (6E 1204) .

They recovered eleven bundles of gold paste from their rectums. On extraction, 1.36 kg gold was recovered. One gold cut bit, weighing 48 gram, was recovered from one of them.

A total of 1.417 kg gold, valued at Rs 59.64 lakh, was seized. One of them was arrested.

On Thursday night, Sekar Gundala, 52, of Tirupati, who arrived here from Dubai in an Emirates flight (EK 546), was intercepted and searched. His belt buckle and silver Kada were examined as they appeared to be giving silvery shine. It was found that they were coated with silver powder. When the silver coating was removed, gold was found. A total 240 gram of gold, worth Rs 10 lakh, was recovered.
14/02/20 Siddharth Prabhakar/Times of India

CISF seizes Saudi Riyal worth nearly Rs 21 lakh at IGI Airport

New Delhi: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in the early hours of Friday seized foreign currency worth Rs 21 lakh at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in the capital, an officer said here.

According to a CISF officer, after observing a passenger moving around suspiciously in the check-in area of the airport Terminal-3, he was intercepted and, on inquiry, revealed his identify as an Indian national, Afzal Ahmad, bound for Dubai by an Air India flight.

During the pre-embarkation security check through the X-ray machine in Security Hold Area (SHA), the CISF personnel noticed something suspicious inside the passenger''s backpack, the physical checking of which revealed 40,000 Saudi Riyal concealed under the false back of the backpack.
14/02/20 IANS/Outlook