Sunday, April 05, 2020

Govt likely to allow flight operations in staggered manner post lockdown

 
New Delhi: The government is likely to allow domestic and international flight operations in India in a staggered manner after the 21-day lockdown is lifted on April 14 midnight, officials said on Sunday.
The aviation sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Air Deccan became the latest casualty of the crisis as it announced indefinite suspension of flight operations and asked all employees to go on sabbatical without pay.

"As the virus is still spreading in India, we are thinking to permit domestic and international flight operations post April 14 in a staggered manner. Airlines are free to take bookings for any date post April 14," a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official said.

"However, if the lockdown is extended post April 14, airlines will have to cancel the tickets booked for that time period," the official noted.

All major airlines except Air India are taking domestic bookings for dates post April 14. Air India is taking bookings for dates post April 30 only.

As it has sent all employees on sabbatical without pay, Air Deccan is not taking any bookings and it is not clear when it would restart operations.

As revenues have fallen significantly, IndiGo has announced a pay cut of up to 25 per cent for its senior employees and Vistara has announced a compulsory leave without pay of up to three days for its senior employees in March.
05/04/20 PTI/Outlook

Cargo flight supposed to airlift essential commodities landed with bundles of betel leafs

Imphal: At a time when the whole world is in state of crisis, when government of each country affected by the pandemic COVID-19 are worrying, when people are advice to stay indoor by imposing total lockdown called as such measures is the only means to prevent the spread of the deadly virus and when government air lifts essential commodities using Cargo flight, a special SpiceZet Cargo plane today landed here in Bir Tikendrajit International Airport, Imphal with bundles of betel leafs.

According to source from the airport, the SpiceZet Cargo flight landed at Imphal airport at around 12.30 pm today.

When unloaded the items the flight was packed with bundles of betel leafs.

The source said that the betel leafs ferried by the flight (SpiceJet boeing 370) .

At time of crisis, Cargo flight that is supposed to airlift essential commodities landed with bundles of betel leafs weigh arounf 6,500 kilogram.

The Flight reportedly boarded from Kolkatta.

At a time when any essential item could by transported without proper valid documents from the government authority, one wander how the SpiceZet Cargo flight is allowed to ferry Betel leafs which is not even essential items.
04/04/20 E-Pao

UK to evacuate its citizens from next week

Panaji: The British government will charter special flights to rescue its citizens stranded in India, including Goa, from next week onwards, the British high commission said on Saturday. While the exact dates and flight timings are yet to be declared, the announcement will bring relief to the several hundred British nationals stranded in the state.
The announcement comes even as European Union nations and Russia continue to operate special flights to repatriate their citizens. On Saturday, the US government hired three buses to shift 63 US nationals stranded in Goa to Mumbai from where they would be flown to the US.
"I recognise that this is a worrying time and you are desperate to get home. Special charter flights from India to UK organised by the British government will start next week. We are still in the process of finalising the details with the Indian government and airlines," said acting British high commissioner Jan Thompson.

Thompson said that once the dates are confirmed, the details would be made public, but in the same breath said that they would not be able to rescue all UK nationals stranded in India at once.

"Next week is just the start. We will not be able to get everyone out immediately," Thompson said in a video message.

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab and UK transport secretary Grant Shapps continue negotiations with India's external affairs ministry to get a series of charter flights to help the most vulnerable stranded UK nationals, many of them elderly and suffering from ailments.

Meanwhile, many EU nations have allowed British citizens on rescue flights to Frankfurt, Zurich, Dublin, Helsinki and Rome from where they could take onward flights to UK.

Alitalia flew a special flight from Goa to Rome on April 3 and a few seats were offered to UK nationals. On Saturday, a plane filled with Irish and European tourists took off from Goa International Airport for Dublin. The passengers included 100 British tourists.
05/04/20 Newton Sequeira/Times of India

Single-passenger flights: Daily woes of airlines and crew working during coronavirus outbreak

When Reuters photographer Carlos Barria boarded American Airlines flight 4511 from Washington Reagan National Airport to New Orleans on Friday for an assignment, he was the only passenger on the 76-seat jet.

"There were some awkward moments," Barria said. Like when the gate agent announced a formal boarding process only to remember that Barria was the sole passenger who would board, or when the pilot approached his seat to personally explain a delay in take-off due to a mechanical issue, rather than speak over the PA system.

The two flight attendants invited Barria to sit in a first-class seat and went through the safety demonstration for Barria alone. "I felt I had to pay attention," he said.
Nearly-vacant flights have become the norm for US airlines, despite a drastic reduction in the number of planes they put in the air each day as passenger traffic has diminished in the midst of the new coronavirus gripping countries across the globe.

Flight attendants continue to do their jobs, despite some telling Reuters that they fear contracting the virus and infecting at-risk family at home.

One of the flight attendants on Barria's flight said she would be flying from New Orleans on to her hometown Miami, where she was due to take her father for a cancer treatment after her four-day trip rotation that included sleeping in hotels every night.
05/04/20 Reuters/India Today

8 caught at Delhi airport trying to flee to Malaysia, may have attended Tablighi Jamaat event

New Delhi: Eight people were caught at the Delhi IGI airport on Sunday trying to flee to Malaysia. All of them have been identified as Malaysian nationals and are suspected to be hiding their participation in the recent Tablighi Jamaat event in Nizamuddin.

The 8 Malaysians were trying to board a relief flight that was going to Malaysia from India. The group was trying to board a Malindo Airways flight amid the ongoing lockdown in the country in which all passenger flights have been suspended.

Sources say these 8 people were hiding in different parts of Delhi and gathered at the airport on Sunday to flee the country. They may have attended the Nizamuddin event earlier in March.

The 8 people are now being questioned. The group may be handed over to the Delhi Police and health department officials for further action.

Over 2,000 delegates, including foreigners from Indonesia and Malaysia, attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin West from March 1-15. The south Delhi neighbourhood was virtually sealed off after several hundred in the gathering tested positive.

There are 301 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Delhi that originated at the Nizamuddin event where the huge number of people stayed at the Markaz building in clusters for days before Delhi Police finally cleared them out.
05/04/20 Nagarjun Dwarakanath/India Today

Coronavirus risks over 2 lakh private jobs at airports; private airport body seeks intervention

 The COVID-19 unleashed headwinds which have deeply impacted the airline and hospitality sector, now pose a major risk to the job security of over 2,00,000 workforce employed with the country's private airport operators. Accordingly, the Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) has urged the Centre to come out with an economic relief package not only to stop downsizing but also to maintain the key infrastructure assets that the sector maintains.
 At present, approximately 2,40,000 people employed on airport sites, including airport operators' employees jobs are at stake. The downsizing impact will be felt across the country as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad are some of the major airports which are handled by private entities.
 Currently, no foreign or domestic passenger flight operations are allowed till the deadline of April 14. Only cargo operations are taking place there by hitting the bottom lines of these companies. Not only is the income low but these entities are also in stress for paying up a huge chunk of the revenue to the government under the various management deals of respective airports.
 05/04/20 IANS/Business Insider

Relief flight ferries 150 Spanish, European Union nationals stranded in Goa amid coronavirus lockdown


Panaji: Spanish nationals, who were stranded in Goa due to lockdown, left for Madrid by a special flight. They were screened at Goa International Airport before their departure.

Earlier on Saturday, Goa Airport Director Gagan Malik had told ANI,"A relief flight carrying 150 Spanish and EU nationals will take off from Goa International Airport to Madrid tonight."

He said that the thermal screening of passengers at entry and social distancing will be maintained during check-in at the airport.

"Arrangements have been made for passengers to wait with seats, water and fans before entry to a terminal for check-in as they arrive very early due to obvious reasons," Malik added.

The Indian government curtailed all international flights to combat the spread of coronavirus.
05/04/20 ANI/First Post

No seats in special rescue flight, Malaysian couple attempts suicide

Tiruchy: High drama took place at the Tiruchy International Airport on Saturday morning as a Malaysian couple tried to commit suicide after they were not provided seats in the special flight. The couple identified as Lalitha (55) and Subramaniam (65) came to the airport to board the flight to Malaysia. However, they came to know that their names were not included in the list.

Also, disappointed with response of embassy officials, they tried to consume sleeping pills. However, police prevented them. Sources said that airport officials and police held talks with the airline and arranged seats for them.

“We do not know how their names were not included in the list. We have raised the issue with the airline and concerned officials and arranged seats for them,” an officer said. Later, the flight with 152 passengers, including the couple, took off at 10:35 am. This is the third rescue flight from Malaysia to take its citizens in Tiruchy, in this week.
05/04/20 New Indian Express

5,751 stranded foreign nationals repatriated from DIAL

Mumbai: Post the 21-day coronavirus lockdown was announced on March 24, over 5,751 stranded foreign nationals were repatriated to their country of origin from theDelhi International Airport.

Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has handled a total of 29 flights between March 25 and April 2.

Commercial flight operations came to a halt at the Delhi Airport on March 25, following the 21-day lockdown announced by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

“Delhi Airport is operational 24x7 despite the suspension of commercial operations, due to the 21-day lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak. At present, Delhi Airport is handling cargo and evacuation flights, operated by various countries,” CEO-DIAL Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said.

Several foreign nationals were stranded in different parts of India post the lockdown. The Indian government and several embassies were coordinating to escalate the repatriation process for the said nationals.
Delhi Airports is one of the hub airports for several international flights.

According to a statement, between March 25 and April 2, “It has handled a total of 29 flights in which about 5,751 stranded foreign nationals flew to their country of origin from here.”
The biggest aircraft used for evacuation was an Airbus 380, operated by Lufthansa, which flew around 500 German nationals to Frankfurt.
04/04/20 Business Line

RIL aircraft ferries 6,000 PPE kits to Mumbai

New Delhi: An aircraft of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has flown in 6,000 personal protection equipment (PPE) kits or coveralls for the frontline health workers in Mumbai fighting the Covid-19 outbreak.

"6,000 PPE lifted & flown straight to Mumbai for our frontline #HealthWarriors fighting to protect Mumbaikars!", the Brihunmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said in a tweet.

"A huge thanks to @ril_foundation & @thisiskar for making this possible!", BMC said in the tweet.

RIL and RIL Foundation have announced several initiatives to fight Covid-19. These include contribution of Rs 500 crore to the PM-CARES Fund, Rs 5 core to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund of Maharashtra, and contribution of Rs 5 crore to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund of Gujarat.

In addition, it set up India's first 100-bed exclusive Covid-19 hospital geared up in just two weeks to handle coronavirus patients.
04/04/20 daijiworld

Airports Authority of India (AAI) provides fund to procure protective materials

Dibrugarh: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been consistently devoting resources towards CSR endeavours at various stations in the north-eastern region under the leadership of its Regional Executive Director, Sanjeev Jindal. The Corporate Social Responsibility programmes are focused to connect underprivileged families with the privileged one and AAI is continuously working in this effort apart from developing aviation infrastructure in the north-eastern region.

Supporting the Dibrugarh district administration in the fight against COVID-19, Airports Authority of India, Dibrugarh on Saturday provided funds amounting to Rs. 8 lakh under CSR scheme to procure various materials for combating novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The district administration Dibrugarh along with Police and Health Department have prepared comprehensive plan to combat possible cases of corona virus in the district and since a large number of police personnel are also engaged in COVID-19 duty, hence to prevent spread of the epidemic among the police personnel, funds provided by Airports Authority of India Dibrugarh under CSR scheme will be utilized to procure protective materials, AAI, Dibrugarh Airport, the press release added.
05/04/20 Sentinel

Airports report huge cargo backlog while forwarders want demurrage waiver

The air cargo community in India is demanding an unconditional 100 percent waiver of all demurrage charges at all airports in the country as the industry is unable to move their import cargo from the terminals due to 21-day lockdown and shortage of manpower. Meanwhile, airports are reporting huge cargo congestion at terminals and urging forwarders to expedite the clearance of import cargo.

The lockdown in Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) was started from March 22 and expected to continue till April 14, for 24 days. All international flights have been cancelled from 22nd March and domestic flights from 24th March. Along with passenger movement, cargo volumes have also been affected in the country due to flight cancellations and Mumbai airport is not an exception. However, freighter operations are allowed to continue at airports.

Manoj Singh, senior vice president & head cargo, MIAL said “Initially exports were very less due to restrictions on non-essential commodities and stoppage of manufacturing activity, but now the volumes are picking up in- terms of Pharmaceuticals, Perishable and few engineering commodities. In imports from the beginning in addition to the essential Pharma cargo we are receiving all non-essential commodities like engineering goods and electronics resulting in huge volumes.”
05/04/20 ITLN

Pakistan ATC lauds Air India’s COVID-19 relief efforts, says ‘proud of you’

Air India, which has been actively involved in evacuation of Indians and relief efforts around the world during the coronavirus pandemic, has found an admirer in the Pakistan Air Traffic Controller.

The Pakistan ATC welcomed Air India flights engaged in relief efforts into its airspace, and went on to say that they were proud of the work the airline was doing during these trying times.
“As-salamu alaykum (Peace be upon you). This is Karachi Control welcoming Air India for relief flights,” the ATC said to the pilots. After confirming that the flight was enroute Frankfurt for relief efforts, the ATC said, “We are proud of you that in a pandemic situation you are operating flights. Good luck!”

The Air India pilots thanked them for their words. They added that the Pakistan ATC saved them precious time by allowing the flight to fly closer to Karachi. In addition, the ATC also got in touch with Iran when the Air India flight entered its airspace and tried contacting the authorities, thereby saving time taking a shorter route.

The national carrier operated two flights from Mumbai to Frankfurt on April 2, carrying materials and European national stuck in India amid the nationwide lockdown.
05/04/20 The Week

Air India Asks Passengers Of 4 Flights To Self-quarantine As 3 Test Positive For COVID-19

Air India on Sunday issued advisories for passengers of four flights, urging them to go into self-quarantine after a COVID-19 positive passenger was detected in each of the routes. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme of the Directorate of Health Services in Goa and Disaster Management Department of Bihar had informed Air India about the cases. In a series of tweets, Air India said, "As appealed by Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, Goa, passengers of this flight are required to follow for necessary isolation/quarantine as applicable." 
A passenger from AI661 which flew from Mumbai to Goa on March 19 has tested positive.
A passenger on AI883, which flew from Mumbai to Goa on?March 22, has tested positive for COVID-19.
A passenger who travelled on AI101 from Mumbai to Delhi on March 22 and was also on board the AI 415 which flew from Delhi to Patna on March 23 was tested positive for COVID-19 on March 31, informed Air India.
05/04/20 Jay Pandya/Republic

Goa health officials urge passengers of 2 flights to quarantine themselves


Panaji: Health authorities in Goa on Saturday issued a public appeal, urging people who travelled by two Air India flights, which landed in Goa on March 22 and March 19, respectively, to quarantine themselves, because two Covid-19 positive patients from Goa had travelled by the two flights.

While a Covid-19 patient who tested positive on Saturday, a sailor, had returned to Goa from San Francisco via Delhi, another patient who was sent to an isolation facility on Friday had travelled from South Africa to Kenya and then on to Mumbai and Goa.

"Kindly isolate (home quarantine) and report to helpline 104 or call 0832-2421810 or 2225538 or report to nearest government health facility," the Goa Health Department''s public appeal said.
04/04/20 IANS/Outlook

Air India launches Delhi-Shanghai air bridge for critical medical supplies

Air India today operated its Boeing 777 to Shanghai from Delhi full of critical medical supplies thus creating air bridge between the two countries fighting Covid-19 pandemic. Though there is no fixed schedule for the route, Air India will be flying as and when there is a demand.

B777-300ER has a cargo capacity of 25 tonnes and 58 tonnes payload capacity in the non-USA routes.

Nirbhik Narang executive director, cargo, Air India, said “We operated the B777 passenger flight full of critical medical consignments in the belly hold in the Mumbai- Delhi- Shanghai route to fight against Covid-19 which will be coming back tomorrow early morning. We will operate through the route as and when there is any demand to move essential supplies between the two cities.”

Till date, Air India has already flown 42 passenger flights just with the belly space cargo full of essential and medical consignments across the country since Covid-19 pandemic has begun. As DGCA has already given permission to use the passenger cabins to move cargo, the airlines have only used the overhead bins.
04/04/20 ITLN

Why Air India evacuating foreign nationals, asks Congress

New Delhi: Air India is busy in evacuating foreigners who are stranded in India to their destinations and winning accolades but the Congress has raised the issue of safety of the crew and alleged that "Govt is risking our pilots and crew and why foreign countries are not using their airlines."

Jaiveer Shergill, who himself is a trained pilot, raised fingers and said, "Germany, Canada, France is chartering Air India to fly their nationals"

He asked why is Germany not using Lufthansa, Canada not using Air Canada & France not using Air France?
"Why is Govt risking our pilots crew who have anyways complained of sub-standard protective gear? "said Shergill.

The Air India in its mission has evacuated Indian Citizens from China which was the epicentre of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Air India has said in a statement, "All these flights are being operated adhering to all safety protocols laid down by the DGCA."
05/04/20 daijiworld

Air Deccan ceases its operations, all employees put on ''sabbatical without pay''

New Delhi: Regional airliner Air Deccan announced on Sunday that it is ceasing its operations until further notice and all employees are being put on sabbatical without pay, the first Indian aviation company to succumb to the coronavirus crisis that has led to a 21-day lockdown and virtually paralysed the sector.

In an email to his employees, Air Deccan CEO Arun Kumar Singh said, "In view of the recent global and domestic issues and subsequent directive by the Indian regulator (to suspend all commercial passenger flights till April 14), Air Deccan has no choice but to cease its operations until further notice."

"With heavy heart, I am also compelled to inform that all existing employees of Air Deccan (permanent, temporary and contractual) are being put on sabbatical without pay with immediate effect," he added in the email, which has been accessed by PTI.

Air Deccan has a fleet of four 18-seater Beechcraft aircraft to fly on regional routes in western India, focusing on Gujarat.

Singh said in his email: "Next week, the management will hold meetings with department heads for continuity of certain key personnel (with continuity of employment terms) to ensure that when the right time arrives, the airline can be restarted with nominal efforts."

"I personally assure you as and when Air Deccan recommences the operations under conducive circumstances, all existing employees will be offered first right of refusal for their current positions," he added.

India has imposed a 21-day lockdown from March 25 to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Consequently, all domestic and international commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this time period.

However, cargo flights, offshore helicopter operations, medical evacuation flights and special flights permitted by Indian aviation regulator DGCA are operating during this lockdown.

Many airlines in India are close to bankruptcy as their cash reserves are running out amid the lockdown, industry body FICCI had told Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman through a letter last Wednesday.

While other airlines have introduced various cost cutting measures such as laying off pilots, leave without pay and salary cuts, Air Deccan is the first casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
05/04/20 Deepak Patel/PTI/Outlook

Sikkim receives essential medical kits to fight COVID-19

A consignment of essential medical commodities from Delhi has arrived in Sikkim on Saturday.
This consignment was delivered by Air India cargo plane from New Delhi to Bagdogra airport and then Indian Air Force helicopters have transported it from Bagdogra airport to Gangtok.
It is informed that the consignment of 165 boxes of around 1978 kgs, which contains 5098 Personal Protection Equipment kits, 10000 numbers of N95 masks, 2.24 lac pieces of 3 ply masks, 300 disposable gowns and 3000 VTM kits.

While briefing about the consignment, the chief minister P S Golay in his facebook page wrote, “Despite the shortage in the market our Government contacted various suppliers and transferred the consignment from Mumbai via New Delhi and Bagdogra. We assure you that our Government will do everything possible to ensure that all the essential items are available for our people. This will help our frontline workers to be more efficient against our fight with COVID-19. The safety of every Sikkimese is our priority and we will take every necessary step to ensure that.”
05/04/20 Sagar Chhetri/Northeast Now

IndiGo flight with medical supplies lands at Agartala airport

The first-ever IndiGo cargo flight, carrying a consignment of essentials, landed at the Agartala airport on Saturday.
The flight that flew from Kolkata, landed at Agartala’s Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport at 1:16 pm and it carries a consignment of 109 cartons of essential medical supplies weighing 1551 kilograms.
This is the fourth cargo flight that has reached Agartala carrying essential supplies amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
Earlier, two Air-India flights and one helicopter brought cargo to Agartala.
04/04/20 North East News

Grounding of planes partially hits IMD’s weather data supply

New Delhi: The grounding of the country’s civilian aircraft has strangled a key source of weather data that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) uses for its forecasts. Officials, however, clarified that India’s annual monsoon forecast system was on track, with the first forecast scheduled to be issued in mid-April.
Aircraft relay data about temperature and wind speed in the upper atmosphere to meteorological agencies the world over and this is used in the dynamical models, the ones which are run on super computers and relied on to give weather forecasts three days, or even two weeks ahead. “Inputs from aircraft are important for the dynamical models as it determines the initial conditions for these models,” D.S. Pai, chief forecaster, IMD Pune, told The Hindu. “However for the monsoon forecast, which is a long-term forecast, this isn’t significantly affected.”
Beginning mid-March, India began restricting incoming international flights into the country and by March 24 had imposed a total shutdown on domestic air travel as well.
This year, the IMD will likely rely on its traditional statistical forecast system — the workhorse, developed on the basis of historical data. India had begun to move away from this system and started to rely on its dynamical models as it better captures developing changes in the atmosphere. However, India’s dynamical models are still not as adept as meteorologists want them to be, for warning of a drought or extreme changes in monsoon rainfall. That, and limited data from aircraft as well as a general decline in land-based observations because of a shortage of manpower to send observations are forcing the agency’s hand.
04/04/20 Jacob Koshy/The Hindu

Passengers can make bookings from April 15 onwards: AirAsia

New Delhi: Budget passenger carrier AirAsia India on Saturday said that passengers can continue to make their bookings for flights that wil be operated from April 15 onwards.

"If at all there is any change based on the direction provided by the regulator, we will abide to the policies and notify guests accordingly," a spokesperson of the airline said.

At present, no foreign or domestic passenger flight operations are allowed till April 14.
On Thursday, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said that domestic airlines are free to accept ticket bookings for flights that will be operated post the current lockdown deadline.

According to the senior official, the current lockdown period is till the midnight of April 14 and if this is not extended then these bookings will be honoured.
05/04/20 daijiworld

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Air India stops bookings for domestic, international flights till April 30

New Delhi: National carrier Air India has stopped bookings for domestic and international flights till April 30 as it awaits a decision from the government on the lockdown that ends on April 14, according to a spokesperson.
No-frills carriers IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir said they are taking bookings for domestic flights starting April 15. In the case of SpiceJet and GoAir, they have started selling tickets for international flights from May 1.
An IndiGo spokesperson said bookings for international flights remain suspended.
Full service carrier Vistara said it has started bookings for travel from April 15.
Commercial flights on domestic and international routes have been suspended till April 14 amid the nationwide lockdown to prevent spreading of coronavirus infections.
The Air India spokesperson said bookings have now been closed till April 30 from Friday.
"We are awaiting a decision post April 14," he added.
Spokespersons for SpiceJet and GoAir said bookings are open for travel on domestic flights from April 15 and for international flights from May 1.
"We continue to take bookings from April 15 onwards as of now. We will take action otherwise if there is any new notification from the (civil aviation) ministry," a Vistara spokesperson said.
There was no immediate comment from budget carrier AirAsia India.
On Thursday, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said airlines are free to take ticket bookings for any date after April 14.
The 21-day nationwide lockdown began on March 25.
04/04/20 PTI/Banglore Mirror

DGCA extends validity of airworthiness certificate of planes allowed to fly during lockdown

New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA on Friday announced that it is temporarily extending the validity of airworthiness review certificate (ARC) of all aircraft, which are permitted to operate during the 21-day lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus, till July 3.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in a circular, said while no domestic and international commercial passenger flight is permitted till midnight on April 14, aircraft can fly if they are being used for cargo operations, medical evacuation flights, off-shore helicopter operations and flights, especially permitted by the regulator.
"Some of the aircraft intended for such operations may have their ARC expiring. This circular provides the procedure for extending the validity of ARC of these aircraft for a limited period," the circular added.

The regulator said if the ARC of such planes has expired on or after March 23, the operator should send an email to its regional office to get the validity extended.

"The circular is a temporary measure and is valid till July 3, 2020, or till the normal functioning of the concerned RAO (Regional Airworthiness Office)/ Sub Regional Airworthiness Office (SRAO) is resumed, whichever is earlier," the DGCA noted.

The aviation regulator clarified that once the normal functioning of RAO or SRAO is resumed, the operator of the aircraft must apply for regular extension of the ARC within a period of 15 days.
03/04/20 PTI/New Indian Express

Aviation industry braces for prolonged recovery from coronavirus pandemic

International seat capacity has dropped by almost 80% from a year ago and half the world's airplanes are in storage, new data shows, suggesting the aviation industry may take years to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
"It is likely that when we get across to the other side of the pandemic, things won't return to the vibrant market conditions we had at the start of the year," said Olivier Ponti, vice president at data firm ForwardKeys.
Read Reuters' analysis in full >>

India's first medical cargo plans to bring back test kits from China on April 5

On April 5, the first medical cargo flight from India will leave for China. This special Air India flight will be used to bring medical cargo from China, including novel coronavirus test kits. The governments of both countries are hoping that more such flights will operate between India and China in the near future.

Going by reports, the flight on Sunday will bring back antibody rapid tests which serve as an alternative to RT-PCR tests for confirmation of Covid-19. The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has already placed an order for 10 lakh test kits, however, it is unclear how many of these will be imported from China.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, authorities in both India and China have been coordinating efforts to reduce the spread of the disease. Chinese official media on Saturday revealed that 95 police officers and 46 medical workers in the country died while battling the surge in novel coronavirus cases that originated from Wuhan city in Hubei province.
04/04/20 Poulomi Saha/India Today


Air India flight with 112 French citizens stuck in Kerala due to lockdown, depart from Cochin airport

A special Air India flight from Kerala’s Kochi on Saturday morning, took a total of 112 French nationals, stuck in the state since the 21-day lockdown began to arrest the flow of Coronavirus pandemic.

The special Air India flight arrived from Bengaluru with passengers and  took off at  08:13 today from Cochin international airport. The flight will go to Mumbai and then depart for Paris, where more of them are waiting to travel to France.

Similar flights were operated to ferry German and Omani nationals from the state in the past few days. These people came  to the state either as tourists or for health checkups and ayurveda treatments and got stuck here due to the flights cancellation because of the lockdown.
Cochin airport officials expressed their intent that they are ready to do similar operations to fly out other nationals who are stuck in the state.
04/04/20 Statesman

Air India pilot unions oppose 10% cut in employees' allowances

State-owned Air India's pilot unions on Friday opposed the 10 percent cut in employees' allowances, terming the decision as "unequal" and that goes against the spirit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the companies to ensure that the salaries of the employees are not slashed amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a joint letter to Air India chief Rajiv Bansal on Friday, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said the reduction in allowance was against the labour and employment ministry's advisory to all employers of public or private establishments not to terminate their employees or reduce their wages.

"We, the flying crew of Air India feel, immensely let down by the self-serving approach of the Executive Management Committee in the name of cost cutting measures. The committee has completely disregarded the appeal made by the prime minister and the advisory from the labour and employment ministry," the pilot unions said.
Two days after Modi's appeal during his televised address to the nation on imposition of a 21-day lockdown to curb spread of the coranvirus infection, to companies not to cut employees salaries (due to the lockdown), Air India decided to reduce 10 percent of allowances paid to all employees, except cabin crew, for a period of three months to tide over the economic fallout of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. The reduction, however, did not impact the basic pay, house rent allowance and variable dearness allowance.

On March 18, the airline had decided to withdraw special allowance to pilots while revising downward the layover allowance for cabin crew. Significantly, flying allowance accounts for as much as 70 percent in a pilots' salaries.
"By effecting a 10 percent cut in allowances for all employees, the category that has been affected the most are pilots. Flying-related allowances of pilots' wages allowances constitute to 70 percent of the gross emoluments.

"By affecting a cut only on allowances, the directors and senior management executives have deviously exempted themselves from any meaningful austerity cut as their allowances are extremely small while pilots and cabin crew who are the frontline warriors flying and risking their lives, are forced to bear the maximum cut," the unions said in the letter.
03/04/20 PTI/moneycontrol.com

Domestic cargo flights strengthen India’s fight against Covid-19

New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation is undertaking continuous efforts at policy level and ground level to add substantially in the country’s fight against Covid-19. The cargo delivered to various parts of the country includes COVID-19 related reagents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits & PPE, masks, gloves & other accessories of HLL & cargo requisitioned by State/UT Governments and also postal packets.

With the delivery of essential medical supplies to various states and ICMR centres across the country, the following has been achieved:

Delivery of reagents/ medical kits enables testing of patients on time and hence further steps are taken accordingly

Doctors as well as other people can protect themselves and others with the use of masks and gloves delivered through these flights

Medical supplies delivered to NE and remote areas ensures that no region of the country is left behind in this fight against Covid-19.
04/04/20 Orissadiary.com

Wuhan & IC 814 heroes among 61 pilots ‘rested’

New Delhi: The coronavirus pandemic has done something that the hijackers of Indian Airlines’ flight IC 814 in December 1999 could not — impact the flying career of Captain Devi Sharan who was operating that fateful flight on an Airbus A300.
The retirement age in Air India is 58 and many senior pilots are hired on contract on attaining that milestone. Pilots can fly commercially till they turn 65.
Air India had retained the IC 814 commander, who for last eight years is flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, on contract two years ago. Earlier this week, AI temporarily suspended the post-retirement contract of 61 pilots, including Captain Sharan. Among those on this list is Captain S H Reza who was one of the four pilots operating first of the two special jumbo jet charters sent to Wuhan on January 31 and February 1 to fly out Indians stranded there.

Captain Reza later got a formal appreciation letter from the government.
Captain Sharan, who joined IA in 1985 on the Boeing 737 classic and was widely applauded for his calm handling of the IC 814 crisis, refused to comment on the issue, saying he is “not authorised to speak to the media.”

A senior pilot who has flown with Captain Sharan said: “At 60, we have five years of flying left. Hopefully things will get resolved and there will be a full recovery that will see us back in the flight deck.” Amen to that!

AI’s move came as a cost-saving measure because corona has dealt a body blow to commercial passengers flights and airline revenues. All airlines are taking similar steps to cut costs and somehow survive the invisible virus’ deadly attack on both human life and livelihoods. Highly experienced pilots like Captain Sharan, who are of the rank of examiner and instructor, were retained by airlines due to a crippling shortage of captains in peak travel times witnessed not so long back. Today, a large number of airlines are on the verge of closure with their fleets grounded.
04/04/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Stranded in Mumbai, Dutch tourists finally fly back home

Mumbai: Five Dutch tourists, who were stranded in Mumbai amid the national lockdown, flew back to Europe on Thursday in a special recovery flight chartered by Germany.
TOI had earlier reported that the group, along with their dog, were on an international road trip and had travelled to 21 countries in their car. Their dog named Jam will stay back in India for some more months, as it wasn't allowed back on the recovery flight.
"We found a shelter in Malad where Jam will be well taken care of. I will try to return to Mumbai around October, hoping that the situation would improve by then," said Weagert Beugelink, a Dutch police officer who was among the stranded tourists.
The group had started their trip from Amsterdam 11 months ago in a Landcruiser. They were in Gujarat for Holi when the coronavirus outbreak began. By March 24, they reached Mumbai and put up at an AirBnB property in Madh. But local shopkeepers were not too keen on selling them groceries for fear of contracting coronavirus. They managed with the food they had stocked up.
"We were in regular touch with the Netherlands Consulate in Mumbai. We were told that Germany was planning to charter Air India aircraft to fly back its citizens to Frankfurt and we could go on one of these flights. But we had to get our landcruiser to the customs warehouse first," said Beugelink. The plan was to send over the car on a shop. As the docks are closed during the national lockdown, Beugelink was asked to leave the vehicle at the customs warehouse in Uran with all documents inside. The issue was driving the vehicle amid the curfew 75 kms from Madh to Uran. After trying for several days, the group finally got police permission to drive down on Wednesday. This was cutting it very close as their flight to Frankfurt was on the next day.
04/04/20 Nitasha Natu/Times of India

Vistara To Start Operations After Lockdown Period Unless New Directive Says Otherwise

Mumbai: As the nation is under a 21-day lockdown causing a commercial transportation ban ending on April 14, Vistara Airlines has announced that they would start taking flight bookings from April 15 unless a new directive from the Ministry of Civil Aviation is issued.

The airline spokesperson said in a statement, "We continue to take bookings from April 15 onwards as of now. We will act otherwise if there is any new notification from the ministry."
On the other hand, even though no decision has been taken to extend the duration of the nationwide lockdown, national carrier Air India has announced that all ticket bookings will be closed from Friday onwards till April 30.

However, this decision will be reviewed after April 14, the last day of the nationwide lockdown. Currently, all domestic and international flight operations in India have been suspended till April 14. Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had revealed that no call had been taken yet on revoking the suspension of air travel after the lockdown period.
04/04/20 Pritesh Kamath/Republic

AirAsia India says flight bookings to resume from April 15

Budget carrier AirAsia India on Saturday said bookings for its flights are open from April 15, but it it is open to any change in case aviation regulator DGCA issues fresh directives on the issue.

Domestic and international commercial flights in the country are suspended till April 14 amid the lockdown to curb spreading of coronavirus infections. Most of the airlines have commenced taking bookings for their flights from April 15 onwards.

However, on Friday state-owned Air India said it has stopped bookings till April 30 and is awaiting a decision after April 14, when the nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end.

"Passengers can continue to make their bookings with us from April 15 onwards," an AirAsia India spokesperson said on Saturday in response to a PTI query.

In case there is any change based on the direction provided by the regulator, he said, "We will abide to the policies and notify guests accordingly."

On Thursday, civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said airlines are free to take ticket bookings for any date after April 14. The 21-day nationwide lockdown began on March 25.
04/04/20 PTI/CNBC TV18

First Batch of 1,000 Rapid Test Kits Flown to Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: Around 1,000 kits for rapid testing of Covid-19 have been flown into the city, which is among the virus hotspots identified by the central government, while more kits are on their way. The testing kits will be handed over to the district collector.

Announcing the arrival of the first batch of the testing kits, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also thanked SpiceJet for helping transport the kits.
Tharoor’s office said Rs 57 lakh from the Congress leader’s MPLAD funds were used to procure the kits. “The MP has also given Rs 1 crore to Sree Chitra Institute for developing their testing kits, which will be sent to the ICMR for approval. An order for 3,000 kits has been placed at My Labs, a Pune-based company which has permission from the ICMR to produce the kits,” his office said.

It added that orders have been placed for 9,000 personal protection equipment from Ernakulam of which the first lot of 500 has been delivered and another 500-1000 will be delivered by next week.

The need for rapid testing kits was also expressed by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan during a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and counterparts of other states. Vijayan had sought the Centre’s help in procuring kits from Hong Kong.
03/04/20 Neethu Reghukumar/CNN-News18

Flyers reluctant to book tickets

Patna: Even as airlines have started accepting online bookings for domestic flights after April 14, the response of flyers is far from satisfactory.
People are so scared of coronavirus that even lower airfares on different routes have failed to enthuse them. While a trip from Delhi to Patna from April 18 till May 31 will cost only Rs 1,900-Rs 2,100 per passenger, the average airfare on Delhi-Patna route is between Rs 2,500 and Rs 5,000, according to travel websites. Similarly, the airfare on Patna-Mumbai route has come down to Rs 3,384 post lockdown period.
Aviation experts said people are refraining from booking flight tickets fearing extension of lockdown and further spread of coronavirus. “Even though we are not able to track the number of bookings as they are being made online, we have received several emails regarding queries,” a SpiceJet executive at Patna airport said.
04/04/20 Archi Rani/Times of India

Situation pessimistic, aviation, tourism hit hard by coronavirus: Arvind Panagariya

New Delhi: Despite Indian industries, especially aviation and tourism, being hard hit by the Coronavirus, Former Niti Aayog Vice-chairman, Arvind Panagariya is convinced that India will overcome the hurdles caused by COVID-19 lockdown.

In a conversation with ET NOW, talking about the economic repercussions of the 21-day nationwide lockdown in India, Panagariya said, "I have absolutely no doubt in the resilience of India. We have come out of very severe poverty and the prosperity we see around it relatively new. So, we know how to deal with adversity."

"With the growth we have had in the last 20 years, we do have some social safety nets and resources. The government's ability to deal with such adversity and its effects today is a lot better than it was 30 years ago. So, I am quite convinced that we can overcome these hurdles," he added.

It is worth mentioning that Rating agency Fitch on Friday cut its GDP growth forecast for India to 2 per cent for the fiscal year ending March 2021 after lowering it to 5.1 per cent previously. This will make it the slowest growth in India over the past 30 years.

Talking about this Panagariya said, "There is a lot of uncertainty right now as to how the phasing out of the lockdown will play out, how the external trade will be opened, how the flights and transportation etc will be opened. So, today because everything is closed down, it looks overly pessimistic."
04/04/20 ETNowNews.com

India will face most job losses in Asia-Pacific: IATA

The Indian aviation market could suffer estimated losses of up to $8,838 million due to the pandemic, warned International Air Transport Association (IATA). In a report released on Friday, the apex body representing 290 global airlines said the impact could result in 22.47 lakh people losing their jobs.
The IATA report released its country-specific projection of the pandemic’s impact on Asia-Pacific states including India for the first time. According to the report, India is expected to suffer a drop of 36 per cent in passenger demand and a reduction of 6.85 crore in passenger volume at origin destinations. This could result in revenue losses to the tune of $ 8,838 million which could impact the national GDP in losses of $ 12,709 million.
The report projected that the Indian aviation sector could suffer potential job losses of 22.47 lakh personnel, which was the highest among 27 Asia-Pacific countries. The list includes Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam among top aviation markets.
In comparison with India, Japan was projected to suffer a passenger demand drop of 38 per cent resulting in revenue losses to the tune of $17,765 million and potential job losses of 4.48 lakh personnel. IATA said Sri Lanka would face a 44 per cent reduction in passenger demand, revenue losses of $ 562 million and job losses to the tune of 3.13 lakh. Pakistan was projected to suffer a 40 per cent drop in passenger demand, revenue losses of up to $ 1,438 and job losses to the tune of 1.98 lakh.
Urging governments in Asia-Pacific region to take urgent steps to provide financial stimulus packages to the airline industry, IATA said major Asia-Pacific states could see a drop in passenger demand in 2020 by 34 to 44 per cent and could suffer revenue loss of $88 billion.
04/04/20 Satish Nandagaonkar/Mumbai Mirror

Flying ban lands 80% of Indian aircraft at top six airports

New Delhi: India’s top six airports, including the two biggest hubs of New Delhi and Mumbai, are now home to about 80% of the civilian aircraft that have had to remain on the ground since the authorities enforced a blanked flying ban last week to help contain the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
 “Indian carriers have around 650-odd planes in their fleet and parking for these airplanes is not a problem. All airports together, including the government-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) airports, can handle many more planes,” said a senior AAI official, who did not wish to be named.
 Airport officials said that Delhi airport itself has parking bays for about 196 aircraft and Mumbai has place for about 100 aircraft. Data sourced from industry sources and flight tracking portals show that at top six airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai — 538 of the total 650 aircraft are parked.
 Sources, however, added that planes are also parked at one of the runways at Delhi airport, which is the only facility in India that has three runways. “During operations, planes are used for domestic operations during the day and same planes are then used for international operations at night. So, at any given time, the number of parked planes is not high, as airlines would also want to keep flying these planes,” said an airline executive. The executive added that there is enough space to park planes in the country.
 “Airports like Delhi have allowed parking of planes at one the runways, thus creating space for parking,” said the executive. A Delhi airport executive said that parking on the runway was a temporary arrangement after a large number of planes flying domestic routes came in to park in the facility. India closed itself to international flights starting last Sunday and grounded all domestic flights starting Tuesday, causing planes to be parked at various airports.
 04/04/20 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Repatriation flights for US citizens stranded in India to start from April 4

New Delhi: Multiple flights from New Delhi to San Francisco will be arranged to repatriate US citizens stranded in northern and eastern India due to a lockdown in the country to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the American embassy here said on Friday.
 The flights will begin operating from April 4, the embassy said. US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster lauded the government's efforts to fight coronavirus.
 "The U.S. Mission supports the Government of India in the fight against #COVID19. Impressive to see the public support for the lockdown and social distancing, with no sign of civil unrest. #USIndia," Juster said in a tweet.
 The embassy has asked US citizens to share their location and other details by filling out the form at https://tinyurl.com/uscit-indiaso and also register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https:tep.state.gov/ to receive critical information concerning flight opportunities. For US citizens in northern and eastern India, multiple flights from New Delhi to San Francisco are being arranged, the mission said in a statement.
 "Based on prioritization, we will reach out to you directly via email to offer a seat on a flight. Please respond within the time frame specified in the email. We will not be able to accommodate requests for specific flight preferences," the statement said. The embassy said it is planning to facilitate transportation to Delhi from some cities in northern India and will share the via STEP once the arrangements are finalised. "Currently, we are planning flights from Kolkata, Dehradun, and Amritsar to Delhi for onward flights to San Francisco. We are also planning for bus transportation from Jaipur and Dharamshala to Delhi for onward flights to San Francisco," it said.
 03/04/20 PTI/Economic Times

Hyderabad Air Cargo handles shipment of essential supplies

Hyderabad: During this tumultuous time, when the world is reeling under the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and India is in a state of complete lock-down, there is a dire need for movement of medical equipment and essential goods. In the wake of this, recently, DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation), Govt. of India has permitted cargo operations using existing passenger category aircraft subject to specific guidelines issued by the regulator.
Under this new arrangement, GMR led Hyderabad Air Cargo handled its first international shipment of essential supplies via passenger aircraft operating a cargo flight on 2nd April 2020.

Qatar Cargo QR 8311 landed at 1.35 AM on 2nd April with medical & other essential supplies bound for Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana. The same aircraft uplifted 28 Tons of essential supplies from Hyderabad and departed at around 3 AM on the same day to Doha and connected the shipments from thereon to other corners of the globe.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. SGK Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), said, “Extraordinary situations require extraordinary solutions. We are happy that DGCA has proactively permitted cargo operations using passenger category aircraft. This has opened a window of opportunity for the aviation community to leverage the fleet of idled passenger aircraft to help meet the desperate need for air cargo capacity to carry essential medicines and other supplies across the globe during this moment of global crisis. Having successfully handled the first such flight to operate into Hyderabad under the new DGCA guidelines, we remain committed to supporting continued operations of our nation’s air cargo lifeline in the days to come.”
03/04/20 Mohammed Hussain/Siasat Daily

Dundee family stuck in India after coronavirus grounds flights home

Rose Alcorn, 74, her partner Derek Yarwood, 64, daughter Marie Alcorn, 55, and her partner Joe Carol, 72, were due to fly home from Goa on Saturday, passing through Dhoa on the way.

All flights out have been grounded.

The family have been staying in rented self-catering accommodation in Goa for the past month and are relying on their kind-hearted hosts for food.

To make matters worse, Rose, from Myrekirk Terrace, is on medication after she had a stroke two years ago and also has high blood pressure. Marie, of Duncarse Road, is also on medication for COPD – a lung condition.

Both women only took enough medication to last their holiday and only managed to get more supplies today (Wed) after Marie was taken to hospital after falling ill.

She was suffering from pins and needles in her legs and her hands turning inwards, thought to be related to her condition.
Rose’s other daughter Donna Alcorn, 53, had also been on the holiday with them but flew home to Dundee last week with her partner John Cargill, 63.

Donna, of Lyndhurst Place, said: “It’s horrendous, I just want them home safe and sound as quickly as possible.

“I’m scared they will run out of medication, they had to go to three hospitals before anyone would see them and they could get medication.
“They’re just sitting on their balcony unable to go out and not knowing when they can come home. We’re desperate to have them back.”

Donna said the group have tried calling Qatar Airlines to find out details of when flights might return, but cannot get an answer.

And she said they have tried contacting the British Embassy via phone and email to no avail.
Chris Law, MP for Dundee West, said: “The Foreign Office needs to get their finger pulled out and get residents home – it’s putting people’s lives at risk.

“They have announced funding for it but we don’t know how they are prioritising who comes home.

“They’ve been advising us to tell constituents to crowd fund and raise savings to get themselves home but any flights that are still running are charging extortionate rates.
“There are too many people stuck in foreign countries, the Foreign Office needs to use the resources we have which are currently grounded to fly people home.”

The foreign secretary and Indian foreign minister have agreed coordinated measures to help get UK and Indian nationals home, including extended visas until April 15.
03/04/20 Sheanne Mulholland/Evening Telegraph

Airlines are having a hard time to furnish full refunds amidst lockdown

According to reports, airlines are having a hard time trying to refund passengers for their cancelled flights. All major domestic and international airlines are currently grounded due to the nation-wide lockdown. Passengers usually get a full refund when a flight gets cancelled; if they cancel the flight themselves, a cancellation fee gets deducted from their refund.

Now with the Corona epidemic spread all over the world, airlines are facing a hard time because there are hardly any bookings anymore. While, on the other hand, they are actually constantly getting requests for cancellations and refunds.

This is leading to a whole different scenario as most Indian carriers are converting the refund amount into pre-paid vouchers that can be used in the future, the period for this varies from one airline to another. Passengers would be required to pay for the fare difference during that time.
However, there are passengers who are insisting on a refund, so you could probably do that at the cost of a hefty cancellation charge. This means that you will not be getting the full refund on your cancellation. This has, of course, caused travellers to get annoyed, but these are extraordinary times, and such hiccups are bound to happen.
04/04/20 Times Travel

11 CISF personnel test positive for Covid-19 near Mumbai

Mumbai: At least 11 Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel have contracted novel coronavirus at Panvel near Mumbai, a local civic official said on Friday.

It is suspected that they caught the infection while on duty at the Mumbai International Airport, the official said.

"Five of the CISF personnel had tested positive earlier while six more tested positive on Friday," he said.

Panvel which comes under Navi Mumbai has a total of 14 coronavirus cases at present.

The infected CISF personnel were posted at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai.

"At least 146 CISF personnel including officers were tested," a senior official from the Konkan Divisional Commissioner's office told PTI.

After five personnel tested positive, samples of others were collected, the official added.
03/04/20 PTI/India Today

47 Omanis airlifted from Kochi airport

Kochi: As many as 47 Omani citizens, who were stranded here after reaching a month ago for ayurvedic treatment, left for the country on a special Oman Air flight on Friday. There were 53 Omanis in total, but six of them who were on stretcher could not fly as the aircraft did not have the facility to take them. They were later shifted back to the hospital.

The Omanis, who had completed their 14-day home quarantine, left the airport following the Centre’s intervention. The Omani citizens, who were shifted to the airport in separate taxis, were allowed to board the flight after medical examination. The Oman embassy in India oversaw the passenger transition. Their baggages were disinfected at the airport.
04/04/20 New Indian Express

Bengaluru airport''s gesture to needy during lockdown

Bengaluru: The Bengaluru International Airport Limited, which managing the operations of Kempegowda International Airport, said on Saturday that it has launched called Namma Chethana, an initiative, to provide 3,500 meals along with a host of other corporates located on the airport premises. "As a responsible corporate citizen, BIAL, working together with other corporates located on the BLR Airport campus HMS Host, Satis Dining, Taj Bangalore and TFS has launched a joint initiative to provide 3,500 meals each day for affected people amid the lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak," the BIAL said in a statement.
With the support of district administration, the food is distributed to those in need, the BIAL said adding that approximately 3,500 daily meals, include 2,000 packages for lunch and 1,500 for dinner.
These are packed at on the airport premises and delivered to stranded migrant workers, daily wage earners, villagers, policemen, and those working in the unorganised sector across Chikkaballapura district, the BIAL said.
04/04/20 PTI/Outlook

AERA slashes user development fee at Hyderabad international airport

Hyderabad: The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) has issued Tariff Order for the second control period (01.04.2016 – 31.03.2021) for GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL), a step down subsidiary of the Company.

The new tariff order will make flying out of Hyderabad cheaper for both domestic and international travelers.

The regulator AERA has considered 30% Hybrid Till, to be implemented from April 1, 2020 and to be effective for upto March 31, 2021 after which new tariffs would be applicable for next control period of 5 years, the diversified infrastructure company informed BSE.

Upon implementation of this Tariff Order, the user development fee (UDF) on domestic and International departing passenger shall be levied at Rs 281 and Rs 393 respectively.

Earlier flyers from Hyderabad had to pay up more. While international travelers had to pay Rs 1700, the domestic travelers were paying up Rs 393.
04/04/20 V Rishi Kumar/Business Line

Flight cancelled due to lockdown? You don’t have to pay charges to get Spicejet tickets reissued

The nationwide lockdown imposed suddenly to contain the spread of highly contagious Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 resulted into cancellation of railway and air services in the country. Apart from causing inconvenience, the cancellations have caused monetary losses to the airlines as well as passengers.

Due to the lockdown, the bookings with travel dates from March 25, 2020 till April 14, 2020, will automatically get cancelled.
To minimise the adverse monetary impact, budget airline Spicejet has revised its cancellation and change policy, which will be applicable on all bookings with travel date from March 25, 2020 till April 14, 2020.

Under the policy, the bookings will get automatically cancelled with zero cancellation fee and a Credit Shell for the full amount will be created, which may be used to make another booking for the same passenger(s) for travel on or before February 28, 2021.

For this purpose, Spicejet has created a Credit Shell to transfer the cancellation amounts of the passengers, whose flights are cancelled as per the directives of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) due to the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Credit Shell is a form of credit note, which can be used to make a new booking with Spicejet for the same passenger(s) for travel on or before February 28, 2021.
04/04/20 Amitava Chakrabarty/Financial Express

Manipur govt. trying to trace 30 travelers who flew with COVID-19 patient on AI 889

Guwahati:  Manipur government is trying to trace 30 passengers at high risk who flew with the state’s second COVID-19 patient in Air India flight from Delhi to Imphal on March 11.
The Air India flight AI 889 had sat on 8D.
After the Nizamuddin episode, those who were returned to the state were examined. This patient was found positive. He was admitted to and stayed there for Peace Hospital, Porompat in Imphal East before being shifted to the isolation ward of RIMS Hospital in Imphal.
The staff at Peace Hospital are now under quarantine.
It is important to note that, Nizamuddin has now emerged as a hotspot for COVID-19 in India. Despite warnings from the government which had banned mass gatherings, authorities at Nizamuddin had gone ahead with the margaz where more than 2000 people from the country as well as all around the world had participated.
A lot of people who went back after attending the religious gathering had tested positive for coronavirus. Some deaths have also occurred.
It was on March 13 when 3400 people had arrived there for Tablighi Jamaat. This was when the Delhi CM had warned against mass gatherings of more than 200 people.
04/04/20 Sentinel