Sunday, January 19, 2020

Karnataka to get four new airports in the next two years: Aviation Secretary

Bengaluru has the potential to become the aviation capital of the country, said Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola on Friday at the Wings India Summit, organised by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Bidar will be the next operational airport and is expected to start operations on January 26. The first flight will be from Bidar to Bengaluru.

“We have airports in all directions of the State now. A couple of months ago, the Gulbarga (Kalaburagi) airport was made operational. Aviation has become an engine of economic growth,” the secretary said at the summit.

The aviation secretary further said that five airports will become operational in Karnataka in the next two years — Vijayapura, Shivamogga, Karwar, Chikkamagaluru and Bidar.

“We have operationalised nearly 40 airports in the last five years and the target in the next five years is to double the number of operational airports and helipads in the country,” the aviation secretary further said.

Kapil Mohan, the Principal Secretary of Infrastructure Development told the Hindu that a Gulbarga Airport Development Authority is being considered. “We launched the Kalaburagi airport with the Airports Authority of India, and the response has been very good. To improve regional connectivity, there will be developments regarding Vijayapura, Shivamogga, Karwar, Hassan or Chikkamagluru airports in the next two years,” he said.

The state government has proposed to complete airport projects in Vijayapura, Shivamogga, Karwar and Chikkamagaluru over the next two years, as Kapil Mohan, Principal Secretary of the State Infrastructure Development Department informed.

These new airports are part of the Centre’s UDAN scheme. 13 flights will be operating out of Belagavi. TruJet has already started flight operations from Belagavi to Tirupati, Mysuru and Hyderabad daily. Flights operate to destinations such as Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Jodhpur and others.

Nok Air suspends Guwahati-Bangkok flight service

Guwahati:  Nok Air suspended its bi-weekly Guwahati-Bangkok flight service from Sunday as it was not getting the desired number of passengers.

“…Looking at the current situation of market demand, we are temporarily suspending our flights from the 19th of January and will resume operations from the 12th of April 2020, with a new flight schedule,” the airlines said in a statement.

“…We are appreciative of your support and we believe immensely in this market. This period has been of immense learning and we value all the suggestions which are valuable and needed attention,” the statement said.

This was the only international fight that originated from Guwahati.

A subsidiary of Thai Airways International, Nok Air had launched the service with much fanfare on September 21 last year.
19/01/20 New Indian Express

Wings India 2020 from March 12 to 15 in Hyderabad

Billed as Asia's largest exposition on civil aviation, Wings India 2020 will come alive at Hyderabad's
Begumpet airport from March 12 to 15. Besides static displays of commercial, business, regional
and cargo aircra, the event will also see CEOs forum, conferences and more.
But the focus will also be on business. Over the next 20 years, Indian companies are estimated to
acquire 2,100 new aircra worth the US $ 290 billion.
“Three hundred business jets, 300 small aircra and 250 helicopters are expected to be added to
the current fleet of Indian carriers in the next five years,” informs the Union Civil Aviation Ministry.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has estimated that by 2022, the Indian aviation market will be
third largest globally, aer the United States and China. By 2040, the passenger traic will grow
from 315 million to 1.1 billion, as AAI Member (Operations) I N Murthy informed at a promotional
event for Wings India 2020 here on Saturday.
AAI, he said, will invest US$ 3.5 billion over the next five years in airports and other related
infrastructure. The land requirement is about 1.5 lakh hectares.
19/01/20 Deccan Herald

Flu fear: Mumbai Airport to do thermal scanning of passengers coming from China

New Delhi: All passengers flying into Mumbai from China will have to undergo a thermal screening “as a matter of precaution”, due to the outbreak of pneumonia caused by Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan city of Hubei province. Airport health officials (APHO) teams at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) have activated a health counter and thermal scanners at the pre-immigration area for arriving passengers.
Mumbai currently has two airlines — Air China and Rwand Air — with flights to and from China.
“The airport has now expanded its existing passenger safety measures in compliance with the latest directive given by the World Health Organization (WHO) in case if any traveler is detected with the symptom. The concerned passenger will be immediately shifted to the isolation hospital earmarked for CSMIA on advice of the APHO team. The airport will share a daily report with the ministry on the scanning of passengers,” a statement issued by CSMIA said.
“As reported by Chinese authorities, this is a new type of coronavirus and is different from all other human coronaviruses. WHO has reported symptoms such as fever, difficulty in breathing and chest radiographs showing bilateral lung infiltrates as the cause of the pneumonia,” it added.
18/01/20 Times of India

Japan to UK: Vistara plans to double ports of call in 2020

New Delhi: With 5 years of operations under its belt, Tata Group-Singapore Airlines backed passenger carrier -- Vistara -- plans to double its international ports of call in 2020.

In an interaction with IANS, Vistara''s Chief Executive Leslie Thng said the airline plans to double the number of international destinations that it connects with India.

At present, the airline operates to Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok and Colombo and will commence services to Kathmandu.

However, long-haul flights will only start after the airline inducts the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The aircraft is expected to enter the airline''s service by February.

The airline plans to commence flights to Europe and northeast Asia which also depends upon the receipt of regulatory clearances.

When asked about the airline''s plans for destinations in China, Japan or South Korea, Thng said that these will depend upon the flying time and regulatory clearances, nonetheless, he did not deny the passenger carrier''s interest in these stations.

"We feel that an Indian carrier to destinations in Japan can provide quality service which will be sought after. There are potential destinations in northeast Asia," he told IANS.

Vistara had inaugurated international operations in August 2019 with Singapore as its first destination, followed by Dubai and Bangkok.

In addition, the airline plans to commence direct services to one of the airports near London.

From February, the airline will start services to Nepal by operating a daily flight between Delhi and Kathmandu.
19/01/20 IANS/Outlook

Goa's 2nd international airport in Mopa to be ready in 3 years: CAPA

 Mumbai, Jan 19 (PTI) Aviation consultancy firm CAPA has said it expects the second international airport in Goa to be ready for operations in next three years.
The Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the decks for construction of an international airport by the GMR Group at Mopa in North Goa by lifting suspension on environmental clearance (EC) granted for the project.

Immediately after SC''s order, the GMR Group said it plans to start work soon for the new aerodrome.

The top court had early last year suspended the EC granted for the greenfield airport and had directed the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) to revisit the decision in light of its impact on the ecology there.

"Delays in critical infrastructure projects is costly for the economy and the consumer. It is good that GMR Group''s Mopa project finally got clearance. We can look forward to new airport in next three years," CAPA South Asia Chief Executive Officer Kapil Kaul told PTI.

The state government had initially given September 2020 as the deadline for commissioning of the estimated Rs 3,000 crore airport project after GMR Group won bids for development and operations of the aerodrome in 2016, beating state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Essel Infra-Incheon.

However, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said in the Assembly last year that he was expecting the airport to be completed by 2021.

Kaul also said that the the delay is likely to push up the project cost, but its impact could be minimised.
19/01/20 PTI/Outlook

Swedish woman detained at Kochi Airport for carrying demonetised notes amounting to Rs 51,500

Kochi:  Demonetised currency notes are still a headache for enforcement agencies. A 56-year-old Swedish woman in possession of invalid notes amounting to Rs 51,500 was detained at the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) last Tuesday.

Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel detected 49 old Rs 1,000 currency notes and five Rs 500 notes during the baggage screening at the airport. According to the airport authorities, there have been a few such incidents at the airport after the demonetisation in November 2016. If detected, a case is
registered under IPC Section 489 C (possession of forged or counterfeit currency notes) and section 7 of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017.

"The Swedish woman had visited India in 2014 and the currency notes have been in her possession since then. She was not aware of the demonetisation,” said M S Faizal, sub-inspector, Nedumbassery police station. She paid a fine of Rs 2.5 lakh at the First Class Judicial Magistrate court, at Angamaly before leaving for Colombo on Saturday.

A case was registered as per the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017. According to the officers, the Act prohibits possession of more than 10 pieces of the old notes by individuals and more than 25 pieces for study, research or numismatics purpose. An offence under the Act attracts a fine of
Rs 10,000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.
19/01/20 New Indian Express

Belagavi, Hubballi among 5 busiest UDAN airports

Belagavi and Hubballi airports have emerged as two of the five busiest airports countrywide,
commenced under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, UDAN. Prayagraj, Kishangarh and
Jharsuguda are the other busy airports under UDAN that has helped 35 lakh passengers fly till

Ten airports, including Belagavi and Kalaburagi, were operationalised under the scheme in 2019
till December 7. Of these, four airports were underserved and six unserved, a top Civil Aviation
Ministry oicial said on the sidelines of a meet linked to Wings India 2020.

In all, 134 routes were operationalised and 335 routes awarded under the scheme, covering 33
airports. A total of Rs 304.49 crore was spent for upgrading existing and new airports from April to
November, 2019. Karnataka will figure prominently in UDAN’s plans for the immediate future.
The state government has proposed to complete airport projects in Vijayapura, Shivamogga,
Karwar and Chikkamagaluru over the next two years, as Kapil Mohan, Principal Secretary of the
State Infrastructure Development Department informed.
The projects will be kickstarted through public-private partnership with active involvement of the
Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other stakeholders.
19/01/20 Rasheed Kappan/Deccan Herald

India set to trigger revival of global aviation sector: ISRO director

“Over the last decade, India has witnessed a robust civil aviation market, and through ‘Wings India 2020’ we aim to provide a congenial forum that will cater to the rapidly changing dynamics of the sector, focusing on new business acquisitions, investments, policy formation and regional connectivity,” said Pradeep Singh Kharola, Union Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Kharola, taking part in the road show for ‘Wings India 2020’ — a civil aviation event, said “Bengaluru being the IT capital of India, it has the potential of becoming the aviation capital of India.”

Wings India 2020, a flagship event of India’s civil aviation industry will be held at Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad, from March 12 to 15. The four-day event themed “Flying for All” is an international platform focused on new business acquisitions, investments, policy formation and regional connectivity in the civil aviation industry.
Wings India 2020 is also Asia’s largest and most popular gathering in the industry. Organised jointly by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, AAI and FICCI, the event is expected to attract top leaders, special invitees from foreign countries in civil aviation sector, global CEOs, suppliers, strategic partners, organisations and the media.

Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair, Director, Human Space Flight Centre, ISRO, said, “India is set to trigger revival of the global aviation sector. The civil aviation and space industry together will have a world-class training facility for pilots and astronauts. We are sure that the exhibition for aviation as well as space fraternity is a platform to develop new growth spots that can be targeted to ensure a positive curve."
18/01/20 Anil Urs/Business Line

DGCA shocker to drone operators

Hyderabad: A notification from the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) comes as a shocker to scores of civil drone operators making a killing in both the Telugu states ahead of the hectic marriage season. Civil drones are much in demand in several cities across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh during the wedding season for drone shootings of marriages.
 According to SN Sastri from Visakhapatnam, who performs weddings in different parts of Telugu states said that there are around 50 auspicious Muhartams from January 15 to the end of June, this year. The number of days for performing marriages are more in February, March and May. "Mostly, I travel across towns and cities like Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Naraspuram, Bhimavaram, Eluru, and Vijayawada in AP.
Occasionally, I travel to Tirupati and Hyderabad. I see the trend of using drones. It is more predominant in places like Visakhapatnam. But, as per the DGCA sources, the number of civil drones flying in the skies in violation of the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) is more than the number registered. It was against this backdrop that the Civil Aviation Ministry and the DGCA have decided to provide a onetime voluntary disclosure scheme. This is to facilitate the identification of civil drones and drone operators.
A senior official, DGCA, Chennai, told The Hans India, "Those voluntarily coming to disclose their details need not bother about the conditions of NPNT, as enlisted in the CAR and they are not mandatory for purpose of registration under this scheme." The reports reaching the DGCA field offices of air safety points that there is an indiscriminate usage of the non-compliant drones flying, sometimes in the vicinities of the airports. "A noncompliant civil drone appearing on the radars of an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) gives tense movements since it poses a problem to the safety of air traffic," the official said.
19/01/20 VRC Phaniharan/Hans India

Karnataka: UDAN scheme to take wing at Bidar, 4 more airports

Bengaluru: Bidar's will be the next airport to be operationalised in Karnataka under the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) Regional Connectivity Scheme. The first flight operation is expected to begin within a few weeks at Bidar airport, ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) officials said here on Saturday.
Five airports across Karnataka are expected to become operational in two years' time. These include the Vijayapura, Shivamogga, Karwar, Hassan/Chikamagalur airports, besides the Bidar one.
The announcement was made by Union civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola. " Bengaluru has the potential to become the aviation capital of India. We now have airports in all directions in Karnataka. Response to the Kalaburagi airport that was operationalised a few months ago has been extremely good," he said. The work of other four UDAN airports will be taken up in collaboration with various agencies and the Airports Authority of India, under public-private partnership.
19/01/20 Swathy R Iyer/Times of India

AAI signs an MoU with Govt of Himachal Pradesh for a greenfield airport at Nagchala

Government of Himachal Pradeshhad expressed their interest to Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India for construction of a Greenfield Airport at Nagchala near Mandi. Initially, the airport will be suitable for operation of aircraft up to ATR 72.

The development of the Greenfield Airport withunidirectional runway will be implemented through a Joint Venture Company (“JVC”) wherein AAI will hold 51% equity and the remaining 49% equity will be held by the GoHP or its designated agency.

The JVC will undertake the functions of designing, developing, constructing and completion of the Airport (“Project”) including finance, for commercial civil aviation operation as well as undertake operation, maintenance, management of the Airport in accordance with the terms and conditions of the MOU.

AAI will soon incorporate a JVC under Companies Act, 2013 and will also execute a Joint Venture Agreement and Shareholders Agreement with GoHPand Communication, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (CNS / ATM) Agreement with JVC.
19/01/20 Free Press Journal

India May Build Its Own Carrier-Based Jet

The Indian military is envisioning a twin-engine version of its land-based Tejas lightweight fighter. The new jet, which could be deployed by 2032, would replace India’s Russian-made MiG-29K carrier-based fighters. India currently has one carrier, the Vikramaditya, and is building a second. An Indian Navy contract calls for fifty-seven jets, with one candidate being Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

But the prospects for an Indian-built carrier fighter were heightened when the Indian Ministry of Defense announced that a prototype, single-engine naval version of the Tejas made an arrested landing (see the video here) aboard the Vikramaditya in January 2020. The twin-engine design, called the Navy Twin Engine Deck Based fighter, is still in the conceptual stage.

“Weighing 23 tonnes, the Navy Twin Engine Deck Based fighter would be significantly larger than the 13.5 ton Tejas Mk-1 fighter which has entered squadron service with the Indian Air Force and the 17.5 ton Tejas Mk-2 which is meant to be inducted into the Indian Air Force from 2030,” according to India’s NDTV television network.
19/01/20 Defence Aviation  Post

Air India unions to demand voluntary retirement scheme in Monday meeting

Mumbai: Air India trade unions are likely to demand a VRS package at their second meeting with Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri in New Delhi on Monday. The minister is set to meet over a dozen Air India unions, including unrecognised ones, on Monday for the second time in a month over the airline's privatisation plans.

The government is planning to float Expression of Interest (EoI) for selling its entire 100 per cent stake in the loss-making flag carrier some time next week. ..
At the first meeting on January 2, the minister had made it clear that privatisation was the only option before the government to keep the airline afloat and sought employees cooperation in carrying out the disinvestment process.
Puri had also told the unions that he will call them again after the meeting of the ministerial panel on Air India disinvestment.
"Initially, we were told that government would protect our jobs if airline gets privatised and therefore we did not think about voluntary retirement.
"But off late, our members have been approaching us and want us to discuss a voluntary retirement scheme package with the government as it is expected that our job will be protected only for one year post privatisation. We are going to raise this issue at the meeting with the minister on Monday," an airline source told .
19/01/20 PTI/Economic Times

This Indian carrier is the world’s 5th safest airline

According to airline safety and product review portal, India’s IndiGo is the world’s safest low-cost carrier for 2020 after Air Arabia (UAE), Flybe (UK), Frontier (US), and HK Express (Hong Kong). The other five in the list are JetBlue (US), Volaris (Mexico), Vueling (Spain), Westjet (Canada), and Wizz (Hungary).
The annual rating of airlines is based on a range of factors including “audits from aviation’s governing and industry bodies, government audits, airline’s crash and serious incident record, profitability, industry-leading safety initiatives, and fleet age,” according to the portal. IndiGo is given seven out of seven-star safety rating and four out of five-star product rating.
IndiGo — India’s largest airline has over 250 planes in its kitty and has a market share of over 47 per cent. DGCA has given the carrier more time to replace the Pratt & Whitney engines fitted to its Airbus A320neo planes which have been linked to in-flight engine shutdowns, PTI reported citing a statement by DGCA. The watchdog had asked the airline in November to replace the engines by January 31 after four incidents of in-flight engine shutdowns within a week caused “serious concern”.
The safety rating depends on IATA operational safety audit certification, not blacklisted by European Union, maintaining fatality-free record for the past 10 years, the US Federal Aviation Authority’s endorsement, meeting eight safety parameters by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and whether it has been grounded by the respective country’s aviation authority for safety issues. The product rating, on the other hand, hinges on personal in-flight entertainment, cabin space and comfort, beverages, food and seat recline.
19/01/20 Financial Express

Senior Air India Pilot, Found Guilty Of Sexual Harassment, Reinstated

New Delhi: A senior Air India pilot, who was suspended in May last year after being accused of sexual harassment by a woman colleague, has been reinstated, senior officials said.
The airline's internal complaints committee imposed a "major penalty" on Captain Sachin Gupta, who has now appealed against the punishment, they said. "The Internal Complaints Committee of Air India conducted an inquiry and found Captain Sachin Gupta guilty of misconduct," PS Negi, Air India's Regional Director told news agency PTI.
"In keeping with service regulations, Captain Sachin Gupta has now appealed to the Chairman and Managing Director against the punishment awarded. The said appeal on merit will be examined and considered by the competent appellate authority in due course of time," he added.
Another senior Air India official told PTI that Sachin Gupta has been "reinstated as instructor".
Air India had suspended Sachin Gupta last year over the sexual harassment allegations, telling him that "pending enquiry, he would not enter Air India premises without written permission".
The woman, who had been training under Sachin Gupta in Hyderabad, said he asked her if she would go out for dinner with him.
"We went to a restaurant at around 8 pm and this is where my ordeal started.... He started with telling me how depressed and unhappy he was in his married life," the woman said in her complaint.
"He also asked me how I coped with my husband living away and if I didn't need to have sex every day. He asked me if I masturbated. At one point I told him I did not want to talk about all this and called a cab," she added.
"I was left shocked at this behaviour and felt extremely uncomfortable, scared and humiliated," she said.
19/01/20 PTI/NDTV

Air India to cancel Indore-Dubai flight for 3 months from February

Runway repair work at the AAI-managed Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar International airport has forced the flag carrier Air India to cancel its Dubai flight from the city for three months, starting February 1, a source said on Saturday.

The airline, however, said it is taking "necessary steps" to ensure the flight continues to operate as per its schedule.
The national carrier operates from Indore a daily non-stop service to Dubai and back.

In a statement on Saturday, Air India chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani said the airline is in "consultation" with Airports Authority of India on this issue.

"Due to runway repair work at Indore airport, Air India's Dubai-Indore flight is getting affected," Lohani said.

"The airline (is) in consultation with airports Authority of India (on this issue) and is taking necessary steps to ensure the continuance of this flight," he added.

According to a source, the national carrier has been forced to cancel its Dubai-Indore and connecting Indore-Delhi flight for three months, starting February 1 due to the runway repair work.

However, since the repair work is to be carried out during the night time, the Indore-Dubai flight, which departs in day time, will continue to operate as per schedule, he said.
18/01/20 PTI/Business Standard

Alliance Air to operate 40-minute flight for special children on Wednesday

Mumbai: Air India's regional arm Alliance Air said on Sunday it will fly a group of "children with special needs" on board its ATR aircraft over Bhubaneshwar skies on Wednesday.

There will be a total of 44 such children, selected by a Bhubaneswar-based NGO, on the "Dream Flight", comprising 21 girls and 23 boys with 19 escorts, the airline said in a release.

Alliance Air will take these junior flyers on a 40-minute long ‘Dream Flight' within Bhubaneshwar, it added.

Almost all children are from the urban poor areas of Bhubaneshwar and a few from a local tribal village Baripada, it said.
19/01/20 PTI/New Indian Express

Esha Gupta blasts AirAsia for changing arrival of flight without information. Calls them disgusting

New Delhi: From having horrible experience with cabin crew to the airline providing bad services onboard, flight horror stories can leave anyone shaken and furious. And seems even celebrities are not safe from such incidents.

Bollywood actress, Esha Gupta took to her Twitter recently to call out an airline for their horrible service. Esha yesterday slammed AirAsia on her Twitter account for changing its arrival terminal without even informing the passengers.
She tweeted, "How can an airline change its arrival without informing the passengers, only to realise which terminal they land in Mumbai? @AirAsia disgusting."

Esha was travelling to Mumbai, when the incident took place. She even tagged AirAsia in her tweet, but at the time of writing this article, the airline had not replied to the actress.

After Esha posted about her experience online, one of her followers also criticised the airline saying, "They stay silent at airport and @AirAsia silently escapes."

This is not the first time though that a Bollywood celebrity took to Twitter to call out an airline for bad service. Recently, even Sonam Kapoor, who was travelling to London, slammed British Airways for losing her luggage for the third time.
19/01/20 India Today

Single agency for inline baggage screening at Kolkata airport

Kolkata: The airport operator in Kolkata has taken control of screening of checked-in baggage for international flights and will soon take over the operation in the domestic wing as well once the inline X-Ray baggage inspection system (XBIS) is operational.

Till recently, security team of state-owned airline Air India screened the registered baggage of passengers boarding flights of international carriers while Indian carriers do the screening for their passengers in both international and domestic wing.

AAI Cargo Logistics & Allied Services Co Ltd (AAICLAS) has already recruited 87 screeners and the first batch has already been deployed after training at standalone X-Ray portals to screen passenger bags at the international airport.

“At airports that are equipped with Inline XBIS, screening of check-in baggages is the responsibility of the airport operator. Technically, the scanning of check-in baggages through inline system has to be operated by a single agency. AAI has therefore made arrangements by providing screeners through AAICLAS. Once inline XBIS is operational at the airport next month, AAICLS will take over the entire check-in baggage screening operation in Kolkata,” an official at Kolkata airport said.
Once inline XBIS is operational, passengers will no longer have to stand at a separate queue to get their checked-in bag screened before depositing them at the check-in counters. This often leads to an additional 15-30 minutes in queue before reporting at the check-in desk that closes 45 minutes before a flight departure.
19/01/20 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India

Lucknow: Man duped of 7 lakh in name of job in Air India

Lucknow: An unemployed postgraduate man was duped of Rs 5 lakh on the pretext of a clerical job in Air India by a man who claimed to be an officer in the company.
The man lodged an FIR of cheating at Gomtinagar police station on Friday evening.
Vinay Khand resident Manish Kumar Yadav, who has a commerce degree, said he had been applying for government and private jobs but could not get success.
In 2017, a man named Sunil Kumar Bhardwaj met him, claiming to be a senior officer at Air India. He offered Yadav a clerical job but demanded Rs 7 lakh from him.
Yadav "convinced" Bhardwaj to seal the deal for Rs 5 lakh. He gave Bhardwaj Rs 3 lakh in cash and Rs 2 lakh through bank transactions and began waiting for an appointment letter. For two years, Bhardwaj remained in contact with Yadav, telling him he would get a letter soon. However, recently, he had started ignoring his calls and messages. Yadav asked him to return his money but Bhardwaj blocked his number.
19/01/20 Times of India

Domestic cargo terminal at Surat airport to be inaugurated on January 29

Surat: Airports Authority of India (AAI) will inaugurate its domestic cargo terminal (DCT) at Surat airport on January 29.
Airlines operating from domestic terminal including SpiceJet, IndiGo and Air India will be handling cargo operations through the DCT.
Keku Bomi Gazder, chief executive officer of AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Service Limited (AAICLAS), told TOI, “Opening of Surat DCT fulfils a long-cherished dream of trade in Surat, which will now have an access to world-class cargo facility.”
Gazder added, “We are inaugurating the DCT on January 29. As one of the fastest growing cities in India, we expect trade in Surat to take full advantage of our terminal and use its facilities to connect various points in India and rest of the world. With the opening of the terminal, AAICLAS once again delivers an opportunity for growth and expansion of trade in western India.”
AAI sources said DCT, built at a cost of Rs8 crore, is a steel-based structure constructed on land between Air Traffic Control (ATC) and terminal building. The ground base of the cargo is 1,000 square metre and the first floor will have the same size. The cargo terminal has cold storage facility for export of perishable items, strong room etc.
19/01/20 Times of India

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Over 1,000 drones registered in 2 days, deadline ends January 31

Over a 1,000 drones have been registered on the government portal in the last two days as drone owners rush to avoid penalty. India has notified that all kind of drone operators need to register themselves on the Digital Sky platform of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) till January 31.

The deadline for drone registration was set the government noticed several drone operators and drones without the mandatory Unique Identification Number, Unnamed Aircraft Operator Permit and other operational requirements.

The government has provided for a “one-time” voluntary disclosure as has clarified that the condition of No-Permission-No-Takeoff is not mandatory for this purpose.

Drone operators can visit and obtain a drone acknowledgement number and an ownership acknowledgement number which will help in the validation of their drone operations.

Further (beyond January 31), ownership of drone(s) in India without a valid DAN or OAN shall invite penal action as per applicable laws. This database will be used to process each case as per the regulations by seeking further information,” the civil aviation ministry has said.

Any clarification can also be sought from

In India, usage of drones has picked up specifically in photography since last year. They are considered useful in the areas of shipping, delivery, search and rescue operations, storm tracking,  geographic mapping, and precision crop monitoring.
18/01/20 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18

Civil Aviation Ministry denies that sensitive personal data of drone operators is with a private company

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has denied a Quint report that suggested that sensitive personal data of drone owners was being collected by a private entity. According to the Quint report published on January 16, sensitive personal data about drone operators was “being collected not by the government but by a private entity whose identity or information has not been disclosed”. However, the Ministry told MediaNama via email that the company in question, Happiest Mind Technologies, was a system integrator and that “data is not in any private hand”.
Since the Digital Sky platform is still in the process of being built, it is unclear whether the system integrator will have any visibility into the sensitive personal data about drone owners that the government collects through the platform. We have asked the Ministry for more details about the system integrator’s role in the process.

Aviation secretary urges state govts to cut ATF tax to help airlines reduce cost

Financial viability of airlines needs to be addressed urgently as it is proving to be a big challenge for the aviation sector in the country, Civil Aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said in Bengaluru on Saturday. He also urged all state governments to bring down tax on ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel) to improve the financials of these airlines. Currently, the Central government charges an excise duty of 11 per cent, while the state-level taxes can go as high as 30 per cent.

Fuel expense, of which a big chunk includes state tax, is a major cost factor for airlines. Kharola also briefed upon various factors to help improve the sector faced with multiple challenges. “To cater to the growth in air traffic, we need to improve the airport infrastructure further. At the same time, we need to have more skilled manpower. There is a requirement of around 700-800 pilots in India in a year, but India produces only around 350 pilots a year. This needs to be addressed and steps should be taken to fill the gaps. Though we have also expanded big on the domestic front, we need to do well in long and mid-haul flights; otherwise, foreign airlines will take away the market,” said Kharola.
18/01/20 Abhinav Singh/The Week

Centre to initiate Air India’s disinvestment process soon

New Delhi: The Centre is likely to issue the expression of interest (EoI) and the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) for Air India’s disinvestment early next week.With the losses of the airline mounting, the disinvestment of Air India is among the top priorities of NDA 2.0 government. Sources said that the expression of interest and the SPA are likely to be in public domain by next week.

The proposal for disinvestment was approved in a group of ministers (GoM) meeting recently on January 7 headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister  and Railways minister Piyush Goyal and Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Puri were also part of that meeting.

Sources said to attract investors, government has also approved major debt transfer of the national carrier to a special purpose vehicle (SPV). They said that nearly 80 per cent of total debt will be transferred and the government is likely to keep only Rs 10,000crore debt in the airline’s books. Earlier, nearly Rs 29,400 crore was transferred to the SPV.
18/01/20 New Indian Express

Air India on block but Boeing 747’s VVIP duty continues

New Delhi: One jumbo jet won’t be included in the sale of Air India — the Boeing 747 will be transferred to its Alliance Air subsidiary and will used for VVIP duty, flying the President, Prime Minister and Vice-President on their international trips.
The government is in the process of selling its entire stake in Air India but will be holding on to Alliance Air, which otherwise operates 70-seater ATR aircraft on regional routes.
“The aircraft will stay with Alliance Air till December 2024 and two new Boeing 777s ordered for VVIP flights are set to be delivered, fitted with the latest security systems by this year and next year, respectively,” said a senior government official. The 777s have already been delivered and are currently being customised as per the specifications of the Special Protection Group (SPG), the person said. The first plane will be inducted into service by June.
The Boeing 747 could then be sold separately after December 2024 — a decision in this regard has yet to be taken, the official said.
Air India has five Boeing 747s, acquired during 1993-96, one of which is grounded and can’t fly anymore. With one being sent to Alliance Air, Air India will be sold with three 747s.
These Boeing 747s, designated as Air India One when operating VVIP flights, are currently being operated by Air India to ferry the government’s top officials. Notably, the government also owes about Rs 750 crore to the national carrier for operating these flights.
18/01/20 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Operational charges waived for commercial flights at Ozar airport

Nashik: The defence PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), has started waiving off operational charges for all civilian flights using the Ozar airport near Nashik city under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
The instructions for the same were issued by the ministry of defence (MoD). Moreover, HAL has also started providing night landing facility to all commercial flights and aircraft at the Ozar airport if they inform HAL about the same at least 10 hours prior to the landing.

HAL sources said that the MoD recently issued instructions to the company to waive off operational charges at the airport including landing and parking fees for all flights operating to and from Nashik Airport under the Centre’s Udan or RCS scheme.

The ministry also asked the airlines to rope in more flights for Nashik. At present, Nashik airport facilitates air connectivity to Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad.

Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, is operating from Nashik to Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune. In addition, private airline TruJet is also operating on the Nashik-Ahmedabad route on a daily basis.

“Following the instructions from the union ministry of defence, we have waived all operational charges at the airport for the flights operating under the RCS. The ministry had recently issued such circular directing us waive of all the charges,” said HAL sources.

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had also given its approval to the night landing for passenger aircraft at the Ozar airport.

“Earlier, we would provide services at the airport till 7 pm. But, after the DGCA’s approval for landing for passenger aircraft, we have extended our service hours till midnight. The night landing facilities are also free for flights under the Udan scheme,” said HAL sources.
18/01/20 Tushar Pawar/Times of India

Biman officials for replacing Indian CFO

A number of senior officials of the Biman Bangladesh Airlines have been disappointed over the contractual job of an Indian national as its chief financial officer for more than four years,

Because of the discontent, the management has started looking for a replacement of the lone foreigner holding a key position in the national flag carrier.

Bangladesh officials said that the issue of appointing Indian national Vineet Sood and extending his job was discussed many times at the policy level but without reaching any conclusion.

Biman’s managing director and chief executive officer Md Mokabbir Hossain on Thursday told New Age that as Vineet Sood was holding a vital position they were, therefore, taking time to find  his replacement.

Vineet is one of the nine executive directors appointed through an advertisement and he has been serving the Bangladesh flag carrier as its CFO since August 2015, said Biman officials.

The senior Biman officials have also raised questions about his competence for the job, but these questions could not be independently verified.
18/01/20 Muktadir Rashid/New Age 

Plane dreams of small towns, made in Bengaluru

If John Denver were alive today, he’d probably pen a new song titled, ‘Eating on a jet plane.’ Because flying is just plane exciting and dining in a plane is now becoming a fantasy.
The airline industry may be going through some turbulent times but dining in airplane-themed restaurants is taking off. And Bengaluru, always known as the ‘aviation hub of India’ is creating these model airplanes, just for dining.
 On the outskirts of Bengaluru city, near Kuduregere village, off Tumkur road, a facility is manufacturing aircrafts that will be converted into restaurants. The manufacturers say that airplane-themed restaurants are getting very popular and there is a great demand for them. Restaurants owners go the whole hog to give diners the airplane experience – right from issuing boarding passes to giving them an inflight dining menu and waitresses dressed like flight attendants.
 Currently, a huge aircraft body, modelled on the lines of an Airbus A320 is being assembled at Bengaluru. Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Naresh Kumar Ganesh (Chairman and Managing Director of Royal Nag Aviation) said that while the trend is to repurpose grounded aircraft for other uses, this Bengaluru facility manufactures aircraft from scratch which will be turned into a restaurant.
“One hotel has already been set up in Dehradun and the second aircraft which is currently under construction will be heading to Vadodara (Gujarat). We need a minimum of six months to create a full aircraft body.” Once the aircraft is ready, the interiors will be designed to seat people. One aircraft restaurant can house around 100 diners.
The interiors will mirror the inside of the aircraft – with a cockpit, seats, carpets, even the slightly buzzing noise that one hears inside of a plane, he said. One of the biggest tasks for the manufacturers is the transportation of the airplane. Currently, the Airbus A320 model is 123 feet long and has a wing span of 115 feet. Earlier, carbon fibre composites were used to build the airframe but now the manufacturers are using aluminium.
 18/01/20 Sridhar Vivan/Bangalore Mirror

Danve called Aurangbad MP in AAI official letter

Aurangabad: A letter issued by Airport Authority of India’s (AAI) Aurangab director DG Salve, informing about the agenda of January 18 meeting of Airport Advisory Committee, addressed Jalna MP and union minister Raosaheb Danve as Aurangabad MP.
Danve is the chairman of the advisory committee.

A meeting of the committee will be held at 11 am on Saturday in the CIP lounge terminal building of Aurangabad airport.

Salve, in the letter, said that the meeting will be chaired by Danve and addressed him as the MP of Aurangabad.

The mistake got repeated twice in the letter, once in the recipient’s name and second in the body of the letter.

The letter was written to Danve and copied to the district collector of Aurangabad, police commissioner of Aurangabad, Aurangabad Municipal Corporation and other officials.

The letter further listed the agenda of the meeting that included 20 points. Development of the domestic and international air traffic in the city, international cargo and civil infrastructure, supply of drinking water from AMC, mutation of airport land, waiving of agriculture tax to the airport, pruning of trees and removal of obstruction outside of aerodrome, road connectivity from Aurangabad to Shirdi, Ajanta Caves and Ellora caves will be discussed in the meeting.
18/01/20 Times of India

Visibility Below 100 Metres As Dense Fog Engulfs Delhi, flight operations affected

New Delhi: A thick blanket of fog engulfed the national capital early this morning affecting rail and flight operations as visibility dropped below 100 metres. Conditions on the city roads were no different as vehicles were seen moving at low speeds with emergency lights on.
"The visibility was nearly zero. I had to switch on emergency lights of my car as I commuted for work," said Anuj Srivastava, who works at a firm in Noida near Delhi. He said it took him close to two hours to reach his workplace, which is around 30 kms from his home in west Delhi.

Mahesh Palawat, a top official at weather agency Skymet Weather, a private forecaster, tweeted that visibility at Palam airport was below 100 metres.
Vistara has also asked its passengers to check updated status of their flights before leaving for airport.
Visibility was reduced to 50 metres in Palam at 5.30 am, a MeT Department official said.

At least 20 Delhi-bound trains were delayed due to fog in several parts of Northern India, news agency IANS said, quoting railway officials.
18/01/20 NDTV

GMR Airports wins contract for duty-free shops at Kannur int''l airport in Kerala

Mumbai: GMR Airports Ltd has bagged the contract for duty-free shops at Kannur international airport in Kerala.
Kannur airport began commercial operations in December 2018. As part of its concession agreement signed with Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL), the airport arm of the GMR group will finance, develop, operate and manage duty-free shops (DFS) at the Kerala''s fourth international airport for seven years, a release said.

The DFS contract is extendable by another three years, it added.

This is the first duty free concession outside GMR’s airport portfolio, as per the release.
18/01/20 PTI/Outlook

Odisha Govt Plans To Gift Joy Of Flying To Special Kids

Bhubaneswar: Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, and the Odisha government’s Department of Disabilities will fly 44 special children in an initiative to give them the experience of the joy of flying and boost their aspirations.

The government has selected 21 girls and 23 boys from Bhubaneswar and tribal village Baripada for the special flight on January 22. The special children in the age group of 9 to 18 years will be accompanied by 21 escorts.

Before boarding the flight at Bhubaneswar airport, the children will hold a performance to celebrate their excitement. They will then be flown for 40 minutes over the city airspace.
18/01/20 Odisha Bytes

Sri Lankan youth with Indian passport held at Kempegowda International Airport

Bengaluru: Immigration officials at Kempegowda International Airport arrested a Sri Lankan national after he was deported to Bengaluru from Siberia.

Kiyesuyen Jude Donal (24) has been been booked under various sections of the passport and foreigners act, and remanded in judicial custody.

Upon inspection of Donal’s documents and subsequent questioning it was found that he was born in Kaarunagar in Jaffna, Srilanka. His parents came to India in 1991 as refugees during India-Sri Lanka war and stayed in Namakkal, Tamil Nadu.

Donal is said to have procured an Indian passport, using fake documents to prove Indian citizenship from the Coimbatore passport office.
18/01/20 Udayavani/
Chennai: Customs officials at Chennai airport seized gold worth Rs 1 crore and undeclared foreign currency valued at Rs 10.8 lakh on Thursday and Friday. One passenger was arrested.
Customs said that on Thursday, four passengers — Shahul Hameedu Badhusha, 37, Yasar Arabath, 20, Azarudeen, 34, of Ramanathapuram and Usoof Moulana, 42, of Chennai — arrived from Colombo by Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 127, and were intercepted and searched. They were found concealing 12 packs of gold paste in their rectum. On extraction, 947g of gold valued at Rs 38.8 lakh was recovered. The officers also recovered a gold chain weighing 50g and valued at Rs 2 lakh from the trousers of one of the passengers.
In another incident on Thursday night, Ramanathan, 27, of Ramanathapuram, who was bound for Bangkok by Indigo flight 6E 91 was intercepted and checked as he was proceeding towards immigration. He was found carrying 13,700 euros, 3,400 Thai bahts, 225 Malaysian ringits and $121 in various denominations, equivalent to Rs 10.8 lakh.
18/01/20 Times of India