Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Tata-owned Air India introduces new menu in domestic flights

To revamp services and expand its fleet in domestic market Air India on Saturday introduced a new in-flight menu on domestic routes amid the onset of the festive season.

Since taken over by the Tata in January this year, the loss-making airline is trying to increase its overall market share in the fast-growing domestic aviation space.

Head of Inflight Services at Air India, Sandeep Verma said "The new menu choices have been curated to ensure that the flyers enjoy a gourmet meal with emphasis on health and well-being... We are excited to roll out this new menu on domestic routes, and are hard at work preparing a revamp of the international menu as well,"

he new in-flight menu, featuring an assortment of gourmet meals, trendy appetisers and decadent desserts, showcases India's locally sourced culinary influence, it said in a release.

Last month, Air India unveiled 'Vihaan.AI', a comprehensive transformation plan with a detailed road map for the next five years under which the airline aims to have a domestic market share of 30 per cent and significantly strengthen its international operations.

03/10/22 Economic Times

Barred from carrying gulab jamuns at Phuket airport, Indian man shares sweetness with security staff

Chandigarh: An Indian man was barred from taking ‘gulab jamuns’ along with him in Thailand. What he did next amused the airport staff and won hearts online.

The security officials at the Phuket airport informed a passenger identified as Himanshu Devgan that he could not carry the tin of gulab jamuns in his luggage on board.

Instead of dumping the Indian delicacy, the man decided to share the sweets with the security staff and a video of the same went viral.

In the clip, the Indian sweet dish appeared to be a hit with the Thai officials as they could be seen relishing the sweet treats with smiles on their faces.

“When they restricted us to carry gulab jamuns at the security check, we decided to share our happiness with them. Phuket airport,” read the super on the video. “Great start to the day!” read the caption.

04/10/22 Tribune

Captain Zoya Agarwal: 'I've had to really fight to show the power of women in the aviation sector'

Popularly known as #bharatkibeti, Captain Zoya Agarwal is a renowned aviator with several honours and awards to her credit. Professionally, she is an Indian commercial pilot and commander who has flown for Air India since 2004.

Her talks on channels, such as Ted/TedX, BBC, CNN, Forbes, are a source of inspiration not only to aspiring female pilots and the young generation, but to all those who dare to dream but are held back by others' and their own scepticism. 

Edited excerpts >>

Bengaluru lad denied boarding Lufthansa flight over transit visa

Bengaluru:  The family of 23-year-old Neel is distraught as he couldn’t board his flight at Bengaluru to join his first job as chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Glasgow. Lufthansa airline staff stopped him at Kempegowda International Airport, insisting he should have a transit visa along with the UK visa, as the flight passes through Frankfurt.

Neel’s business class ticket cost Rs 65,000 for travel on September 26. The family is forced to shell out Rs 1 lakh now, and book another ticket on British Airways. His mother Kiran Kalra, an international fashion curator, told TNIE, “It was not highlighted anywhere on the website at the time of booking the ticket on September 6, that the Schengen visa was mandatory. The flight has a two-hour stopover at Frankfurt airport, and passengers continue their trip by Lufthansa only. If this was the case, then ticket booking should not have been allowed to go through. It was not just my son but at least ten others in the queue behind him with Business Class tickets who were also not allowed to go through for the same reason,” she said.

“I am trying to bring the issue into the limelight to create awareness, so that other families don’t suffer like us,” Kalra said. Having completed his graduation in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu, Neel got the job offer. “It is an incredible opportunity as not many Indians get their first job in a Michelin-starred restaurant,” Kalra added.

 The family of 23-year-old Neel is distraught as he couldn’t board his flight at Bengaluru to join his first job as chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Glasgow. Lufthansa airline staff stopped him at Kempegowda International Airport, insisting he should have a transit visa along with the UK visa, as the flight passes through Frankfurt.

Neel’s business class ticket cost Rs 65,000 for travel on September 26. The family is forced to shell out Rs 1 lakh now, and book another ticket on British Airways. His mother Kiran Kalra, an international fashion curator, told TNIE, “It was not highlighted anywhere on the website at the time of booking the ticket on September 6, that the Schengen visa was mandatory. The flight has a two-hour stopover at Frankfurt airport, and passengers continue their trip by Lufthansa only. If this was the case, then ticket booking should not have been allowed to go through. It was not just my son but at least ten others in the queue behind him with Business Class tickets who were also not allowed to go through for the same reason,” she said.

“I am trying to bring the issue into the limelight to create awareness, so that other families don’t suffer like us,” Kalra said. Having completed his graduation in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu, Neel got the job offer. “It is an incredible opportunity as not many Indians get their first job in a Michelin-starred restaurant,” Kalra added.

04/10/22 New Indian Express

Passenger Performs Garba As Flight Gets Delayed, Airline And CISF Staff Follow Suit

As India warms up to the festive mood in the days to come, a passenger was seen playing Garba to a Gujarati song and he was later joined by CISF officials and Airline staff as an Indigo flight got delayed by 15 minutes. 

On the auspicious day of Ashtami (Eighth day) of the Nine-day Navratri festival, on October 3, a passenger scheduled to travel on an Indigo flight was seen performing Garba, to the tune of a Garba song on his mobile after his flight was delayed by 15 minutes. Interestingly, the Indigo airline staff, women personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and fellow passengers immediately formed a circle, followed suit and began performing Garba to the tune of the Gujarati song, ‘Maro Sona no Ghaludo re ha panida chalke che’.

The Ahmedabad-bound Indigo flight 6-E 7569 that was scheduled to leave from Bhopal at 6.45 pm got delayed by 15 minutes. The passengers were thus asked to wait at the departure terminal. During the wait period, a passenger started playing Garba on the tune of a Gujarati ‘Maro Sona no Ghaludo re ha panida chalke che’ on his phone. His enthusiasm spilled over to his fellow passengers and the airline staff, CISF personnel, who also joined him in the circular formation.

04/10/22 Abhishek Raval/Republicworld.com

Six land parcels for Chennai airport expansion identified

Chennai Airport Director, Dr Sharad Kumar, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and the TN Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) will reportedly conduct a joint survey of six land parcels for further expansion of Chennai Airport to meet the demand of 55 million passengers per annum (MPPA). This comes after the AAI requested that the Tamil Nadu government acquire 306 acres of land on the other side of the Adyar River for the construction of an international terminal and cargo terminal. According to reports, a meeting was recently held with TIDCO officials to discuss the availability of land for the airport expansion.

04/10/22 ConstructionWorld

Customs officers nab Uganda woman with drugs worth Rs 8.03 crores at Chennai airport

 Chennai: Customs officers at Chennai airport seized drugs worth Rs 8.03 crores from a female passenger from Uganda on Monday, October 3. The drugs were hidden inside the inner layers of a carton box she was carrying.

Based on reliable information, officials intercepted a woman from Uganda named Noeline Nampeera, who had come to Chennai from Addis Ababa via Ethiopian Airlines.

Upon checking her baggage, the officials found 1.756 kg of methaqualone and 1.431 kg of heroin. Together, the drugs are reportedly worth 8.03 crores on the international market.

The narcotics were found concealed in the inner layers of a corrugated carton box. The contraband was seized under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, (NDPS) Act, 1985 read with Customs Act, 1962. The woman has also been taken into custody and further investigations are underway.

04/10/22 Akshaya Nath/India Today

Monday, October 03, 2022

Bomb threat on Iran-China flight while in Indian airspace, IAF jets scrambled

The Indian Air Force (IAF) scrambled fighter jets after security agencies received information of a possible bomb on board an Airbus A340 aircraft, operated by Iranian carrier Mahan Air, early Monday, when the plane was in Indian airspace.

The information was received when the aircraft was around 200 km west of Delhi. According to sources, the passenger aircraft was on its way from Tehran to Guangzhou in China when an alert was triggered.

“On October 3, 2022, intimation was received of a bomb scare on an airline bearing Iranian registration, when it was transiting through Indian airspace. IAF fighter aircraft were scrambled, which followed the aircraft at a safe distance. The aircraft was offered the option to land at Jaipur and then at Chandigarh. However, the pilot declared his unwillingness to divert to either of the two airports,” the IAF said in a statement.

The aircraft initially started its descent from its cruising altitude of 35,000 feet to 21,000 feet while in a holding position, around 200 km west of Delhi. It then exited the holding position after nearly 45 minutes, and climbed back to 35,000 feet before flying westward.

“After a while, intimation was received from Tehran to disregard the bomb scare, following which the aircraft continued on its journey towards its final destination. All actions were taken by IAF as per the laid down procedure, jointly with Ministry of Civil Aviation and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. The aircraft was under close radar surveillance by the Air Force throughout the Indian airspace,” the IAF statement said.

Citing a Mahan Air statement, Iranian news agency IRNA reported that as soon as the pilot was alerted about the possibility of a bomb attack, he informed the control tower and requested an emergency landing in India.

03/10/22 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

Mumbai airport gets hoax email threatening to blow up Indigo flight

The Mumbai airport Saturday evening received an email threatening to blow up an Indigo flight, said the police. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and bomb squads checked the flight and ascertained the email to be a hoax, they added.

Around 6 pm, Mumbai International Airport Limited’s (MIAL) email id feedback@csia.gvk.com received an email from a ProtonMail account and it stated, “I WILL BLOW UP FLIGHT 6E 6045.” The CISF and the bomb detection and disposal squad checked the Indigo flight to Ahmedabad, which was scheduled for departure around 9 pm, and found nothing.

The police registered a first information report (FIR) based on a complaint from Indigo under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 506 (2) (death threat), 505 (1) (b) (Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public).

03/10/22 Indian Express

Punjab govt to propose naming of Halwara airport after Kartar Singh Sarabha: Mann

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday announced in the Assembly that the AAP government will propose that the upcoming international airport at Halwara in Ludhiana district be named after Ghadar revolutionary and freedom fighter Kartar Singh Sarabha.

Work has been initiated to upgrade the Indian Air Force station at Halwara into an international civil terminal, which will also be the first international airport in Ludhiana district — the business and industrial hub of Punjab.

On Monday, CM Mann — after being prodded about concerns raised by SAD MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali regarding the pathetic state of a road, which was named after Kartar Singh Sarabha — said that not only will the road be repaired, but the state government will also propose to name the Halwara airport after him. Mann also thanked the Central government for naming Chandigarh International Airport (at Mohali) after Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

“I thank the Central government for naming Mohali airport after Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Ayali saab has pointed out that Kartar Singh Sarabha’s death anniversary is approaching on November 16. We will not only repair the road that was named after him at earliest, but will also propose that the upcoming airport at Halwara be named after him. We will send a request from our end, but the final decision rests with the Centre. It is my wish and belief that our airports, universities and other institutions should be named after those brave men who got us our freedom, this country’s independence…,” said CM Mann.

03/10/22 Divya Goyal/Indian Express

Visakhapatnam-Pune red eye flight service to be resumed

Visakhapatnam: The red eye flight from Visakhapatnam to Pune is back with the airlines resuming its service. The non-stop flight from Visakhapatnam to Pune will begin on Tuesday.The red eye flight operated by Indigo will operate from Vizag three days in a week -- Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The flight arrives at Vizag airport from Pune at 1.30 am and leaves at 2.30 am. The Indigo service was the first red eye flight launched in the summer schedule in March from Vizag. The airlines had suspended the service after two months. 

Meanwhile, the passenger footfall at Vizag airport has almost been steady for the last two months, but it is yet to reach pre-Covid situation, according to airport director K Srinivasa Rao. Speaking to TNIE, he said after second wave of the pandemic, the passenger footfall touched 2.5 lakh in December last. But owing to Omicron,  there was fall in February and March.

03/10/22  G Janardhana Rao/New Indian Express

Atlanta Airport Officials Meet With Indian Airline Leaders Amid Aerospace Mission

Officials from Atlanta airport recently engaged with industry leaders in India to discuss, among other things, possible direct connections to the city from India. The talks come at a time when there's renewed interest in increasing flight frequency between the two countries from various airlines, most notably Air India. But while several US-India airport combinations have been considered recently, Atlanta has largely been ignored.

Last month, officials from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) visited India to discuss trade opportunities and, possibly, having non-stop connections to the city from India.

The four-day India Aerospace Mission, led by the US International Trade Administration, was attended by Atlanta airport's General Manager Balram Bheodari, Deputy General Manager and Chief Commercial Officer J'Aimeka Farrell, and International Affairs Director Alrene Barr, who joined 15 organizations visiting the cities of Delhi and Hyderabad.

According to Global Atlanta, the visit included ATL officials meeting several people from the industry, such as the GMR Group, an infrastructure company that also deals with MRO facilities, as well as executive leaders for several India-based airlines to discuss mutual growth opportunities.

03/10/22 Gaurav Joshi/Simple Flying

Air India's turnaround strategy begins to take off following privatisation

The strategy to turn Air India around after privatisation is taking off, analysts say. With a challenging and competitive operating environment in the Indian aviation sector and the legacy issues the carrier faces, it will not be an easy task and will require substantial investment. But aviation experts say there are promising signs that the airline is setting out on a growth path.

Read the details >>

Jazeera Airways enhances its presence in the India market

Jazeera Airways, based in Kuwait and a leading low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East, continues to support an expanding network of routes. Jazeera Airways currently flies to over 50 destinations operating a reliable fleet of Airbus A320neo and A320ceo aircraft.

With the return of international travel in 2022, the airline is going forward with its expansion plans offering affordable travel across the Middle East, Central & South Asia, North Africa and Europe.

Jazeera has been established in the India market for five years and now has a strong pan-India presence with six destinations, namely Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kochi and Chennai. Later this year two additional routes will be added to Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru.

Jazeera Airways is responding strongly also to the 2030 Vision that is driving growth in travel to Saudi Arabia. Jazeera is working closely with the Saudi Tourism Authority to support the marketing of eight routes they currently operate into the Kingdom.

The growth plan constitutes Romana Parvi, Regional Manager – South Asia engaging in showcasing knowledge about products and its offerings and exchanging business ideas by participating at various travel trade marts like TTF Ahmedabad, BLTM Delhi and OTM Mumbai.

03/10/22 TTJ

Vistara Launches Live TV On Its Boeing 787 Dreamliners

In the race to meet two years of pent-up demand, airlines and airports have failed dismally regarding passenger experience. However, for those flying with India's Vistara, passenger experience levels shot upward on Saturday with the introduction of live TV on selected flights.

The live TV service has commenced on Vistara's two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, mainly deployed on long-haul routes to the UK and Europe. According to ch-aviation.com, Vistara has four more 787-9s on order, and it's the only widebody in the airline's fleet of 55 aircraft. Driving the fleet are 40 Airbus A320-200neos and five A321-200neos, with Vistara already offering onboard WiFi on their A321neos and 787-9s on international routes.

The new service, Live TV, is a first for Indian airlines and will initially offer two sports channels and three news channels. A Vistara spokesperson told the Times of India:

"Live TV is currently available on our Dreamliner, and we are looking at expanding it to more aircraft in our fleet in the coming months. Live streaming has started just ahead of the ICC [International Cricket Council] T20 World Cup that kicks off in Australia from October 16, with a super Sunday India-Pakistan match on chotiDiwai, October 23."

Stating the obvious to readers in cricketing nations, Indians are among the most passionate followers of the game globally. The shortened and more frenzied form of cricket is T20, basically made famous by India's Premier League. With 299 passengers onboard a Vistra 787, the Dreamliner will become a mini-stadium when India is playing, with close results the outcome of many T20 matches. 

03/10/22 Michael Doran/Simple Flying

Alliance Air launches flight on Bilaspur-Indore route

The Centre-run Alliance Air on Monday launched a flight between Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh and Indore in Madhya Pradesh, which will operate four days a week. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who was in Raipur, virtually launched the inaugural flight at Bilasa Devi Kevat Airport, Bilaspur, located around 125 km away from the capital.

The ATR 72-seater aircraft of Alliance Air took off from Bilaspur around 11.35 am for Indore with more than 50 passengers. It will be operated four days a week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday), an official said.

Speaking on the occasion, Baghel said the state government has been making every possible effort to expand air travel services in the state and the flight connectivity between Bilaspur and Indore will accelerate development and benefit people of Bilaspur division.

He requested Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiradiya Scindia, who virtually presided over the function from Delhi, to start flight services from Bilaspur to metro cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru.

The chief minister urged Scindia to launch international flights from Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur, and said the state government had provided 461.20 acres of land to the Airport Authority of India free of cost for expansion of the airport, which now has ffacilities such as runway, new terminal building, ATC tower as per international standards.

The first regular domestic service was started by Alliance Air on Delhi-Jabalpur-Bilaspur-Prayagraj airway on March 1 last year and then between Bilaspur and Bhopal on June 5 this year, but the services were later suspended, he said.

03/10/22 PTI/Economic Times

Naini Saini airport should be managed by Air Force

 Pithoragarh: The Pithoragarh district administration has sent a proposal to Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S S Sandhu, requesting him to hand over the management of the Naini Saini airport here to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

    The chief secretary has promised that he will discuss the proposal with the state government, District Magistrate (DM) Ashish Chauhan said on Monday.

    "We submitted a proposal in this regard to the chief secretary during his visit here on Sunday. He has given his nod to it," the DM said.

    The purpose of Sandhu's visit was to discuss ways in which the airport can be managed better, he added.

    The Airports Authority of India (AAI) manages the airport, which has seen no flight operations since March 2020 as it has not proved to be commercially viable for aviation companies.

    Constructed in 1999, the runway at the Naini Saini airport has a length of 1,600 metres and a width of 60 metres. Medium capacity aircraft can be operated on the runway.

    The first civilian trial of the airport was completed on October 8, 2018.

    "The airport had its first commercial flight on January 17, 2019. It was followed by a flight to the Hindon airport on October 11, 2019. But flight operations between the Naini Saini airport and the Hindon airport in Ghaziabad were closed from March 20, 2020 after a minor technical error occurred at the airport.

    "The main reason for the non-operation of the airport seems to be its commercial non-viability for aviation companies," an official said.

03/10/22 PTI/The Week

Russian Hacker Detained At Delhi's IGI Airport For Alleged Involvement In JEE Exam Scam

In a key development, the Central Bureau of Investigation detained a Russian from Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday, October 3. The foreign national, who is presently in detention and being interrogated by the sleuths, had a Look Out Notice against him for his alleged involvement in a massive online examination hacking racket.

Nine months back, i.e., in January, the Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell had busted a massive online examination hacking racket and arrested six people who with the help of Russian hackers had developed software to hack computers at examination centres remotely. According to police, the accused sent a link to a software named ‘Ultraviewer’ to gain access to the laptop at the examination centre. The laptop’s access was then given to a “solver”, who helped the candidate by providing correct answers in the test.

"Reports back then had quoted KPS Malhotra, DCP (Cyber Cell), as saying, “Our investigation shows that the gang helped over 500 candidates clear JEE and other entrance tests and 18 candidates clear the GMAT exam. We received information about their illegal activities as they were charging a hefty amount.”

The gang, as per police, took Rs 8-10 lakh from a candidate for JEE exams and Rs 6-8 lakhs for GMAT exams. They made money to the tune of Rs 50-60 crore.

03/10/22 Sudeshna Singh/Republicworld

Gold paste worth Rs 41 lakh recovered from plane’s lavatory at Delhi airport

New Delhi: Customs officials at the Indira Gandhi International Airport seized gold paste of around 1 kg worth Rs 41.35 lakh that had been hidden in the lavatory of an aircraft that arrived from Dubai, a senior officer said on Monday.

Praveen Kumar Bali, Joint Commissioner of Customs, said in a statement, “On the basis of profiling, Flight no. Al-930 was rummaged on arrival from Dubai on September 29 at Terminal-3 of IGI Airport in New Delhi. The officers of Customs during rummaging of flight no Al-930 recovered a grey colour pouch from the back panel of the toilet seat of flight no. Al-930.”

He said the grey colour pouch contained some substance in paste form and therefore it was taken for extraction, which resulted in the recovery of 937.00 gm gold. It was estimated to be worth Rs 41.35 lakh, the officer said.

03/10/22 ANI/Print