Sunday, December 09, 2018

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurates Kannur airport

Kannur: The long wait is over, and the dream has come true. Finally, Kannur International Airport (KIAL) has taken wings with the maiden flight by Air India Express to Abu Dhabi. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and union minister for civil aviation Suresh Prabhu flagged off the first aircraft at 10.06 am on Sunday, carrying 185 passengers, thus crossing yet another milestone in the aviation history of the nation, by commissioning the fourth international airport in the state.

Later, addressing a public meeting, Pinarayi Vijayan, who formally inaugurated the facility, said when the idea of the airport evolved way back in 1990s, there was apprehension whether it would be practical to have an airport here. But now the airport has been materialized and it has the potential to become one of the most important 4-5 airports in the country.
He also said the Kerala government is ready to take over Thiruvananthapuram airport, since the central government has decided to privatise it. In the case of Kozhikode airport also the government has the same stand, as it has experience in managing airports, said the chief minister.

Union minister Suresh Prabhu, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said this airport is a very good model of development with the central and state governments having stake in it. Observing that connectivity is a pre-requisite for development, the minister also said Kerala has the highest potential for growth.

Though Air India Express and Go Air have started operation in the beginning, more companies would start operations in the coming days, said the officials. Flights under the Udan scheme would also operate from here.
09/12/18 P Sudhakaran/Times of India

Proud moment for trio at air traffic control in Kannur International Airport

Kannur: When Kannur International Airport becomes operational on Sunday, the air traffic control will be safe in the hands of people from Kannur. When the first flight from the airport takes off on Sunday,  it will be controlled by three Kannur natives and interestingly, one among them is a woman.

Airports Authority of India (AAI)  air traffic control Deputy GM G Pradeep Kumar,  Assistant GM  Sreelesh Sreedharan, and Junior Executive P V Hridya are excited over the opportunity to control the first commercial flight taking off from the airport in their hometown.

“No doubt, it will be a proud and emotional moment,’’ said Pradeep Kumar, who is also heading the overall operations of air traffic services at Kannur Airport. A native of Peravoor near Iritty, Pradeep Kumar joined AAI in 1988 and has served at Mumbai, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Coimbatore airports.

Pradeep has been stationed in Kannur for the past two years after AAI entrusted him with the responsibility of setting up Air traffic-related facilities at the airport. According to  Pradeep, he has an emotional bond with the airport as he was unofficially involved in the feasibility study carried out by the AAI in the late 1990s for the airport.  Pradeep  is  experienced in air side operations and terminal management also. Air Traffic Control assistant GM Sreelesh Sreedharan is a native of Pattiam.  Sreelesh was previously serving at Mangalore airport. Besides Mangaluru, he has served at Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram ATCs.  He had also been an instructor at Mangaluru. In  Kannur he dones role of instructor-cum-controller.

Junior air traffic control executive P V Hridya from Dharmasala is the woman presence among the ‘Kannur team’. She joined AAI in 2016 and has served at Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru  airports.
09/12/18 New Indian Express

When Kannur airport opens, this father and son will fly into record books

Two years ago, when a 228-Dornier aircraft of the Indian Air Force landed as the first trial flight at the Kannur International Airport, it was Raghunath Nambiar, a native of Kannur, who was in the cockpit that day. On Sunday, when the airport will open for commercial operations, it will be Nambiar’s son Ashwin who will don the role of the First Officer of the first domestic flight landing in Kannur.

On Sunday, Ashwin will be piloting a GoAir flight along with Captain Brijesh Chandra Lal from New Delhi to Kannur, which will be a non-revenue flight. Hours later, he will take charge of a GoAir flight from Kannur to Bengaluru, which will be the first domestic flight taking off from the newly-inaugurated airport.

On phone from New Delhi, Ashwin said it was a proud occasion for him to be one of the first pilots to land at an airport in his hometown.

“It is a proud occasion for me and everyone else in my family. I’m a third generation pilot. My late grandfather was a pilot in the Air Force. My father, currently the Eastern Air Commander of the Indian Air Force posted in Shillong, has also been a pilot. He flew the Dornier 228 aircraft at Kannur. If my grandfather was alive, he would have been extremely proud. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

However, Ashwin following in his father’s footsteps to land an aircraft at Kannur wasn’t really coincidental. Ashwin said when he heard that GoAir was going to be one of the inaugural airlines at Kannur, he personally put in a request to his senior if he could be rostered on a flight on the inaugural day. “I was pretty sure that I was the only First Officer from Kannur who worked in GoAir. I told her that it would be a proud moment for my family if I could be put on the roster that day. Thankfully, she obliged,” he said.
09/12/18 VIshnu Varma/Indian Express

A five-decade-old dream comes true

Kannur: When the DH 83 Fox Moth aircraft of Tata Airlines used to land on the airstrip at Kannur Cantonment in 1935, on its way from Bombay to Thiruvananthapuram, mainly for refuelling purpose, nobody had expected that an international airport would ever become a reality here.

In 1960s, Kannur municipality passed a resolution demanding the central government to set up an airport here. In the 1980s the campaign gained momentum and in the nineties, it got a shape.

“It was based on a feasibility and viability memorandum by the North Malabar Chamber of Commerce in 1995-96, when I was its president, that the project slowly took shape and the then civil aviation minister C M Ibrahim gave the nod for the airport,” said C H Aboobacker Haji, who was one among the early campaigners for the project.
Now, when the Kanur International Airport Ltd (Kial) is being commissioned, it would open up immense possibilities for the north Malabar region and also some parts of Karnataka, in terms of trade and tourism, he said. Though the civil aviation ministry gave the nod, there was not much progress, following which the then E K Nayanar government took the initiative in 1996, to form an action committee, with Pinarayi Vijayan, who was then the minister for electricity and cooperation, as chairman. Incidentally, the inaugural flight is being flagged off by Vijayan himself.
It was during that time a four-member team from Kozhikode airport, under SPS Bakshi, who was then the deputy general manager there, visited four locations in Kannur to conduct a technical and feasibility survey as suggested by the Airports Authority of India, which was a major step in the progress of the project.
On December 17, 2010 the then chief minister V S Achuthanandan laid the foundation for the airport and the earthwork began on February 2, 2014, which was inaugurated by the then Union defence minister A K Antony. On July 6, 2014, the foundation stone of the terminal building was laid by the then chief minister Oommen Chandy.
09/12/18 Times of India

Kannur airport a challenge and opportunity for Calicut

With the Kannur international airport becoming a reality, it is an opportunity for the 30-year-old Calicut international airport to buckle up and improve amenities for passengers from Malabar.
The commissioning of the fourth international airport in the State, managed by a public-private consortium, is expected to give tough competition to airports in Mysuru, Mangaluru, and Calicut, all operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The Calicut airport will be directly impacted as Kannur is eyeing to boost the domestic and international connectivity of north Malabar.

Sources said the impact would be known only after six months or so when the Kannur airport commences full-fledged domestic and international operations. Possibly, Kannur will get a large slice of passengers in Kannur district, rural Kozhikode, and Wayanad who have till now been relying on the Calicut airport. Besides, the Kannur airport will be catering to regions in Kasaragod and Coorg. It is expected to handle around 15 lakh passengers a year. Unquestionably, Kannur will provide modern and advanced facilities to travellers. For now, only mid-sized aircraft under Code C will operate though the airport which has parking bays for 14 Code E and 20 Code C aircraft.

Nevertheless, Calicut, despite the ban on operation of wide-bodied aircraft for three years, handled 32 lakh passengers last year. Now, the ban has been lifted with Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) recommencing daily operations. Further, the Ministry of Minorities Affairs has restored the embarkation point for Haj pilgrims.

Also, it is expected that the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will give approval for Dubai-based Emirates and Air India to operate big flights assigned under Code E.
09/12/18 The Hindu

City loses hosting rights to aviation expo

Hyderabad: will no longer host the biennial civil aviation expo, considered one of the largest in the country. A Defence Ministry spokesman made the announcement in New Delhi on Friday. The civil aviation expo will be part of the Aero India 2019 show in Bengaluru, set to be hosted on five days from February 20-24, 2019.

The official used the word ‘subsuming’ for taking away the premier event from Hyderabad. No reasons have been given for merging the defence-oriented aero show hosted in Bengaluru since 1996, and the civilian aero exhibition which began in 2008.

In March this year, at the International Exhibition and Conference on Civil Aviation in Hyderabad, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had scotched rumours about the merger.

The Hyderabad aero show has become part of MICE calendar as India is emerging a big shopper for civilian aircraft.

The domestic aviation market has expanded rapidly over the past few years aided by industry-friendly policies including subsidies for air connectivity to smaller places and the north east.

A recent study released by International Air Transport Association estimated that in 2010, 79 million people travelled to/from/or within India. This number doubled to 158 million in 2017 and is expected to treble by 2037.
08/12/18 Serish Nanisetti/The Hindu

Volvo service from city to Delhi airport to resume soon

Ludhiana: Even as the State Transport Department has decided to resume its luxury bus services from Jalandhar to the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi securing the national tourist permit, it is yet to take a call on resuming the Volvo bus service of the Punjab Roadways from Ludhiana to the New Delhi airport. However, a decision is expected to be taken in this regard in the next few days.

Sources in the Transport Department said earlier, the Punjab Roadways Volvo service from Ludhiana to the New Delhi airport used to first stop at the Inter-State Bus Terminal, but now, the authorities were mulling direct bus service to the airport.

“First, we will see the response of the buses to ply between Jalandhar and New Delhi airport. If these buses get good response from the commuters, we will also start Volvo service to the Delhi airport. A decision in this direction will be taken within one week,” said a Punjab Roadways official privy to development.
08/12/18 Jaswant Shetra/Tribune

Nagaland CM Rio keen to push ‘PPP mode’ for new airport at Kohima

New Delhi/Kohima: Of all the multi-pronged developmental projects being undertaken by his government, the Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has decided to give a major momentum to the initiatives for creating the second airport in the state.
“The proposed new airport near state capital Kohima with potential of 4.2 to 4.5 km runway will change the face of Nagaland,” Mr Rio told UNI during an interaction.
09/12/18 Nirendra Dev/UNI

Collector allots parking slots for 15 taxis at Dabolim airport

Vasco: South Goa district collector Dr Tariq Thomas has allotted slots for 15 yellow black taxi cabs at Dabolim airport, while the rest of the taxis have been provided alternate parking space at the slipway near the grade separator.

An inspection was fixed at Dabolim airport on Saturday afternoon by Dr Thomas in order to provide parking space for yellow black taxi cabs, those who are operating under United Taximen Union at Dabolim airport.

The Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha, superintendent of police South Arvind Gawas, deputy superintendent of police Vasco Sunita Sawant, airport director Bhupesh Negi, Dabolim airport PI Shailesh Narvekar, police sub-inspector Razashad Sheikh attached to Dabolim airport traffic cell, UTU president Mahesh Petkar and others were present at the inspection.

Speaking to this daily, Dr Thomas said, “Basically we are trying to identify alternate location for parking for the yellow black taxi cabs at least from the airport in order to reduce congestion. We have surveyed the site and have put forth the proposal before the taxi owners. Let us see how the proposal works in the coming week.”
09/12/18 NavHindTimes

Patna airport gets extra runway lights

Patna: Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport on Saturday made operational 420m of approach lighting system that will help pilots land their aircraft even if visibility falls to below 1,000m.

It will be a boon for passengers and airlines during foggy weather that envelops the Patna sky and leads to inordinate delays of flights, making flying in and out of Patna a troublesome affair.

“We have made operational 420m of approach lights towards the eastern side of the runway today (December 8) at noon. We got the approval last (Friday) evening on International Civil Aviation Day. Pilots can use it to land at the airport in a visibility of 1,000m,” said Patna airport director Rajender Singh Lahauria.

Lahauria claimed it as a major achievement as it will cut delays due to inclement weather conditions in winter. “At present, flights can land at Patna airport in a minimum visibility of 1,200m. Reducing the criteria by 200m will be a shot in the arm towards maintaining the flight schedule,” Lahauria added.

The Telegraph had reported in September that the Patna airport was installing approach lighting system (ALS) to ensure that flights land on time in foggy weather and are not diverted to other airports outside the state.

ALS extends from the approach end of airstrips. It helps pilots in visual identification of landing environment and in aligning the aircraft with the runway on arriving at a prescribed point while approaching it. It significantly enhances the safety of aircraft operations, particularly in conditions of reduced visibility like foggy or rainy conditions.
09/12/18 Dev Raj/Telegraph

Fallout of Ghatkopar crash: Firm loses DGCA nod to repair aircraft

Mumbai: After five people were killed in a plane crash in Ghatkopar this June, the Indian civil aviation regulator undertook an audit of Indamer Aviation Pvt Ltd, the company that had carried out repairs and maintenance of the ill-fated aircraft.

Citing a list of malpractices that the audit unearthed, the regulator has now ordered suspension of aircraft maintenance and repair work carried out by Indamer at its Ahmedabad base, and partially curtailed the work it undertakes at its Mumbai base.

The audit findings do not pertain to the June 28 King Air C-90 Ghatkopar crash.

But soon after the crash, on July 2, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued an order to audit Indamer, and the eight-day inspection carried out in July and September covered the work it undertook on other aircraft parked at its bases in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune.

“Evidence of aircraft being released for flights without recording or rectifying known defects were found,” said the letter sent recently by Pawan Kumar, director of airworthiness, DGCA, to Indamer. It listed 11 audit findings of a “significant” nature.
“As a sample, 19 cases of non-recording of defects encountered by maintenance/operational personnel were evidenced,” it said.

The malpractices include carrying out major aircraft inspection checks without necessary tools and equipment, illegal cannibalisation of spare parts, use of locally-fabricated tools that haven’t been subjected to appropriate inspection or certification to carry out critical inspection of B200 aircraft and AgustaA109 helicopters.

“There are (a) number of findings, related to inadequate facilities, lack of procedures, inadequate infrastructure, non-availability of required technical manpower, nonadherence to standard procedures wherein the organisation did not satisfactorily demonstrate compliance to the applicable regulations,” the audit findings said.
09/12/18 Manju V/Times of India

Malaysian airline to touch down Kolkata in Oct

Kolkata: Malaysian premium airline Malindo Air will commence flights to Kolkata this festive season, making it the first full-service carrier from a region other than the Gulf to touch down in the city in over a decade.

“We are waiting for a regulatory clearance that is due shortly. We should tentatively start flights in the third week of October. This will be the ninth city in India after Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Amritsar, Kochi, Trivandrum and Trichi,” an airline official said.

The airline is likely to operate four-five flights in a week with either the Boeing 737-800 that has 12 business-class and 150 economy seats. It also operates the Boeing 737-900ER aircraft with a configuration of 12 business and 168 economy-class seats.

Kolkata airport director Atul Dikshit, who has been hardselling the airport to international airlines, said flights were likely to start from October 20. “Malindo Air will start flights to Kuala Lumpur next month. We hope it will be followed by several other airlines,” he said.

At present, low-cost carrier AirAsia has a flight between Kolkata and Kuala Lumpur. More than a decade ago, Malaysian flag carrier Malaysia Airline had started a flight to Kolkata but it was withdrawn in a year.
08/12/18 Clayton Caller

Kerala CM appeals to Centre not to lease out Thiruvananthapuram airport under PPP mode

Kannur: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Sunday appealed to the Centre not to lease out the Thiruvananthapuram airport under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode and requested it to entrust the aerodrome's management with the state government.

The Union Cabinet has recently approved a proposal to manage Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Mangaluru besides Thiruvananthapuram airports under PPP mode.

At the inauguration of the Kannur International airport, Vijayan said, "We can set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) and manage the airport in a remarkable way. We are ready to take over the management of the Karipur International airport (Calicut) also if the Centre has any similar plans in future."
09/12/18 Outlook

Air France says ‘thanks’ to Mysuru doctor for timely help

Mysuru: A 69-year-old doctor from Mysuru, who saved the life of an elderly person travelling on board an Air France flight from Paris and Bengaluru last month, has received a special thanks and a gift voucher from the airline.

Prabhulingaswamy Sanganalmath, a retired government physician, who runs a family clinic at Kuvempunagar here, was on the Air France flight to Bengaluru from Paris on November 13, when his professional services were needed to save a life.

An European senior citizen on the flight collapsed and Dr. Sanganalmath responded to the cabin crew’s request for medical assistance. “I was perhaps the only doctor travelling. There was a nurse in the flight who assisted me,” recalled Dr. Sanganalmath.
“There was no pulse and he was not breathing,” said the doctor.

He did a cardiac massage, followed by a resuscitation process, with the support of the nurse.

“The air hostesses brought the emergency health kit and oxygen tank. The oxygen supplemented resuscitation was carried out,” the doctor said. The patient started speaking and drank juice after a couple of hours. “The patient was under observation until the flight landed in Bengaluru and was then taken to the airport clinic for further examination,” he said.

“The flight captain came to me and expressed his gratitude for my help. Next day I got a message from Vincent Feuillie of Air France Passenger Medical Service thanking me for the medical assistance. Now, the airline has offered me a voucher worth 100 Euros as a token of appreciation,” said the doctor, adding that he had done no more than his duty.
08/12/18 Shankar Bennur/The Hindu

IndiGo ordered to pay flyer Rs 25,000 for refusing boarding

Hyderabad: A district consumer forum here directed IndiGo airlines to refund Rs 9,729 and pay Rs 25, 000 as compensation to a customer for stopping him from boarding the plane without a valid reason.
Kumar P, the complainant, said he had purchased a ticket from an agent of IndiGo to travel to Chennai from Hyderabad by paying a sum of Rs 3,016. Kumar said, that on August 19, 2016, the day of travel, despite clearing all security checks, he was not allowed to board the flight. He said his ticket was endorsed as ‘cancelled’.
He submitted that this caused him great trauma, as he was travelling to Chennai to attend his father’s death anniversary that morning. Since, the Indigo staff at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport did not help him or refund ticket amount, he was forced to buy a ticket of another airlines by spending an amount of Rs 6,712.
He said he contacted customer care of IndiGo, and sent emails to several officials, including the one from Civil Aviation for the refund, but did not receive any positive reply.
The representatives from IndiGo, in their written version, submitted that the case is liable to be dismissed as it is filed against IndiGo, but not under its registered corporate name InterGlobe Aviation. They claimed that Kumar took his boarding pass only 25 minutes prior to departure, and that he had arrived at the boarding gate only after the closure of the gates. They said they were compelled to treat Kumar as a ‘Gate No Show’.
09/12/18 Nirupa Vatyam/Times of India

‘Passenger mistakes announcement’

Kochi: A passenger who accidentally opened an emergency exit door of a Hubballi-bound IndiGo flight at Cochin International Airport Ltd (Cial) on Friday had done so after misunderstanding a pilot’s announcement, said airport sources.
The flight left around 5pm, about two hours behind the scheduled time.

“The passenger mistook an announcement to unfasten seat belt for an emergency alert and opened the door,” said an airport source.

The cabin crew are supposed to take extra care while seating a passenger next to the emergency door. As per civil aviation regulations, the passenger sitting next to the emergency exit needs to be identified prior to departure, say aviation experts.
The cabin crew is supposed to meet this passenger personally and have to ask whether s/he is willing to take the responsibility of opening the exit door in case of an emergency. If not, s/he needs to be shifted to another seat .
09/12/18 Times of India

Mumbai airport handles record 1,007 flight movements

Mumbai: The capacity-constrained Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) Saturday handled a record 1,007 aircraft movements in a day, bettering its earlier record of 1,003 flight movements in 24-hours in June this year.

Sources said the feat was achieved in the wake of the pre-wedding bash of Isha Ambani, daughter of industrialist and Indias richest person Mukesh Ambani, in Udaipur in Rajasthan.
They said a host of politicians, corporate honchos and Bollywood stars flew in private jets from Mumbai to attend the celebrations that started on Friday.
A Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson confirmed that the airport handled a record 1007 arrivals and departures on Saturday but did not divulge the factors leading to the surge in traffic movement.
"Mumbai airport handled a record 1,007 flights in a single day on Saturday. The earlier best for the airport was 1,003 arrivals and departures which was achieved on June 6," the source said.
According to the source, the airport witnessed increased charter aircraft operations on Saturday due to the pre-marriage celebrations of Isha Ambani, who is set to marry Piramal scion Anand Piramal on Wednesday at Antilia, the residence of the Mukesh Ambani family in south Mumbai.
09/12/18 PTI/Economic Times

Indian Army ex-chief wasn’t surprised when Dassault junked HAL as Rafale partner

Chandigarh: Former Indian Army chief General Ved Prakash Malik (Retd) said Saturday he wasn’t surprised by reports that French aerospace manufacturer Dassault had rejected Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as a partner over quality concerns.

General Malik, who headed the Indian Army during the Kargil war, was speaking in a panel discussion on ‘Military Industrial Base and Make in India’ on the second day of the Punjab government’s Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh.

The rejection of HAL as a partner in the deal India has signed with France for the purchase of Dassault’s Rafale fighter jets has become a hot potato in Indian politics. The opposition has alleged foul play, questioning Dassault’s selection of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the partner over a state-owned manufacturer.

A former HAL chief, too, had lashed out at allegations of the agency’s incompetence to be a partner in the Rafale deal.

“I’m not surprised that Rafale [sic] recently refused to accept quality assurance from HAL,” General Malik said, citing other instances he believed the Make in India programme had made little progress so far, especially in the defence sector.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks in the programme, aside from defence procurement procedures, he said, was that manufacturers were not getting any indication that the government was interested in developing and buying equipment for its own armed forces.
Recalling a conversation with a manufacturer after the last Budget, he added, “There was hardly any money left for capital purchases.”

The “upset manufacturer”, Malik said, feared that meagre budget set aside for defence meant he won’t get any orders, despite having invested a lot of money in the sector.

The absence of political will was another reason why defence manufacturing had never picked up in India, he added.
09/12/18 Amrita Nayak Dutta/Print

Cargo exports yet to catch on at Pune airport

Pune: The recently launched direct Pune-Singapore flight may have carried 500kg sweets from the city, but the overall response to the airport’s international cargo export facilities has been underwhelming.

The facility was set up in July 2017, and at that time, the airport authorities had set their annual international cargo export expectations at 40,600 metric tonnes. The numbers achieved till September 2018 — 64 metric tonnes — reveal that the facility has fallen woefully short of those expectations. The availability of transhipment facility, which started in January this year, too has not made much of a difference.

From Pune, apart from perishable items like fruits and vegetables, machine parts are exported. A bulk of it is sent out via the Mumbai airport. In fact, almost 40% of the international cargo handled at the Mumbai airport originates from Pune or other places in western Maharashtra.

Earlier this year, the airport officials invited the representatives of cargo companies like Blue Dart and DHL to start their cargo operations from Pune and offered them slots of their choice. But talks are still going on. “It will take some more time for things to materialize,” an airport official told TOI.

Anant Sardeshmukh, the former director-general of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, spoke about infrastructural constraints. “All major exporters have large volumes and have well-established export-import operations from major ports like Nhava Sheva. At the Pune airport, there are space and infrastructure constraints, especially for machines and machinery. Flights and direct connectivity are also issues,” he said.

Aviation analyst and expert Dhairyashil Vandekar agreed. “One needs infrastructure — like cold storage — which isn’t available here. Also, where is the cargo import facility? How can there be only exports but no imports? There is also a lack of will,” he said.
09/12/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Delhi-Doon-Pantnagar flight to start on December 19

Rudrapur: To cater to unserved regions, Air India is set to begin its operations between Pantnagar and Dehradun on December 19 under ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ - a regional connectivity scheme (UDAN-RCS). Air India’s inaugural RCS service will see it connect the state capital with Pantnagar and Delhi, four times a week.
“This flight route was earlier assigned to a private airlines company which failed to start the operations and later given to the second highest bidder, Air India,” said SK Singh, director of Pantnagar airport.
According to Singh, flight 9I 815 will depart from New Delhi at 12.10hrs (IST) and reach Dehradun at 13.10 hrs (IST) on December 19. Going onward, flight 9I 823 will depart from Dehradun at 13.40 hrs (IST), arriving at Pantnagar at 14.30 hrs (IST). On its return, flight 9I 824 will depart from Pantnagar at 15.05 hrs (IST) and land in the state capital Dehradun at 15.55 hrs (IST). From Dehradun, flight 9I 816 will depart at 16.30 hrs (IST) and land in Lucknow at 17.40 hrs (IST). The route will be catered to by an ATR aircraft with a seating capacity of 42 to 72 guests, depending on the number of passengers.
08/12/18 Aakash Ahuja/Times of India

Air India plans flight services to Iraq's Najaf from Lucknow

Mumbai: Loss-making national carrier Air India is looking to start a flight service to Iraqi city of Najaf from Lucknow in UP via New Delhi, starting early next year.
Najaf is considered sacred by Shia Muslims. Notably, Lucknow has a sizable Shia population.
The airline is discussing modalities of the proposed flight and a final decision is expected to be taken on Monday, an airline source said.
"Air India plans to start services to Najaf from Lucknow, connecting New Delhi. But there are are several issues which need to be sorted out before announcing the new flight. A meeting has been called on Monday to discuss all the issues around the flight. A final decision about the launch will be taken at this meeting," the source said.
According to the source, the stay arrangements for the flight crew is one of the key issues as it can't stay in Najaf due to certain reasons.
08/12/18 PTI/Economic Times

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Why India is luring foreign carriers

On the international civil aviation day, two European carriers - Air Italy and WOW air - started their inaugural flights to India. Full-service carrier Air Italy started New Delhi-to-Milan and Mumbai-to-Milan non-stop flights on an Airbus 330-200 offering a configuration of 24 business class and 228 economy class seats. Low-cost carrier WOW air, on the other hand, launched Delhi-to-Reykjavik direct flight.

Citing the reasons behind the expansion, Air Italy's COO Rossen Dimitrov said that Italy is the second-most visited European destination for Indian tourists, and the airline, which is 49 per cent owned by Qatar Airways, is planning to have code-share agreement with Tata Group-owned Vistara to connect its passengers to more Indian cities. WOW air boasts about launching first-ever direct flight between Iceland and India, and giving one-stop connectivity to its Indian passengers to 13 north American destinations.

The launch of these flights is coming at a time when domestic carrier IndiGo is mulling over introducing flights to Western European destinations with Airbus A321LR. Also, Kuwait's budget airline Jazeera Airways has recently announced that it would add Delhi as its fifth destination in India.

In a dampened global aviation market, what's prompting foreign airlines to plan their expansions in India. The biggest pull factor remains the high passenger growth that India offers to the international carriers. For instance, in each month, the growth in the international passenger traffic (outbound and inbound combined) for nine months in 2018 exceeded the growth for the corresponding nine months of the last year. In September, the international passenger growth stood at 4.9 per cent, one of the lowest in the current year, as per DGCA.
07/12/18 Manu Kaushik/Business Today

DGCA draws flak for its 737 Max fix

New Delhi: The solution suggested by India’s aviation regulator to avoid a situation similar to the one that likely led to the fatal crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is unimplementable as of now, veteran aviators said.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) wants airlines to train pilots operating the 737 Max 8 model plane on a simulator by replicating the circumstances that are suspected to have led to the crash off Jakarta in October, which killed all 189 people on board.
The former pilots, one of them a certified instructor, said the DGCA’s recommendation could not be implemented as of now in India as there was neither a simulator for this variant of the 737 aircraft, nor could the set of conditions — that investigators suspect led to the Lion Air crash — be simulated on the available simulator.
“There is no simulator for Boeing 737 Max,” said Captain Shakti Lumba, an independent aviation analyst. “Pilots [in India] are trained on a Boeing 737 NG simulator which doesn’t have the module, or the auto-stab function, present in the Max variant,” he added.

Jet Airways and SpiceJet currently operate five 737 Max planes each.

The DGCA has developed a set of protocols to be followed in case of a problem with the aircraft’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). These include diverting the plane to the nearest airport in case of an issue with the device, reporting any problem with it to the DGCA and carrying out a verification flight if the device is repaired following a glitch. The MCAS is an addition to the 737 Max 8 planes to prevent the plane’s nose from getting too high and causing a stall or drop in speed. In the Lion Air crash, the MCAS is suspected of having forced the nose down because of incorrect information it received from sensors on the fuselage.

An examiner for pilots flying 737 planes, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the aviation watchdog had issued instructions without detailed guidelines.
07/12/18 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu

'Our airplanes are safe,' says Boeing

Jakarta/Seattle: The aviation authorities in Indonesia and India pushed for more simulator training for Boeing's 737 MAX pilots, following the deadly Lion Air crash, while the world's largest airplane maker reiterated that its top-selling jetliner was safe.

Boeing's chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg told a CNBC interviewer on Thursday that he was "very confident" in the safety of the 737 Max, the newest version of a jet that has been a fixture of passenger travel for decades.

"We know our airplanes are safe," he said. "We have not changed our design philosophy."
Mr Muilenburg's comments came the same day that India's aviation regulator said 737 MAX pilots should be trained on a simulator that replicates the suspected scenario that led to the crash, while Indonesia's Transport Ministry said it would immediately impose new requirements for simulator training.

Also on Thursday, Lion Air confirmed an earlier Reuters report that it was considering cancelling 737 MAX orders after the jetliner plunged into the Java Sea on Oct 29, killing all 189 people on board.

Lion Air, a privately owned budget airline, has 190 Boeing jets worth US$22 billion (S$30 billion) at list prices waiting to be delivered, on top of 197 already taken, making it one of the largest US export customers.

Other MAX customers, including large US carriers, have reiterated that they are confident in the plane.
08/12/18 Straits Times

Noida airport to be built on PPP mode

Noida: The construction of the Noida International Airport at Jewar will be done on a public-private-partnership (PPP) mode, Uttar Pradesh authorities said on Saturday.

A government order has been issued by the Civil Aviation Department after a nod from the state cabinet.

At a cabinet meeting held earlier this week, it was decided that acquired land will be given on a 90-year lease to the Noida International Airport Limited (NAIL) and that it be vested the powers of selecting the developer.

Six villages -- Bajauta Rajawaha, Rajwaha, Dayanatpur Rajawah, Kishrepur Alpika and Pathvaya Nala -- are likely to be shifted for the purpose. The irrigation department will oversee and facilitate the shifting process, an official told IANS.

The state government has also ratified the financial and administrative clearance of Rs 4,500 crore required for acquisition of 1,239.14 hectares of land at a price of Rs 2,300 per square metres.

The government land that comes in the ambit of the airport will, however, be transferred free of cost to the airport.
08/12/18 Hans India

NokScoot launches non-stop service to Delhi on 18th December 2018

Bangkok:  NokScoot, the joint venture low-cost carrier of Thailand’s Nok Air and Singapore’s Scoot, announced the launch of its latest route from Bangkok Don Mueang Airport to Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport on 18 December 2018.

Subject to regulatory approval, the inaugural flight will take-off from Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport on 18th December 2018.  As the region’s leading medium-haul budget airline, NokScoot forecasts strong demand on the Delhi route as it expands its network into South Asia.

"We are very proud to announce NokScoot's inaugural service from Bangkok to Delhi on 18th December 2018” NokScoot CEO Chief Yodchai Sudhidhanakul said. “This route marks our first ever service to South Asia and follows the launch of services to Tokyo Narita in June 2018 and Osaka Kansai in October 2018.
08/12/18 Theodore Koumelis/TravelDailyNews

HC seeks Centre's reply on plea against DGCA on cabin crew's duty time

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response of the Centre and aviation regulator DGCA on a plea alleging that under the new Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) on Flight Duty Time Limit (FDTL), rest period of cabin crew has been reduced as compared to pilots.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued notice to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) seeking their response to the petition by an association which has sought that cabin crew be treated at par with pilots while laying down the flight duty periods (FDPs).

The All India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA) has in its plea challenged the DGCA's current CAR I on FDTL, which was notified on November 1, and the subsequent draft CAR the regulator is in the process of finalising, saying these regulations are "prejudicial to the safety of the passengers".

The petition, filed through advocates Sanjoy Ghose and Urvi Mohan, contends that the actions of DGCA "do not adequately consider the impact of fatigue on (cabin) crew alertness".

DGCA said that AICCA can participate in the process and submit their comments on the draft CAR.
07/12/18 PTI/Outlook

Security up at Kolkata airport after email

Kolkata: Security was enhanced at the city airport from Tuesday afternoon after the airport director‘s office reportedly received an email from an unknown account with a short message: “Airport is highjake”.

Following the receipt of the mail, a high-level meeting was held and security was instantly beefed up. However, studying the nature of the mail with the word “hijack” misspelt as “highjake”, the officials categorised the threat mail as a non-specific threat and lodged a complaint with the local police station to probe into the issue.

“The airport director‘s office received the mail around 11am on November 13 on the official Airports Authority of India email id of the director. The nature of the words suggests it may be a prank. However, the officials decided to beef up the security,” said a senior official at the airport.
07/12/18 Moveefy

Women in Aviation International celebrates Girls in Aviation Day

New Delhi: Women in Aviation International, India Chapter and Lockheed Martin India in association with Airports Authority of India (AAI) today celebrated Girls in Aviation Day on the ocassion of International Civil Aviation Day. The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation towards the social and economic development. With the vision to encourage girls to take up STEM subjects and explore career opportunities in related industries, Girls in Aviation Day is aimed at showcasing opportunities in the aviation and aerospace sectors. This initiative also aligns with the Government of India’s ‘Skill India’ initiative.

As part of the program, Women in Aviation International (India Chapter) invited 90 students from various schools for an informative session in New Delhi. Visiting students were given an opportunity to hear industry experts speak on the ‘Future of STEM in India’. The session stressed upon the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics and how these subjects can lead to fulfilling careers in aviation. Additionally, Women in Aviation gave out 10 IATA sponsored course kits to underprivileged girls to empower them to kick start a career in aviation.

Speaking on the occasion, Mrs. Radha Bhatia, President, Women in Aviation International, India Chapter shared,” This is the third year that the WAI India Chapter is celebrating ‘Girls in Aviation Day’ and we are delighted to host the same in the capital. This day is celebrated for the young girls to encourage them to choose aviation as a viable career opportunity. World over India has the maximum number of female pilots but there are many other avenues that are still unknown. With this celebration our aim is to see girls from New Delhi explore exciting careers available to them as engineers, air traffic controllers and dozens of other jobs within the aviation
“We will continue our endeavour to introduce young girls to role models and educate them in a fun and supportive atmosphere. We are very fortunate to be able to partner with Airport Authority of India for this initiative. Their efforts in leading youth into STEM careers is truly commendable.” added Mrs. Bhatia.
Speaking about Lockheed Martin’s commitment to this initiative, Mr. Phil Shaw, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India Private Limited said, “Lockheed Martin is delighted to support the Girls in Aviation Day initiative and see it grow from strength to strength. We are passionate about encouraging young ladies to broaden their horizons and consider pursuing an education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and consequently, careers in aerospace and technology.  Lockheed Martin views education as a crucial investment for both business and society and looks forward to helping develop the next generation of engineers, explorers and scientists in India.
Post the session the students were delighted to receive abundant information about the industry and its intricacies. Also, Mr. Ashwini Lohani- Chairman Railway Board, Chief Guest of the celebration gave away 10 IATA sponored kits to girls from underpriviledged background to kickstart a career in aviation.

Bengal to acquire 110 acres land for Bagdogra airport expansion

The West Bengal government is working for acquisition of 110 acres of land required for expansion of the Bagdogra airport in Darjeeling district, state minister Goutam Deb said on Friday.

The plan is to acquire the land of a tea garden for the purpose.

"We have to give the 110 acres land to the Airport Authority of India for expansion of Bagdogra airport. We are actively pursuing for it," Tourism Minister Goutam Deb said on the sidelines of the Infocom 2018.

According to reports, the AAI has agreed to pay Rs 25 crore as compensation for the land to be acquired by the West Bengal government.
08/12/18 PTI/ZeeBiz

Thiruvananthapuram: Resolution against privatising airport

Thiruvananthapuram Corporation has passed a resolution presented by LDF’s K Sreekumar against the proposed privatisation of airport. It was one of the six airports of Airport Authority of India (AAI) which was given an in-principle union cabinet approval for privatisation in November.

The operation, management and development will be leased out under Public Private Partnersh-ip (PPP) through Public Private Appraisal Committee (PPAC). The state government has requested the centre to try out the CIAL model. They would rather have a public-private partnership company with state having a major stake, just like CIAL.
Thiruvananthapuram airport was bringing in a lot of profit and there was no need for privatisation, said Sreekumar. He said that even as Airport Aut-hority of India would reassign around 500 employees it has employed, the move is going to affect the jobs of 1000 other people who have been working as contract employees.

BJP demanded that the resolution should be passed only after an all-party meeting. BJP councillors Nemom Gopan and V.G. Girikumar said that it was a resolution which was not included in the agenda. They, despite a Press Information Bureau release suggesting otherwise, said that there is no official government order regarding the privatisation of airports and so the privatisation is not happening.

Mayor V.K. Prasanth rul-ed against their demand that the resolution can be presented in the next council.
08/12/18 Deccan Chronicle

1 more glass panel shatters at airport; 69 incidents so far

Chennai: There were 69 incidents of glass panel breakage at the steel and glass terminals at Chennai airport since the domestic and international terminals were commissioned in 2013. Of this 35 incidents were because of presence impurities - nickel sulphide in the glass. The particles of the chemical makes the glass to shatter when there is change in temperature.

The data was released by AAI after a glass panel shattered at the domestic terminal after a tiny metal part which flew off some passing vehicle hit it on Friday.

The statistics showed that almost equal number of panels have shattered due to chemical impurities in the glass and due to mishandling of glass by people especially staff. Nine panels have broken this year so far of which five broken because of human error and four broken because of impurities.

The maximum number of breakage, 19 incidents, happened in 2015. Of the 19, human error caused 15 breakages. However, the 14 incidents of glass shattering that took place in 2013, the year the terminals were opened, were only because of impurities and not human error.
08/12/18 Outlook

Two former CMs not invited to Kannur airport opening

Thiruvananthapuram: Two former Chief Ministers who played a key role in the development of Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL) have not been invited to its opening on Sunday, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said here on Friday.

Chennithala told the media that it was rather unfortunate that V.S. Achuthanandan (2006-11), whose government acquired land for the airport, and Oommen Chandy (2011-16), whose government completed 90 per cent of the work, have not been invited for the inauguration.

"To protest this high-handedness of the Pinarayi Vijayan government, we (leaders) will not be taking part in the inauguration. But we will not stop our political workers and others who support the Congress-led UDF to take part in the function," said Chennithala.

Vijayan, who hails from Kannur, has left nothing to chance to make the inauguration a grand spectacle. Around one lakh people are expected to take part in the event.

The first trial operation at the airport took place in February 2016 when an Indian Air Force aircraft landed and was received by then Chief Minister Chandy.

Although both are veteran Marxist leaders, Vijayan and Achuthanandan over the years have never had the best of relations.
07/12/18 Outlook

Air India subsidiary Alliance Air inaugural Ranchi-Raipur flight takes off

Air India subsidiary Alliance Air on Friday started the Ranchi-Raipur flight as part of the Centre's regional connectivity scheme from the Birsa Munda Airport here.

The inaugural flight was flagged off by Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

Today we flagged off the Ranchi-Raipur flight. The Ranchi-Kolkata flight will leave in the night, Sinha told a press conference after the inaugural flight.

On Saturday, Alliance Air will commence flight operations between Ranchi and Bhubaneswar.

Around 40 passengers boarded the inaugural Ranchi-Raipur flight while 60 passengers will board the Ranchi-Kolkata flight in the night, Sinha said.

"Three important cities are being connected with Ranchi by Raipur, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar. There is a flight to Kolkata earlier too, but this flight will be convenient to the passengers as it will land in Ranchi from Kolkata in the morning and the passengers can return to Kolkata in the evening, Sinha said.

He said that the fares for these flights are almost the same as train fares, Sinha said.

One way fare from Ranchi to Kolkata and Raipur is Rs 1,999 while it is Rs 1,666 to Bhubaneswar.
During the last four years, the number of people travelling to these routes have grown rapidly, he said.
08/12/18 PTI/ZeeBiz

Andaman to reimburse the VAT component on ATF to Airlines Companies

Port Blair: In an another initiative to increase frequency of flights and have more competitive and lower air-fare on the Island-Mainland Sector, the A&N Administration has decided to reimburse the VAT component on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) paid on those incremental flights (over and above existing number of flights), which are introduced on Port Blair Sector during the period upto March 31, 2019.
“This will be applicable from prospective effect. The reimbursement of VAT component on the incremental flights will encourage the Airlines to introduce additional flights on the Island-Mainland Sector which will facilitate more competitive and low air-fare on the sector,” an official release of Andaman and Nicobar Administration said here today.
A suitable mechanism for reimbursement of the VAT component to the airline operator is being devised by the Commissioner, VAT, A&N Administration. High airfare is always considered as a major hindrance in the growth of tourism industry in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and this step will certainly help in lowering airfare upto a certain extent.
07/12/18 UNI

Global drone alliance on the anvil, says civil aviation ministry

India plans to form a global drone alliance, similar to the International Solar Alliance, to harmonise norms for the use of drones across the world and promote the growth of this nascent sector.
“We are looking to form a drone alliance on the lines of Solar Alliance wherein other countries will accept the regulations made collectively,” said Shefali Juneja, joint secretary at the civil aviation ministry. She was speaking at the Global Venture Capital Summit here.
India, she said, is reaching out to Israel and the European Union for their support to form the alliance.
The ministry plans to use the upcoming Global Aviation Summit to brainstorm further on the idea. The summit is scheduled for January 15-16 next year in Mumbai.
Flying drones or remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA) have become legal in India starting December 1 with the National Drones Policy coming into effect. The policy defines and classifies drones, puts in place a permitting process for operators, and outlines flight restrictions.
They mandate RPAs to have a Unique Identification Number and Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit.
07/12/18 Kirtika Suneja/Economic Times

Udaipur airport to see busiest period over Ambani wedding, Rajasthan polls

The Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur will see its busiest period this week as more than 200 charter planes will fly into the city ferrying guests for the wedding of Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal.

Besides private charters, the Ambani family has booked almost 20 aircraft from commercial airlines for the guests. Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture Vistara is flying at least ten one-way charters from Delhi and Mumbai to Udaipur, while SpiceJet, Jet Airways and Air Asia, together, will be operating 10 more flights to Udaipur.

Families of Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani and Piramal Group head Anand Piramal are holding the pre-wedding bash of their son and daughter at Udaipur.

"It's not usual that airlines are operating charter flights during the peak winter season. An airline would only accept charter when they are very lucrative. Otherwise, they decline. The Ambanis are paying good money for each flight," said an executive of one of the carriers. All the airlines refused to comment on the bookings.

Besides the scheduled carriers, the Reliance group is using its own planes to ferry guests. "Reliance has its own aviation business, plus many of the guests flying to the wedding will be flying by their own personal charter," said an industry source. The Reliance group has around 11 fixed-wing aircraft and three helicopters in its fleet.

Due to the high movement of planes, the Udaipur airport authorities have increased its daylight watch hours to 4 pm from the regular 5:30 am to 1:45 pm. However, the tiny airport does not have enough infrastructure for parking. Hence, the planes have to fly back to Jaipur and Ahmedabad for night parking.
08/12/18 Arindam Majumder & Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

Ranchi gets new flights to 3 cities

In a major relief to the people of the State, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry alongwith the State Government today facilitated new flight services to three State Capitals –Raipur, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata. Alliance Air service flight from Ranchi to Raipur was flagged off by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Urban Development Minister CP Singh and Ranchi MP Ram Tahal Choudhary on Friday under the regional connectivity scheme of Central Government, from Birsa Munda International Airport, Ranchi.

Alliance Air will commence flight operations between Ranchi and Bhubneshawar on Saturday, while the flight services between Ranchi and Kolkata began from today itself.

The flight will be operated daily and will take off from Ranchi at 03:45 pm and will land at Raipur at 05: 20 pm. In its return journey, it will take off at Raipur at 05:50 pm and will land at Ranch at 07:15 pm. For Ranchi-Kolkata route the flight will take off from Kolkata at 05:50 am and will land at Ranchi at 07:25 am. In its return it will take off at Ranchi 07:45 pm and will land at Kolkata at 09:00 pm.

For the Ranchi -Bhubaneswar service the flight will take off from Ranchi at 07:50 am and will land at Bhubaneswar at 08:50 am. In its return journey it will take off from Bhubneshwar at 02:00 pm and will land at Ranchi at 03:15 pm.

Addressing a press conference after the flag off, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha said, “Since 2014, the passenger traffic growth at Ranchi Air-port has been grown more than four fold. The number of passenger has grown from six lakh in 2014 to 27.2 lakh in 2018. The numbers of scheduled flight have increased from 11 per day in 2014 to 27 per day in 2018. New destinations such as Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, and Raipur have been added to Ranchi since 2014. New Airlines such as Alliance Air, Air Asia and Air Vistara have started operations during last four years. In near future Bokaro Airport will be operational and Bokaro to Kolkata flight will be started in six to eight months.”
08/12/18 Pioneer

Vistara: Mission International

New car, caviar, four star daydream…. Any “cool” kid who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s will recognise that line from Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’, from the hit album Dark Side of the Moon. It’s also a song that you’re likely to hear played on any Vistara flight. That one line alone seems to describe what Vistara wants to be—the four-star dream airline. But more on Vistara’s ambition later. For now, let’s listen to the music.

“We play blues, jazz, and soft rock as our boarding and landing music on our A320neos. Together with the mood lighting, this creates a warm and welcoming club-like atmosphere that appeals to our target segment. This is a place they can relax and feel like they belong, with comfort music from their school and college days in India or abroad,” explains Sanjiv Kapoor, chief strategy and commercial officer, Vistara. The younger fliers, he adds, who may not have grown up on Pink Floyd or even Louis Armstrong, seem to enjoy the music, and the airline has got positive feedback on its playlists.

The club-like atmosphere Kapoor speaks about is something Vistara is trying to recreate, not just through its choice of music, but also through the menus it offers, and the overall ambience. “Vistara has maintained a distinct identity for itself,” says Harish Bijoor, brand expert and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults. He compares Vistara to “what Jet Airways used to be in the old days”.

As one of the youngest airlines in an increasingly crowded space, Vistara, which was launched in 2015, has managed to stand out by refusing to be seen as a low-cost carrier. Its focus on premium offerings has led to inevitable comparisons with that other premium airline, Kingfisher. Of course, Kingfisher came to a bad end, but that was not because its premium positioning did not work. Vistara doesn’t have the same financial baggage that Kingfisher had to contend with; as a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, its lineage is spotless.

In the three years that it has been in business, Vistara’s positioning has worked in its favour. There have been people more than happy to pay more to get more—more legroom, more food choices, more perks. It hasn’t translated into a healthy bottom line yet, but that’s something nobody is very concerned about just yet. Airlines generally take at least five years to show a profit, and that depends a lot on global fuel price movements as well.

Vistara is now looking at the international market as a way to turn in a profit. “Without international it is very difficult for an airline to make money,” explains Dhiraj Mathur, partner, leader-aerospace & defence at PwC India. That’s why every domestic airline in India today has global ambitions; recently, even a company as small as GoAir has announced its plans to foray abroad.
08/11/18 Arnika Thakur, Purba Das/Fortune India

Pune One Step Closer to Becoming a Global Destination

For most of the Indians, visiting Singapore will surely be a part of their bucket list. Whether it is destination wedding, business tours or for leisure, Singapore manages to find a place in every Indian’s mind. Here’s the great news for all those Singapore lovers. From the first day of the December, Jet Airways will provide daily service from Pune to Singapore becoming the biggest airline company to connect India with the spectacular country. Even without having direct service from Pune, Singapore witnessed the largest crowd in the year 2017 from the vibrant city. Now Jet Airways providing non- stop facility between these two places, it will be a great relief for the travellers staying near Pune who aspire to visit the island country for their vacations.

Singapore having a sea of option in tourist attraction and tourist activities throughout the year finds its streets filled with visitors from around the world. Explore the beautiful beaches, spend time walking through the splendid city or try the night safari. You will never run out of options to keep yourselves engaged and entertained in Singapore.

With the healthy trade relation between both the countries, it will be a boon for the exporters and the importers from both sides. The service can create an economic boost for both the countries. The flight from Pune will depart at 5:10hrs. Jet Airways has also announced special introductory offers on ticket fares on the flights to celebrate their new achievement. 
08/11/18 Outlook

ICRA Downgrades Jet Airways' Long-term Ratings to 'C'

Mumbai Credit rating agency Icra Friday downgraded cash-strapped Jet Airway's long-term ratings from 'B' to 'C', the second such action by it since October.
The short-term ratings have, however, been reaffirmed to 'A4'.
The rating downgrade considers delays in the implementation of the proposed liquidity initiatives by the management, further aggravating its liquidity, as reflected in the delays in employee salary payments and lease rental payments to the aircraft lessors, the agency said.
Significantly, the Naresh Goyal-promoted full service carrier has been in the red since the March quarter of the previous fiscal. Facing severe liquidity crunch, the airline has been defaulting on payment of salaries to its senior staff, including pilots and engineers since August as well as to some of the vendors
Jet Airways in a regulatory filing also confirmed the rating downgrade by Icra.
Instruments with 'C' rating are considered to have very high risk of default regarding timely servicing of financial obligations, as per the agency.
07/12/18 PTI/

Flight skips Hyderabad touchdown due to bad weather, voters on-board miss franchise

Hyderabad: Massive chaos unfolded at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Friday morning after an Air India flight, AI 966, from Jeddah skipped its halt at the city’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) and headed straight for its final destination, Mumbai.

While airline authorities attributed this to poor weather conditions in Hyderabad, it failed to pacify fliers — many of whom were travelling to the city to cast their vote in Telangana assembly elections. In fact, in a video that went viral on social media, several passengers are seen engaging in a heated argument with the airline crew demanding an explanation for being de-planed at Mumbai airport. They are also repeatedly heard complaining about missing the polls.

“AI 966 Jeddah to Hyderabad landed in Mumbai instead of arriving at Hyderabad at 7:10am on December 7. Most passengers wanted to cast their vote in Telangana. Air India authorities said due to bad weather flight landed in Mumbai but same time Saudi Airline flight arrived in Hyderabad from Jeddah,” tweeted Shahbaz Ahmed Khan, a social activist, seeking justice for passengers who couldn’t vote due to the chaos. Another passenger questioned why the initial decision to land the aircraft in Hyderabad was revised later. “Why was the decision changed?,” the passenger is heard asking the airline staff in the video, with several others screaming in the background insisting that the crew arrange for the earliest flight to Hyderabad.
08/12/18 Preeti Biswas & Sudipta Sengupta/Times of India

Kerala’s Kannur airport to bring Coorg closer

On Sunday, 9 December, Kannur International Airport will officially start operations, making it the fourth international airport in Kerala and the first in the northern part of the region. Air India Express will operate the first flight to Abu Dhabi. No-frills carrier GoAir will follow with flights to three cities in South India.
GoAir has announced direct flights from Kannur to Bengaluru (6 times weekly), Hyderabad (4 times weekly) and Chennai (3 times weekly). The airline will also start international flights from Kannur once the final regulatory approvals are in. Air India Express will operate flights from Kannur to Riyadh and Doha, in addition to Abu Dhabi. Other airlines, including SpiceJet and IndiGo have applied for permissions to fly into Kannur.

Kannur International Airport will have most regular facilities you’d expect of an international airport: duty-free shops, lounges, retail stores and restaurants. The airport will also have 20 fully-furnished rooms for passengers on long layovers.
The Kannur International Airport will provide easier access to the towns and beaches of north Kerala. In addition, it will provide much easier access to Karnataka’s favourite hill station: Coorg. Currently, one must fly to Bengaluru and drive six hours (250km), or to Mangaluru and drive four hours (140km) to reach Coorg, or Kodagu, as it is now known. But the distance from Kannur airport to Coorg is just 81km, which could mean a drive time of just two hours. Coffee country, here we come.
07/12/18 Conde Nast Traveller

Air India flight goof-up strands many voters in Mumbai

Hyderabad: Air India flight AI 966 from Jeddah, carrying 229 passengers, landed in Mumbai on Friday instead of its scheduled arrival in Hyderabad at 7.10 am after the airline decided to fly directly to its final destination. Several city-based passengers on the flight said they were looking forward to casting their votes on arrival in Hyderabad, while a few others were visiting the city to attend funerals.

The Air India authorities in Mumbai told the passengers that the plane had to be flown directly to Mumbai due to bad weather in Hyderabad. However, the passengers countered, saying that Saudi Airlines flight SVA 754 from Jeddah landed in Hyderabad at its scheduled time of 11.10 am.
When this newspaper contacted sources in Hyderabad airport, they said no other take off or landing was affected by bad weather on Friday morning. They said British Airways flight 276 took off from the city airport at 7:39 am on Friday.

A video of the chaos at Mumbai airport where the passengers demanded proper explanation from the airline officials and arrangement of another flight to ferry them back to Hyderabad has been circulating on the social media on Friday.
08/12/18 Rajeswari Parasa/Deccan Chronicle

Aero India, aviation expo to be merged

For the first time, the country’s civil aviation exhibition will be subsumed into the upcoming edition of Aero India to be held from February 20 to 24, 2019, a defence official said on Friday.

So far, Aero India has been defence-oriented while a separate civil aviation exhibition is held in Hyderabad.

“The 12th edition of the Aero India at Bengaluru next year will feature theme-based activities. On Day 2, there will be a drone competition for start-ups and Day 4 will be women’s day. Indian origin U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams is scheduled to attend the show on Day 4. Other women achievers will also be present,” the official said about the event highlights.

The biennial Aero India began in 1996, and has emerged as the largest aerospace exhibition in Asia. It attracts all major aerospace manufacturers around the globe given India’s large armed forces looking at major modernisation and huge imports. Yelahanka Air Force station in Bengaluru has hosted all the 11 editions so far.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the show and a vintage aircraft rally will be held on one of the days.

The tag line of Aero India 2019 is “Runway for a billion opportunities.” The logo is inspired by the indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas.
08/12/18 Dinakar Peri/The Hindu

PM Modi likely to inaugurate Aero India 2019

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the 12th edition of "Aero India 2019" which will commence from February 20 and will host a number of spectacular events out of which some are going to be held for the very first time. Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams will also attend the aerospace even. "The five-day event which is going to be held in Bengaluru is likely to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Ministry of Defence spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand told media here.
On an inaugural day, there will be CEOs' roundtable to be attended by 15-20 major CEOs, adding that the entire event would be overseen by a Joint Secretary level officer, he said. With a tagline 'Runway to a Billion Opportunities', the mega event will for the first time provide a platform to students to display their projects pertaining to the aviation industry, Anand said. Besides this, on the second day, there will be a special startup on drone Olympics. "The women's day will be held on the fourth day in which Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams will attend. It will also witness participation of more women achievers in the aviation field," said Anand.
08/12/18 ANI/Sify

Flight cancels after anxious passenger opened emergency door

Kochi: A domestic flight had to be rolled back after an anxious passenger opened one of the emergency doors of an aircraft. The aircraft belongs to India’s largest airlines, IndiGo.

Reportedly, one of the passengers in the flight Ashiq Naushad seemed to have gone into a panicky mode after noticing flashes of lights in the aircraft.
Once the emergency door detaches, the aircraft cannot fly before fixing the door back to normalcy. The pilot hence had to bring back the plane to the parking. Later, the 61 passengers from the flight were boarded on other planes.
The Hubballi destined flight took off from Kochi at 4 pm after which the incident took place. An inquiry has been ordered by the Director General of Civil Aviation.
08/12/18 Newsd

Chennai airport contract employee held for helping passenger smuggle gold

Chennai: Customs officials at Chennai international airport on Wednesday night arrested a contractual employee and a passenger who allegedly colluded to smuggle in one kg of gold, worth Rs 32 lakh, and 15 cartons of imported cigarettes, worth Rs 36,000.
The modus operandi was that the passenger would transfer the contraband to the staff in the men’s toilet and later collect it from the parking lot.

Based on a tip off, customs officials kept a close surveillance on the movement of airport staff and other service providers working in the airport bay area, immigration hall and customs arrival hall .

When passengers got down, officers noticed an employee of an airport agency walking in a suspicious manner who was coming from immigration side and going to gents’ toilet in the customs arrival hall.

It was observed that he took unusually long time and as soon as he came out from the toilet he was questioned by the officers. On sustained questioning, he revealed that he had hidden two packets in the toilet in the arrival hall which he had received from a passenger. He was to hand over the same packets to the passenger outside the airport.

He identified the passenger from whom he had received the packet as Rahuman Khan,29, who was apprehended while he was trying to cross the exit gate.

07/12/18 Sidharth Prabhakar/Times of India

Friday, December 07, 2018

Jet’s Goyal ‘taps’ NRI tycoon for investment

Kochi: Jet Airways promoter Naresh Goyal is learned to have approached Abu Dhabi-based NRI billionaire MA Yusuffali for investing in his struggling-to-survive airline. Goyal is also in talks with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad to get the latter to raise its stake in Jet from 24% to anywhere up to 49%.

Jet’s founder needs a partner to meet the norms that a domestic carrier’s substantial ownership and effective control (SOEC) must remain with Indian entities. Yussuffali, the richest Indian billionaire in the Arab world, also known for his proximity to the Abu Dhabi royals, may board Jet Airways only in tandem with Etihad.

“This would be a deal between Etihad and Yusuffali to take charge of the Indian carrier. It must be seen in the context of Etihad’s deal with Goyal,” said a person familiar with the matter.

Etihad has had frosty ties with Goyal after investing $380 million in Jet Airways five years ago.

Etihad doesn’t want the airline to be grounded especially after India’s largest conglomerate Tata, which had evinced interest in a takeover, slowed down negotiations.
On its part, Jet said it “does not comment on speculation”. Yusuffali said: “I have no interest in buying an airline. My focus will be on my core areas of retailing and hospitality, where I will continue to invest.”
However, a person privy to this development said: “Goyal had called up Yusuffali 10 days ago and discussed his buying a strategic share in the airline. They had a detailed conversation. But Yusuffali is apprehensive about investing in an industry that loses so much money.”
07/12/18 Shenoy Karun/Times of India

Jet Airways seeks $350 million soft loan from Etihad

Cash crunched Jet Airways has sought a soft financing of USD 350 million from its investment partner Etihad Airways, as it continues to hold discussions with the latter to offload additional stake in the carrier, an airline source said Thursday.

The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad had come to the rescue of the Naresh Goyal-controlled airline during the earlier downturn too.

In 2013, it had acquired 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways for Rs 2,060 crore, besides extending low-interest loan of USD 150 million as well as purchasing 50.1 per cent stake in its loyalty programme JetPrivilege.

"Jet Airways has sought USD 350 million soft loan from Etihad even as its discussions with the the Gulf carrier continue for selling additional stake," the source privy to development told PTI.

The Middle-Eastern airline has, however, offered to finance as much as USD 200 million, the source said.

"A final decision on the proposal is yet to be taken," the source added.

When contacted, both Jet Airways and Etihad refused to comment on the deal.

"Etihad does not comment on rumour or speculation," an Etihad Airways spokesperson said in an e-mail response to PTI.
06/12/18 PTI/Business Today

India witnessing double digit air travel growth for 50 months in a row: IATA

New Delhi: This October was the 50th month in a row of India posting double-digit growth on a month-on-month basis, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA). October 2018 saw 15 per cent more air travellers in India than same month in previous year. While this was a slowdown from 19.6 per cent in September, the strong upward trend in traffic remains in place, the global agency, it said.
“This is being supported by structural changes, including ongoing rises in living standards, as well as large increases in the number of airport connections within the country,” the trade association representing the world's 290 airlines accounting for 82 per cent of total air traffic said in a statement Thursday.
“Domestic demand climbed 6.4 per cent in October compared to October 2017, unchanged from September, while capacity rose 6.7 per cent… China, India and Russia led all markets with double digit growth, it said.
06/12/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Centre is planning more financial assistance for Air India: Pradeep Kharola, CMD

Debt-laden Air India is gearing up for another round of “financial assistance” from the government as Centre warms up to revive the state carrier, Moneycontrol has learnt.

In an exclusive conversation with Moneycontrol, Pradeep Kharola, chairman and managing director, Air India, said that the government has initiated discussions regarding the same.

“They will give us some financial assistance… The quantum is being discussed as of now,” Kharola said.

Cash starved Air India has been under severe financial stress due to high air turbine fuel (ATF) prices and falling market share. The airline has been bleeding for over a decade and has received support from the government “from time to time”.

Aviation secretary RN Choubey had recently told reporters that the airline was being provided financial assistance “by way of equity and guarantee by the government from time to time”.

“Close to Rs 1,600 crore of equity infusion has been done in the airline so far,” Kharola said.

The government has geared up to revive the airline that sits on accumulated losses of Rs 30,000 crore and has unpaid debt of over Rs 55,000 crore.
06/12/18 Nikita Vashisht/

After initial gusto, Tatas now go slow on Jet deal

Mumbai: Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran, who was the prime driver of a deal to acquire struggling , is believed to have decided to go slow after a few directors in the group holding company expressed reservations at an inconclusive board meeting last Friday.

The board is expected to meet next in the third week of December and these directors have indicated they would like to have more details about the deal by then, according to people close to the development. “You can’t rush into a complex situation that could cost the group up to $2 billion without doing serious homework,” said one of them.

Another person indicated that the board may want a full-blown due diligence report by a reputed firm before taking a call.

While no one in the Tatas is saying the deal is off, there is a sense that Chandrasekaran, who had perhaps hoped for at least an in-principle nod from the board, may now have lost some of his earlier enthusiasm.

There is also a perception that more than the possible pitfalls of such an M&A, it is the fraught history the Tatas have with Jet’s founder Naresh Goyal that may queer the pitch.
Goyal is widely thought to have lobbied behind the scenes to thwart the Tata Group’s attempts to re-enter aviation in alliance with Singapore Airlines (SIA) back in the 1990s and early 2000s. The memory of that still rankles with some old-timers at Bombay House, who aren’t overly keen to “bail out” Goyal.

For Goyal and Jet, a slowdown—or worse, reversal of the acquisition process—would be bad news. The Jet stock, which had soared 40% over the past five days in anticipation of a transaction, fell nearly 7% to close at Rs 323 on Monday. The airline, in which Goyal and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad are the two largest shareholders with 51% and 24% respectively, is staring at financial defaults in the coming days.
06/12/18 Arturo Altman/Fin Examiner

Air India sells 26 properties for Rs 162 crore, bids for Mumbai building likely this month

Debt-laden Air India has generated around Rs 162 crore by selling 26 units in the latest land monetisation drive, said sources familiar with the matter.

The airline had invited bids for over 85 real estate items including residential, commercial land and flats across 16 cities such as Pune, Chennai, Lonavala, Mumbai among others. The advertisement was floated on November 13 and the date for bid closure was December 4.

Air India management has been trying to pare its debt burden by monetising non-core real estate properties.

The national carrier is also likely to invite bids this month for the iconic Air India building at Nariman Point in Mumbai, sources told CNBC-TV18, requesting anonymity.

The property, which currently fetches an annual rental income of around Rs 110 crore for Air India, was earlier being eyed by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust but the discussions did not materialise. In fact, as per senior government officials, the plan to sell was put on hold and discussions on renting out some more floors of the building were under consideration.

However, now with a lot of parties interested in buying the building, Air India has roped in Cushman and Wakefield as its realty consultant and bids are expected to be invited this month.
07/12/18 CNBC TV18

Thrust imbalance preceded Jet 737's excursion at Goa

Indian investigators have determined that a Boeing 737-800 crew did not allow the aircraft’s engines to stabilise their thrust before the twinjet suffered a runway excursion during take-off from Goa.

The aircraft, operated by Jet Airways and bound for Mumbai, had lined up on runway 26 after backtracking and performing a 180° turn.

India’s accident inquiry committee states that the crew advanced the thrust levers to the 40% setting.
But while the left-hand engine was running at 40% of N1, the right-hand one had only reached 28% when the captain commanded full take-off thrust.

This failure to allow the CFM International CFM56 engines to stabilise led to a thrust imbalance as the aircraft accelerated.

“As soon as [full thrust was commanded] the aircraft started drifting towards [the] right,” says the inquiry into the 27 December 2016 event.

Within 10-12s the aircraft departed the paved surface and the crew attempted to brake and use rudder and nose-wheel steering to correct its course.

The jet left the runway and turned in a wide right-hand arc, eventually coming to rest facing the opposite direction and 219m from the edge of the runway.

It collided with a path-indicator lamp as well as a 2.3m pillar during the excursion, and the aircraft suffered substantial engine, undercarriage and fuselage damage.

Sixteen of the 145 occupants, all passengers, suffered minor injuries, notably during the evacuation.
07/12/18 David Kaminski-Morrow/FlightGlobal

Air India launches new nonstop New York JFK-Mumbai flight

Air India will start a new nonstop flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Mumbai on December 7. The thrice-a-week direct flight will fly on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. The flight will depart JFK at 11:05 am and arrive in Mumbai the next day at 12:10 pm.

A cake cutting ceremony for the inaugural AI105 was held at the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on Thursday. The cake was cut by Mukesh Bhatia, the Western Region Director of Air India.

The New York-New Jersey area has the largest Indian American population in the nation.

The airline will use Boeing 777-300ER, which can carry more than 340 passengers, in the sector.
06/12/18 American Bazaar

GoAir to launch services to Kannur from Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad

Chennai: GoAir on Thursday announced launch flight operations to its 24th domestic destination, Kannur.
The airline will operate services from Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru to Kannur starting December 9, 2018, coinciding with the launch of the newly commissioned International Airport in Kannur.

There will be direct daily flights connecting Bengaluru six times weekly, Hyderabad four times weekly and Chennai three times weekly.

The airline plans to also commence its international operations from Kannur shortly post regulatory approvals.

On the occasion of the launch, GoAir will operate a special flight between Delhi and Kannur to facilitate guest movement.

Cornelis Vrieswijk, CEO, GoAir, said, “Kannur is a key market and a significant base for business and tourism in the region. Adding Kannur with its ideal geographical location, we reinforce our commitment towards enhancing connectivity across the country. It is our constant endeavour to provide flexibility of choice to our customers along with on time, convenient and affordable flying experience. ”
06/12/18 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Be prepared for Jet Airways version 5.0

While Jet Airways is undergoing tough times, one thing I got to hand to them is the fact that they’ve still been in business for over 25 years. Roughly first fifteen years on their own terms, and then on others terms though.

Jet Airways 1.0 was the original Jet Airways which became the talk of the town for all the right reasons. Launched by Naresh Goyal himself, it went on to set a high bar of hospitality and got people to switch from Air India (Indian Airlines then).

Jet Airways 2.0 existed roughly between 2006 and 2009, where Jet Airways acquired Air Sahara, turned it into JetLite, and launched JetKonnect. There were three variants of Jet Airways in the air, and you got some features on some aircraft and some others on flights. They even code-shared with arch-rival Kingfisher Airlines for a while. Passenger amenities such as meals on board were cut as well.

Jet Airways 3.0 was the carrier selling a part of their equity and majority of the JetPrivilege programme to Etihad and participating in Etihad Airways Partners (EAP). They launched a slew of flights to Abu Dhabi, which would transfer passengers on Etihad. Eventually, EAP fizzled out, so much so that they quietly removed all the Etihad branding from all of Jet Airways marketing collateral. The multitude of flights to Abu Dhabi waned too.

Jet Airways 4.0 was the airline coming back on their feet to claim their position as a full-service network carrier. Domestically, they launched a lot of new flights to new stations, refreshed their in-flight offering, brought in new aircraft (the 737 MAX), focused on the passenger experience with new in-flight entertainment system and so on.

Internationally, the airline moved their European hub from Brussels to Amsterdam. They also got into a deep partnership with KLM/Air France/Delta/Virgin Atlantic to bring people from India to the US and other parts of Europe and America.

Jet Airways 5.0 is in the making right now. And it is not much different from Jet Airways 2.0. Jet Airways is progressively restructuring their network, which means a lot of flights are being cut down and a lot of stations being closed for the moment. Point to point flights to the Middle-East are being reworked for hub operations via Mumbai and Delhi.

A huge cut has been made on passenger amenities too for economy class passengers. Meals are being taken away from most of the economy passengers. Come January, you would only get a meal in economy class on a domestic flight if you are flying the highest fare family tickets or a corporate fare, or a JetPrivilege Gold or Platinum member. Most economy class passengers are also going to miss lounge access which was a given as a perk for their frequent business with the airline.

Essentially, from being a full-service network carrier, which meant you could connect on flights with joined tickets, interline between airlines and expect to earn miles and meals on your flights, Jet Airways is now going to be just a network carrier. You can still access their network of airline partners and use them to travel abroad or domestically and earn miles, but a lot of the onus has shifted on you, the passenger, to take care of yourself.
07/12/18 Ajay Awtaney/CNBC TV18

Vijay Mallya says he didn't borrow single rupee, it was Kingfisher Airlines

New Delhi: On Wednesday, fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya posted a flurry of tweets reiterating that he has been offering to repay the entire loan since 2016. Mallya who owes money to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore to various banks defended himself by asking why does he not get fair treatment and why doesn't his comprehensive settlement offer hear the same "loud noise".

Mallya, who appeared rather on edge, carried on the tirade on Twitter the next day as well. Mallya has been retweeting posts by media houses and has been repeating that he only wants to repay the loan and that he never stole money.

Quoting one such tweet, Mallya said, "With respect where have I defrauded Banks? I did not borrow a single rupee. The borrower was Kingfisher Airlines. Money was lost due to a genuine and sad business failure. Being held as guarantor is not fraud (sic)."
Mallya also stressed that his extradition has nothing to do with his loan. "Respectfully to all commentators, I cannot understand how my extradition decision or the recent extradition from Dubai and my settlement offer are linked in any way. Wherever I am physically,my appeal is "Please take the money". I want to stop the narrative that I stole money (sic)," he said.

"Sadly the media creates its own narrative. I have been making settlement offers since 2016 which were rejected without any dialogue as requested in mid 2018 I finally made an offer before the Karnataka High Court.Unconnected to extradition," Mallya added.
07/12/18 Business Today

Indian MRO Business To Get Regional Boost

India’s initiative to connect Tier 2 and 3 airports under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) appears likely to provide a boost to the fledgling maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) industry in India. The RCS, which offers incentives to airlines flying to underserved and remote destinations, has expanded with flights connecting 49 airports and 31 helipads in its first two phases. The RCS has opened 325 routes to 15 airlines and helicopter operators to include 23 new airports and 31 helipads. 

According to the MRO Association of India, 75 percent of domestic carriers’ MRO work happens abroad. Now, with the RCS opening international routes to neighboring countries, further opportunities will open for international carriers for MRO as well, said Ministry of Civil Aviation economic advisor Vandana Aggarwal at the AeroMRO summit held in Delhi on December 5 and 6.

As growing domestic traffic congests larger Indian airports, up-and-coming airports will provide a haven for MRO facilities once the RCS results in more traffic, Vishok Mansingh, director of Mumbai-based consultancy CAV Aero, told AIN. “Meanwhile, line maintenance services also will be enhanced as private third-party providers set up shop at the smaller airports,” he said. “This will save airlines cost as trained personnel sign off flights.” Presently, an engineer accompanies an aircraft or has to travel by road to smaller airports for line maintenance, particularly for ATRs and smaller aircraft. That squanders time and a paying seat on the aircraft, he added. Mansingh said as aircraft movements to smaller airports increase, he could visualize heavier maintenance and component facilities opening thanks to better availability and more compelling economics than at metropolitan airports.
06/12/18 Neelam Mathews/AINonline

Jet airways to withdraw services from many routes within NE

Guwahati: Air connectivity in the Northeast India will be hit with Jet Airways, a private airline, deciding to withdraw its flights to Jorhat, Silchar, Aizawl and Imphal from February 10, 2019.
The second-largest airline of India recently undertook a series of initiatives to reorganise its operation keeping an eye on profitability factor. As part of the initiative to move capacity from uneconomical routes to more profitable ones, they have decided to withdraw flight services to these four places of the Northeast India, an official said.
Due to various challenges the aviation industry is facing against the backdrop of a sharp rise in Brent fuel price, a depreciating rupee and a difficult pricing environment, Jet Airways have taken steps to improve its productivity and efficiency so that it continues to be one of the leading airlines of the country.
06/12/18 UNI

MH370 theory: Data analysis points to new probable crash site

The most extensive search in aviation history has failed to find Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 after it mysteriously diverted course on March 8, 2014. Now an engineer at a top Danish university has claimed we’ve been looking in the wrong place.

He has come up with a possible new flight plan that conforms with the data we have. And it looks nothing like those that guided search efforts before.

Professor Martin Kristensen, an engineer at Aarhaus University in Denmark, has published a new mathematical analysis of MH370’s radar and satellite data.
We know that instead of heading north to Vietnam, flight MH370 deviated to the east. It was tracked by military radar until it passed out of range into the Andaman Sea, apparently headed towards India.

From this point, only the ‘handshake’ calls to the Inmarsat 3F1 satellite sitting above the Indian Ocean reveal the Boeing was still in the air.

The fractional time difference between when the ‘handshake’ was sent, and when it was received by Inmarsat, offered investigators a clue. That time gap revealed how far the aircraft was from the satellite at the time it was made.
But little more.

So each of the hourly calls allowed a planet-spanning circle to be plotted, with the Inmarsat at its centre. MH370 was somewhere on those circles at the time each signal was received.

The vast bulk of the circle could be eliminated through simple math: how far along each arc could the aircraft — flying at its maximum speed and within the range of the fuel it carried — have been capable of reaching in the time since its last confirmed position?

Problem is, each of the seven recorded ‘handshakes’ produced a broader and broader range of possibilities.

However, most of these could also be eliminated.

Those arcs extended over land and populated areas — also covered by civilian and commercial radars. MH370 hadn’t been detected along any of these paths.

Which is why investigators plotted possible tracks that took the Boeing 777 out to sea.

But the ‘handshakes’ held one more clue.

It’s called ‘Doppler shift’.

It’s the minuscule ‘stretching’ of a signal as its source moves towards or away from the receiver.
The Doppler shift reveals the relative velocity of MH370 and Inmarsat at the time each ‘handshake’ was made. And the satellite was in an orbit that kept it almost stationary over the Indian Ocean.

Once again, it’s not a smoking gun.

There’s a broad range of relative velocities that can be produced by an aircraft flying at different angles, at different speeds.

But it does offer another set of boundaries within which MH370 must have followed.

It all comes down to probabilities.

And that’s where Kristensen comes in.

He built a mathematical model that takes into account all of these limiting elements.

His argument is that MH370 can only have gone down where the boundaries of speed, fuel, ‘handshake’ signals and doppler shift all ‘overlap’.

Two of these could immediately be dismissed.

One was over India. The other China. Both would have taken the Boeing through radar and mobile phone networks. And neither site would produced the debris found washed up on Indian Ocean shores.

A third location conforms with the area already searched. But, despite two extensive — and expensive — searches, no trace of the aircraft has been found there.

But the fourth probable site has not been investigated.

“Our best solution leads to an entirely different location agreeing with other data from debris, acoustics and an eyewitness report, providing a clear conclusion where to find the plane,” Kristensen said.
”We find four independent solutions with the final part of the flight following a great circle,” his research paper declares.
The final patch of the Earth’s surface which lines up with all of MH370’s flight parameters sits in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of Australia’s Christmas Island.

It seems counterintuitive.

To get there, MH370 must have done an abrupt U-turn in the Bay of Bengal, and then flown along the south coast of Indonesia.

“We propose instead a new, focused search zone of 3500 km2 centred at (13.279˚ South, 106.964˚ East) with slightly elliptical shape along the 7th arc and a total length of 140km and width of 30km,” Kristensen’s report reads.

“The probability of finding the plane there is above 90 per cent”.
07/12/18 Jamie Seidel/