Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Jet Airways seeks SpiceJet benefits

Jet Airways has lobbied the Narendra Modi government for the same favours and benefits that were extended to SpiceJet when the low-cost airline was trying to extricate itself from a financial mess in 2014.

Jet Airways chief executive officer Vinay Dube told a television news channel that during a recent hour-long discussions with finance minister Arun Jaitley, he had made a strong pitch for government intercession to stave off the crisis that the full-service airline had flown into.

“We requested help from the government within the purview of what they have (done earlier). If you remember the SpiceJet case a little while ago, the government interceded by providing help with fuel companies, providing help with deferment of airport fees,” said Dube who took over the running of the faltering airline 18 months ago.

The oil companies had threatened to turn off the jet fuel spigots at least thrice in as many months after Jet Airways failed to pay its dues, sparking flight cancellations and severe reputational loss for a once-pedigreed airline.

“If you look at how healthy SpiceJet is today, one would think it was the right decision for the travelling public. All we are saying is that we deserve the same. We have a 25-year history; we had the capacity three times that of SpiceJet back then.

“I would say we deserve it; our people deserve it; the travelling public deserves a similar type of government help and intervention to be able to resurrect Jet Airways,” told the channel.

SpiceJet boss Ajay Singh is regarded in aviation circles as someone who is very close to the current dispensation and received a lot of help from it when he took control of the low-cost airline from the Marans.
24/04/19 Telegraph

Fleet expansion by carriers not to make up for Jet absence

New Delhi: Even as SpiceJet and Indigo are aggressively expanding their fleets, they are unlikely to bridge the entire demand-supply gap created by the temporary grounding of Jet Airways.

According to a report by Elara Capital, domestic carriers would potentially add 150 aircraft during the financial year 2020. The fleet size of SpiceJet would be up by 45-50 aircraft, that of IndiGo by 50, GoAir by 10- 15, Air India by 25, and Vistara and AirAsia by 15.

The report, however, says that the net fleet addition in the domestic sector would be only 40 aircraft following the grounding of the Jet Airways fleet, SpiceJet’s grounding of its Boeing 737Max, and deployment of 10 aircraft on international operations.

“If we were to assume 10 per cent domestic demand growth, the net fleet addition requirement would be 50 for domestic operations, which implies the supply would lag demand and result in higher PLF and a consequent higher margin at INR 0.40/seat-km,” the report said.

Jet Airways, till last year, had a fleet of 119 aircraft, but since it started grounding its aircraft over non-payment of dues to lessors, the industry has faced severe capacity constrains, which have pushed up airfares. Now, many of its grounded planes have been leased by SpiceJet, which had to ground a dozen of its Boeing 737 Max planes over safety concerns.
24/04/19 New Indian Express

SpiceJet, Emirates sign MoU for codeshare partnership

SpiceJet and Emirates have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enter into a reciprocal codeshare agreement, which is set to open new routes and destinations for passengers travelling between India and popular destinations across America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

SpiceJet passengers travelling from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangalore, Madurai, Kozhikode and 41 other domestic destinations that the airline operates to, will be able to access Emirates’ expansive network across the globe.

Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet, said: “I am delighted to announce that as part of SpiceJet’s international expansion strategy, we have signed a MoU for a codeshare agreement with Emirates. This new partnership should immensely benefit passengers travelling on both airlines. While SpiceJet passengers from across India will be able to enjoy seamless connectivity leveraging Emirates vast network across Europe, Africa, America and the Middle East those travelling to India on Emirates will be able to travel to 51 destinations across our domestic network.”

SpiceJet passengers travelling from India will have more choice to travel seamlessly with minimum connection times, when flying to destinations in Emirates’ Europe network such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Manchester and Amsterdam. Subject to regulatory approvals, the codeshare agreement will also open up flights for Indian travellers to North and South American destinations such as New York, Washington, Toronto, and Sao Paulo as well as Middle Eastern destinations such as Jeddah, Kuwait and Amman, operated by Emirates.
24/04/19 Indian Awaz

The Jet Airways lesson: Save Indian capitalism from Indian capitalists

The grounding of Jet Airways India Ltd., the country’s oldest private-sector carrier, isn’t just bad news for customers and its 23,000 employees. It raises yet again a question that’s puzzled two successive governments and will continue to bedevil whichever party takes power after elections conclude next month: What’s killing capitalism in India?>>

Jet Airways’ engineers to stage silent appeal on Thursday

Mumbai: Jet Airways’ engineers will make a silent appeal to save the airlines on Thursday. The protest has been planned at Terminal T2 in Mumbai.

There will be no sloganeering, no protest, no disturbance to the general public while making the appeal, a mail written to employees by the engineering team of Jet Airways said.

The letter has asked the engineers to be present for the silent protest in full uniform.
24/04/19 Business Line

Etihad concludes due diligence process for Jet Airways bid

Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways has concluded the due-diligence process before it places its financial bid for acquiring Jet Airways. The other two potential bidders- TPG Capital and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) have also started their respective processes and are expected to bid jointly with Etihad.

SBI Caps last week had opened the window for potential bidders to examine the books of Jet Airways. The lenders now have set May 10 deadline for submitting the binding financial bids, the Hindu Business Line reported.
"Jet Airways has provided a data room where all the necessary documents, information and data related to the airline's assets, debt, costs, governance information and information on employee strength among other things have been opened up for the bidders," a source told the news daily. The bidding process according to the source is going ahead and none of the shortlisted companies (Etihad, TPG Capital and NIIF) as yet have said that they are withdrawing from it.
This comes at a time when the Civil Aviation Ministry is trying to calm the frayed nerves of potential bidders by saying that the vacated slots would be allocated to other airlines on an interim basis for three months and would be turned about once Jet Airways resumes operations.
24/04/19 Business Today

The flight steward who wants to buy grounded Jet Airways

Amid concerns being raised by four shortlisted suitors over the viability of investments into the now-grounded Jet Airways, an unknown British entrepreneur claims to have reached out to bankers to take a controlling stake in the cash-strapped airline.

Jason Unsworth, describing himself as the founder and CEO of Atmosphere Intercontinental Airline on social media, has claimed to have submitted a bid for Jet Airways on his Twitter page.

Unsworth's LinkedIn page shows that he has previously worked as a customer service assistant at Asda Walmart in Essex in UK, then as cabin crew at Ryanair Airline, passenger service agent at Servisair and Swissport, a "team member" at a small Asian restaurant at London Stansted Airport, cabin crew at Oyster Training Group, a retail operative at Primark Stores in London, and as a passenger service agent at where he assisted guests with check-ins and baggage drops until 2018.
His LinkedIn profile further shows he founded Atmosphere Intercontinental Airlines UK in 2005, but the airline is yet to take flight. The company website shows it plans to start flights to Bangkok, Dubai and India and has invited applications for its board and other senior positions. Some of the senior management is made up on family members, as is seen on the airline website.
Unsworth told CNBC-TV18 that he would like to have a controlling stake in Jet Airways and wants to position the company as a premium airline.

"I have been starting an airline in UK for the last 4 years; registered our airline in the UK in 2017 and have been looking for investors to work with. I believe we can save Jet Airways and save some costs of operations for them" he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.
"I contacted Vinay Dube, CEO of Jet, and got a positive response. I would like to have the opportunity to become a shareholder, possibly controlling shareholder of Jet Airways.
"I am inspired by Jet Airways' employees and believe that it's worth putting time and effort to make it a leading airline. I believe in premium products, and believe that low cost airlines can't make profits", he added.
24/04/19 Ritu Singh/CNBC TV18

None will go to jail for funding Air India

After Government of India nationalised Air India by acquiring majority stake from Tata Sons and formed Indian Airlines by taking over and amalgamating the other domestically operating carriers in India we had the domestical Indian Airlines and international Air India since 1953. Initially, they had done very well with JRD Tata at the helm of affairs of Air India as Chairman till 1977 and also as a Director on the board of Indian Airlines. As is the case with most of the public sector enterprises, deterioration started in these enterprises as well with undue political interference, inefficiency and corruption. In 90s, once the Indian government started opening up the economy to private sector, aviation sector was also one among them.
Thus in early 90s came number of private airlines Modi Luft , Damania ,NEPC and the Jet Airways. Most of them folded up within few years . Out of the early birds it is Jet Airways which kept on flying till a few days back when all its flights were grounded when lenders were not willing to pump in extra money to keep it flying.
Read the article in full>>

Air India grounds 4 B-777s for lack of funds, looks to lease five of Jet’s

Debt-laden Air India has approached State Bank of India to lease five Boeing 777 wide-bodied planes owned by Jet Airways, but 19 of its own aircraft, including at least four 777s, have been grounded for months due to lack of funds for maintenance of these planes.
An Air India official told The Indian Express that the airline was in the process of releasing Rs 500 crore to make these planes airworthy. “There are 19 aircraft grounded and these include Boeing 777, Boeing 787, Boeing 747 and Airbus A320s. Some of these aircraft are expected to be back in service by August,” the official said.

An official with Air India Engineering Services Ltd, the airline’s maintenance, repair and overhaul subsidiary, said the company has been cannibalising some of its new aircraft for parts to keep some of the older aircraft airworthy.

“We do not have funds to acquire parts for these planes, so we are taking them from newly delivered planes,” the official said, adding that the parts in question were small ones such as the microphone used by pilots for in-flight announcements.
24/04/19 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

How Vistara Could Become A Dominant Carrier In India

After the demise of Jet Airways, low-cost carriers such as SpiceJet have capitalized on the situation and sought a rapid expansion plan. However, there’s one full-service carrier that could soon become a dominant carrier in India.
Though small as of now, Vistara could soon become a force to be reckoned with.
Read how >>

Jet Air rescue delayed till next month

Lenders of Jet Airways seem to be running out of options to revive the ailing full-service carrier, which has a debt of Rs 8,400 crore. In a meeting on Tuesday, the bankers, led by State Bank of India (SBI), decided to wait till May 10 to scrutinise the binding financial bids of the four investors – Etihad, NIIF, TPG Capital and Indigo Partners – who had submitted their Expression of Interest (EoIs). In the Tuesday meeting, the bankers have decided to take a call on the haircut and other operational issues after scrutinising the financial bids that will be submitted by the investors. "The bidders are yet to approach us for haircuts or write-offs," said a banker in the consortium.

Lenders are pinning their hopes on Etihad Airways coming up with a plan. It also needs to be seen how much of investment would be required to restart the operations. With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is yet to come out on pricing formula to convert debt into equity and the share price tumbling, bankers have little choice but to wait for the binding financial bids. Bankers will decide on the haircut and the write-offs after seeing the investments that the new bidders intend to make in the airline.
"None of the bidders have approached us for any haircut. When we see their financial plan we can negotiate on the haircut and the write-offs.," said the official. "Some of the banks have a charge on 10 to 13 aircraft. So depending on how much will be the recovery and the financial plan of the bidder, we will decide on the haircut," the official said. But it looks difficult for the airline to resume operations considering the investment that would be required to put its flights back on air.

Meanwhile, the share price of Jet Airways has tumbled 45% in the last few trading sessions. But on Tuesday the airline's shares gained as much 13.08% to hit an intra-day high of Rs 174.95 on the National Stock Exchange over the previous close. But analysts said this was only a speculative move.
24/04/19 Manju AB/DNA

SpiceJet chairman on Jet Airways crisis: Absorbed nearly 1,000 employees, will add more

Even as Jet Airways struggles to revive its operations, SpiceJet tries to absorb as many Jet Airways’ employees as possible, Ajay Singh, Chairman of SpiceJet says. The airline has already absorbed nearly 1,000 employees of the struggling airline, he also tells ET Now in an interview. The airline has added 5 aircraft recently and about 40 more would be added to the fleet in the coming weeks, he adds.

Reflecting on problem with the India’s aviation sector, SpiceJet Chairman says it’s time for all the stakeholders to pause and reflect on why this is happening repeatedly in the India’s aviation sector. The industry must come up with a longer-term solution that impacts the aviation sector, he says, adding the ‘temporary’ closure of operations is extremely sad for the sector.

Since the airline owes it to the industry, it plans work towards reducing inconvenience of passengers and Jet employees during the challenging times, he expresses.
The revival of the cash-strapped airline is an uphill task and a much slimmer version of Jet Airways may take to the skies, he adds. The Indian aviation sector has been mired with various challenges and with ATF being taxed as high as 40 per cent, the highest in the world, makes matters more complex, Ajay Singh notes.
The aviation sector veteran was also all praise for the national carrier Air India which has absorbed some of the wide bodied planes of the struggling airline.
On being asked about his plans to offer expression of interest (EoI) for Jet Airways, Ajay Singh says that it’s tough for a small airline like SpiceJet to run a large airline like Jet Airways as they estimated a need of Rs 11,000 crore to remain viable.
24/04/19 Financial Express

SpiceJet got nothing other than moral support from government in 2014: Ajay Singh

Ajay Singh, Chairman & MD, SpiceJet broke his silence and gave an exclusive interview to ET Now on the aftermath of India’s oldest private airlines Jet Airways temporarily shutting down.

The temporary shutdown in Jet Airways brings opportunities for Spicejet. You are looking to take over some of the Jet Airways fleet as well as some of the slots. How big an opportunity is it for Spicejet?

Firstly, I would like to reiterate that it is an extremely sad moment for the entire aviation sector and a brand that India was so proud of. Jet Airways is one of the finest global brands in aviation. For that airline to suspend operations after 25 years of being in business must give us all pause. We must reflect on why this is happening repeatedly in our country. This happened to Kingfisher, it has happened to numerous smaller airlines.
Read the interview in  full >>

Long wait to land force Air India flight to declare May Day in Hong Kong

New Delhi: An Air India flight approaching to land in Hong Kong recently had to declare May Day after hovering for a long time and unavailability of diversion airports — where it would have gone after waiting to land at the destination — due to bad weather. Then in the interest of flight safety, the crew of this Boeing 787 Dreamliner issued the stress call to finally get clearance to land in Hong Kong.

The scare happened on March 20 when AI 315 was operating from Osaka to Hong Kong with over 170 people on board, before flying back to India. “The aircraft had to hold for very long time before landing and hence due (to) critical fuel, the pilot declared May Day. It was no fault of AI,” said an airline spokesman.

Airline officials say the flight had been hovering, waiting for its turn to land at Hong Kong airport. “During this long wait, the aircraft hit diversion fuel. Hong Kong ATC told the flight that the diversion airports were unavailable due to bad weather. At that point in the interest of flight safety the crew declared May Day,” said an AI official.

Fuel uplift for a flight is decided by adding these factors: fuel required for going from origin to destination; hovering fuel at destination; fuel to go to a diversion airport in case the destination is not available for some reason like some aircraft getting stuck on its single runway and finally hovering fuel at alternate/diversion airport.
24/04/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Downfall of Jet Airways: Banks had seen writing on the wall with over a billion dollars to be paid back, but yet acted too late

It has been roughly a week now that Jet Airways has not had even a single plane up in the air. With every passing day, it looks like the management is losing the plot about having an airline which was supposed to be revived and is being disintegrated instead. Let there be no mincing of words: The airline, although one of India’s finest brand ambassadors abroad, was being run by just one person alone, Naresh Goyal.

On the downfall of Jet Airways and the path ahead for the cash-strapped airline >>

Government will preserve slots for Jet Airways; we need one good investor: Vinay Dube

Like in the SpiceJet case a little while ago, the government interceded to provide help with fuel companies and by deferment of airport fees and exception from an open offer, Jet AirwaysNSE 0.82 % also deserves a chance, said Vinay Dube, CEO, Jet Airways, in an interview with ETNOW.

Edited excerpts>>:

Delhi High Court To Hear Application On Relief To Jet Passengers With Tickets On May 1

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that it would hear an application seeking relief to Jet Airways' passengers who bought tickets in advance on May 1, reported news agency ANI (Asian News International). The court observed that the petition was filed for publicity. It asked the petitioner as to why the contents of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) were published in newspapers before the matter came up for hearing. The application was filed on Monday by consumer rights activist Bejon K Misra, whose earlier plea seeking capping of airfares charged by various airlines in the country is still pending before the court.
In his application, Mr Misra claimed that passengers had been severely affected owing to the sudden suspension of Jet Airways services and sought directions to the government to allow them a full refund on their tickets with a reasonable compensation, or to arrange for alternative travel for them to reach their destinations. He said that in the absence of any effective aviation sector regulator, a major crisis was looming over the country.
Meanwhile, Jet Airways is expected to make another plea for an interim funding of at least Rs. 250 crore to its lenders to restart bare minimum operations till May 10, according to news agency IANS.
The lenders, who had called for binding bids from potential investors by May 10, have been unwilling to extend any further fund infusion into the airline.
24/04/19 NDTV

Eight new daily flights between Bengaluru and Mumbai by May 1

Bengaluru: While nine Jet Airways services between Bengaluru and Mumbai have been cancelled, eight new daily flights between the two cities offered by other airlines will start operations from Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) by May 1.
Vistara will operate five new services between Bengaluru and Mumbai starting April 30 and AirAsia India will operate three new services from April 30. Operations of IndiGo’s new service between the two state capitals were kicked off on April 15.
A total of nine services each from Bengaluru to Mumbai and Mumbai to Bengaluru operated by Jet Airways were cancelled by the airlines, which has now temporarily suspended all its operations.

Connectivity between Delhi and Bengaluru is also set to be enhanced with SpiceJet starting a new daily flight between the two cities from April 26. Meanwhile, city-based Star Air kicked off a service between Bengaluru and Belagavi on March 31, while another service between the two cities will begin from May 1.
24/04/19 Times of India

SpiceJet becomes second carrier to link Kozhikode and Jeddah

SpiceJet launched its latest international route on 20 April, commencing a daily service between Kozhikode (CCJ) and Jeddah (JED). The carrier will serve the 4,088-kilometre route using its fleet of 737-800s. It becomes the second airline to offer services between the Indian and Saudi Arabian cities, joining Saudi Arabian Airlines on the sector. It presently serves the route six times weekly using its fleet of A330-300s. Jeddah becomes SpiceJet’s second international route from Kozhikode, with it already offering a daily service to Dubai, while it also provides domestic links to Bengaluru and Chennai. For Jeddah, Kozhikode becomes the second destination flown to by the LCC, adding to the carrier’s existing route to Hyderabad, a connection which is also flown daily this summer, again on 737-800s, of which the airline presently operates 28 according to data.

Aviation failure in every 5 years is a worrying signal: Ajay Singh, Spicejet Chairman

Aviation companies going belly up every 5 years in India is a worrying signal. The sector is a huge contributor to the Indian economy so tax needs to be relaxed, says Ajay Singh.
See video >>

AirAsia offer: Now, grab discount of up to 70% on flight tickets

AirAsia on Wednesday announced a discount of up to 70 per cent on flight tickets on all destinations. The customers can make bookings under the offer for travel are valid between October 1, 2019 and June 2, 2019, the airline’s official website said. The customer can booking flight tickets until April 28, 2019, the airline added.

The discount offer is, however, available on select fare classes and non-peak periods only. The interested flyers must book flight tickets in advance to avail the offer, the airline also said.
The airline also mentioned on the website that a customer would either get up to 70 per cent discount on base fare or 20 per cent off on premium flatbed category. The airline also said that the value pack and premium flex bundled category DJ carrier code flights and QZ carried code domestic flights are not included under the given offer.

Recently, low-budget carrier GoAir also came up with a special price plan offering tickets at a highly discounted rates  on select domestic routes. The tickets could be availed at an all-inclusive price of Rs 1,375 in a limited-period sale. The sale offer is valid for travel until August 31, 2019. The booking could be made till April 25, 2019.
24/04/19 Financial Express

Vistara tenders apology to G D Bakshi over tweet controversy

Two senior executives of Vistara tendered an apology to retired Major General G D Bakshi following a controversy over the airline tweeting, and later deleting, a photo of him with its crew members inside a plane.

The full service carrier, on Sunday, tweeted the photo saying it was honoured to have Bakshi onboard. The tweet attracted criticism, with many citing allegedly controversial comments made by him on various occasions.
Following criticism on the social media platform, the carrier deleted the tweet and issued a statement saying that it does not want its platform to be disrespectful to anyone. However, the deletion of the tweet also attracted the ire of various Twitter users.
Against this backdrop, Vistara executives met Bakshi and tendered an apology.
"It was very nice of Vistara airlines to send two senior officials to my house to tender an apology over the tweeting incident. It was a thoughtful gesture of consideration for the feelings of an old solider," Bakshi said in a Facebook post Monday evening.
24/04/19 PTI/moneycontrol

Scoot flight from Bengaluru to Singapore delayed due false security threat, 173 passengers affected

Singapore – A Singapore-bound Scoot flight from Bengaluru, India, was delayed for almost 14 hours after a false security report was released.
Flight TR573 was supposed to depart from the south Indian city of Bengaluru at 1:20 am local time on April 23 (Tuesday), but due to a verbal security threat, the flight was tentatively rescheduled for take-off 14 hours later.
“Due to a verbal security threat, a passenger had to be removed from the flight by airport security,” said a Scoot spokesperson.
“All passengers were required to undergo security screening and immigration clearance again, and no suspicious items were found. As a result of the additional security procedures, flight time limits of the operating crew were exceeded,” added the spokesperson.
Netizen Haresh Kumar posted a video showing passengers arguing with an airport staff member. He expressed his concern for the lack of communication on the part of the airlines as his parents and niece were among the affected passengers. They were stranded for hours with little information on the cause of delay.
24/04/19 Hana Otsuka/Independent

Nagpur airport privatization after AAI clears lease papers

Nagpur: Last month as chief minister Devendra Fadnavis addressed a function to inaugurate commercial run of the Metro rail, he also announced that bid for privatizing Nagpur airport has been cleared. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is now in the process of finalizing lease documents with GMR, which had emerged as the highest bidder in the tender process. AAI is a joint venture partner in Mihan India Limited (MIL) — the current airport operator along with state government’s Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC).
AAI owns over 500 hectares of land in the airport which it will be leasing out to GMR after it takes over. Sources say MADC is following up the matter with AAI and the process is expected to be over any time. However, at the same time if AAI chooses to get the decision on leasing the land cleared from the central cabinet, the privatization process may have to wait till new government takes over after elections.

Sources said now it is up to the AAI to clear the case at its own level or put up the proposal before the incoming central cabinet.

GMR, which had emerged as the higher bidder as against GVK — the other participant in the tender, had earlier offered to share 5.73% of the revenue with MIL. As against it, the company has now agreed to part with over 14%. This happened in post-bid negotiations following which the deal was cleared. The announcement was made when the Metro rail was being flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through teleconferencing.

A source involved in the process said the final takeover by GMR may happen by September. This is because once AAI board finalizes the lease documents, the matter would be further put up before the central cabinet, to be formed only after the elections.

24/04/19 Times of India

AAI’s ambitious ‘Project Runway’ drags on

Tiruchi: The good news coming out of Tiruchi International Airport is that Airports Authority of India is making big investments in developing the facility despite a dip in international passenger traffic during 2018-19.

The bad news: tardy progress in land acquisition is stalling the runway extension, an important component of the expansion plans.

At the root of the problem lies the fact that while a new terminal is coming up adjacent to the existing building on AAI’s own land, expansion of the runway and other infrastructure at the airport involves land acquisition.

After the first phase of expansion of the runway from 6,000 to about 8,000 feet, carried out over a decade ago, AAI drew up plans to expand it further to 12,000 feet in phases to facilitate operation of bigger and wide-bodied aircrafts.
It sought about a total of 683.32 acres, which included about 337.70 acres of defence land. Last year, the State government accorded administrative sanction to acquire about 345.62 acres, including wetlands, located mostly at the rear of the airport, mainly for expansion of the runway.
A team of revenue officials, headed by a Special Tahsildhar, was formed to carry out the acquisition, but the task is yet to be completed. A section of land owners opposed acquisition of their properties, but district authorities said they had agreed to accept alternative residential sites.
23/04/19 R. Rajaram and S. Ganesan/The Hindu

Chennai has fewer flights this summer

Chennai: The crisis at Jet Airways and the grounding of B737 Max 8 planes by SpiceJet have hit Chennai airport during peak summer season.
A senior official said the number of flights handled by the airport has come down by 70 a day because of these crises.

“The total number of flights handled by the airport has come down from 500 to 430 a day. This reduction in capacity has hit summer travel. We usually see a lot of domestic passengers during the summer, forcing us to introduce arrangements to prevent congestion at the terminals. This time the crowd has shrunk,” he added.

Jet Airways has grounded seven planes — five ATR planes, one B-777 and one B737 — at Chennai after the company suspended operations. SpiceJet has grounded two of its B737 Max 8 planes in Chennai following an instruction from aviation regulator DGCA, due to a safety concern after the Ethiopian plane crash.
Peak hour travel is most affected by the cut in services. Jet Airways had early morning slots connecting Chennai with Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru — the popular metro routes for business travellers and also gateway airports to nearby tourist destinations. This is in addition to flights to small towns.

Withdrawal of services by the third largest airline in terms of routes flown in Chennai has affected availability of seats and has pushed up the air fare.
24/04/19 Times of India

Aamir Khan surprises fans by flying 'economy class'

Bollywood actor Aamir Khan is making headlines for a pretty heartening reason.

While people like singer Mika Singh are really out there booking an entire first class cabin for himself, the 54-year-old actor was seen traveling in a flight in economy class, much to the surprise of his fellow passengers.
The video, which was posted by paparazzi Instagram account 'viralbhayani', has several comments lauding Khan for his humility.

"It's actual class of simplicity," wrote one Instagram user. "Amir bhai masha allah u are real hero economy class," commented another.

Well, since Khan was in an IndiGo aircraft, which has class-less cabins, he technically wasn't flying economy, he was just not flying business class.
24/04/19 Siddhant Pandey/NewsBytes

Mangaluru: Gold worth Rs 35.52 lac seized at airport from 2 passengers

Mangaluru: Customs officials at the international airport here, on Sunday, seized 1.10 kg gold that was being smuggled into the country by two passengers. The gold so recovered is estimated to be worth Rs 35.52 lac.

During the checking of passengers who arrived by Air India Express flight from Doha, the customs officials found 462.97 grams of gold with a passenger that was not backed by any documents. 641 grams of gold worth Rs 20.51 lac was found in the possession of another passenger.
In both the cases, the gold was turned into paste and stuffed into the anus. Both the accused stand arrested.
24/04/19 daijiworld

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube breaks silence on Jet crisis

No last word from lenders on interim funding yet. But, we believe in Jet and will leave no stone unturned to resurrect Jet.
See video: We are in constant touch with lenders: Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube >>

Amid Jet crisis, IndiGo comes through with flying colours

The financial crisis at Jet Airways, and SpiceJet’s troubles due to the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, have benefited IndiGo Airlines the most.

IndiGo further consolidated its leadership position in the domestic market in terms of passengers carried, as its market share expanded to 47 per cent in March, against 44 per cent a month ago.

While India’s domestic passenger traffic grew a marginal 0.1 per cent to 11.6 million, IndiGo reported a 19 per cent growth in passengers to 5.4 million, according to data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

“With the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX in the middle of March, SpiceJet saw a marginal blip in its market share. Go Air, Vistara and AirAsia India gained market share at Jet’s expense and reported a share of 10 per cent, 4 per cent and 6 per cent respectively,” said a report by analysts at Prabhudas Lilladher.

IndiGo has been taking multiple steps to ensure it emerges stronger in the ongoing crisis in the sector. It temporarily added approximately 20 new departures each from Mumbai and Delhi in a phased manner from April 15. It also launched three new international flights.

This comes even as domestic available seat kilometers (ASK), a measure of passenger carrying capacity, slowed down to 5 per cent in March 2019 compared to March 2018. This is the lowest in the past 16 months as the industry continued to witness capacity pull-out.

IndiGo, however, continues to aggressively add capacity, reporting a 26 per cent YoY increase in ASK last month. SpiceJet reported a 13 per cent YoY growth in ASK. However, Jet, with only a handful of aircraft operating due to the ongoing financial crisis, saw its ASK decline 66 per cent YoY.
23/04/19 Forum Gandhi/Business Line

Seamless passenger transfer as Emirates, SpiceJet enters code sharing deal

Mumbai: The passenger transfers at Dubai airport and service differentiation will not be an issue, said Dubai-based airline Emirates as it entered into a code share agreement with SpiceJet on Monday.

Emirates is the largest foreign airline operating to India and its home base, Dubai, is the largest overseas hub for Indian travellers.

Emirates and SpiceJet signed a memorandum of understanding for code shares which will allow passengers from India more travel options.

At present, Emirates operates from Terminal 3 while Spice Jet works from Terminal 1 in Dubai. Also, Emirates is a full service airline with first class and business cabins and full fledged loyalty programme while SpiceJet offers no frills and charges passengers for meals.

An Emirates spokesperson, however, said these issues will not impact passengers.

"There will be no change to the current transfer process between terminals at Dubai international airport. Passengers are transported via an inter terminal shuttle bus which operates between terminals every 20 minutes," Emirates said in a statement.

"It is not uncommon in codeshare partnerships to have mixed cabin itineraries and customers are not averse with this as a seamless connectivity and quicker overall journey takes priority. The codeshare partnership will enable Spicejet customers to experience Emirates’ renowned product and service," the airline added.
23/04/19 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

Emirates - SpiceJet codeshare agreement to help flyers from Mangaluru

Dubai / New Delhi: Emirates Airlines has announced the signing of an initial pact of codeshare with India's budget airlines SpiceJet. This new arrangement could help Indian passengers from various airports and Indian airports to Europe, Africa, America, Middle East and other destinations. The announcement could bring some relief to fliers to and from Indian airports who are disappointed after the closure of Jet Airways.

Passengers traveling from and to Mangaluru airport had Jet airways that connected to USA, Canada, Europe and other popular destinations. But new codeshare agreement between Emirates and SpiceJet will bring huge relief to passengers as SpiceJet will issue boarding pass from Mangaluru to any destinations in the world where Emirates airlines connect. Travelers from Mangaluru can now take SpiceJet flight to Bengaluru, Mumbai or Dubai to take-up onward journey to world's popular destinations via Emirates airlines, under single PNR or reservation. The inconvenience of shifting luggage from one point to other is also solved.
According to Khaleej Times, UAE English daily, the partnership will enable Emirates' passengers to enjoy seamless connectivity on flights to India, leveraging SpiceJet's strong domestic presence and adding six new destinations: Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangaluru, Madurai and Kozhikode - to the nine existing cities in India served by Emirates.

This will bolster Emirates' already-extensive network adding a total of 67 weekly connections between Emirates' hub in Dubai to these six fast-growing destinations in India.
23/04/19 daijoworld

Jet Airways waits for buyer as rivals muscle in on territory

A revival of Jet Airways India Ltd., once the nation's biggest carrier by market value, is at risk as days roll by since its operations were completely halted.

While the cash-strapped carrier awaits potential investors to pump in money, rivals are aggressively going after its most prized assets. A government desperate to limit public backlash after flight ticket prices escalated is parceling off landing and parking slots at congested airports. Lessors are also adding to the woes by allocating grounded aircraft to competitors.

"It appears to me that lenders are not very confident of getting any serious bid," said Harsh Vardhan, chairman of New Delhi-based Starair Consulting. "You can not hold on to slots, and planes are not Jet Airways' property. They have to find a buyer as soon as possible."

Jet Airways, the oldest surviving private airline which broke into a monopoly of Air India Ltd., had a fleet of 124 and flew profitable routes like connecting India, the fastest growing aviation market in the world, with London and Toronto. With nearly 23,000 jobs at stake, its collapse last week couldn't have come at a worse time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who's seeking a second term based on his business-friendly image.

While the arrangement to give Jet's landing slots and aircraft to rivals is temporary, the process to swap them again is complicated and is the domain of airports. It may get more difficult once rivals start new flights and sell tickets in advance, and that could potentially leave close to nothing for a potential new owner.
23/04/19 Bloomberg/Gulf News

Jet Airways union says over 400 pilots left airline in past seven months

More than 400 co-pilots and captains have resigned from the embattled Jet Airways in the past seven months. National Aviators' Guild (NAG), the airline's pilots union, reportedly told its members that 410 pilots have left Jet Airways between September last year and March 31, 2019, which has left the airline with 1,527 pilots on its payroll.
In the communique, the NAG also told its members about several airlines planning to wet lease Jet Airways' grounded aircraft, The Times of India reported. Under a wet lease agreement, the aircraft is provided with the complete crew, maintenance and insurance. So far Air India, AI Express and SpiceJet have evinced interest in leasing Boeing 737s and Boeing 777s from Jet.
Rival airlines wet leasing Jet Airways' aircraft could help employ some of the staff that became unemployed after the debt-laden carrier suspended operations last week. "Wet lease plans are being looked at and clarity will be provided when modalities will be worked out and a concrete plan is available," the report quoted NAG's communication.
Jet Airways temporarily grounded operations last week after lenders refused to infuse Rs 400 crore the airline requested to operate flights. This led to uncertainty about the future of the airline's 16,000 employees.
23/04/19 Business Today

Jet freefall hits domestic air pax volume

Mumbai: Even with the month of March posting the lowest growth rate in many years, domestic air passenger volume grew 14.25 per cent to 171.25 million in fiscal 2019 over the previous year, according to data from the DGCA. In FY18, the passenger volume was at 146.84 million.

In March, air traffic though stayed flat at 0.14 per cent to 11.59 million passengers up from 11.58 million a year ago. Data from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) showed that the low numbers were largely due to the huge capacity reduction following the troubles at Jet Airways in the month.

Budget carrier IndiGo continued to be the largest player with a market share of 46.9 per cent ferrying 54 lakh passengers during the month, while its closest rival SpiceJet was a distant second with 13.6 per cent traffic pie as its ferried 15.81 lakh passengers in the reporting month.

The flat growth in traffic is a setback for the industry which had been clipping at over 20 per cent for more than four years in a row. Significantly, betting on the double-digits growth in the past four years, the government in its vision document released this January, has pegged the traffic volume to 1.1 billion by 2040.
23/04/19 News Today

Firm To Refund Cancellation Amount Due From Jet Airways To "Armed Forces"

Pune: A Pune-based travel firm catering to personal travel needs of armed forces, paramilitary forces and their family members, today said it will refund its customers the amount due from Jet Airways flight cancellations, without waiting for the airline to do the same.
The company did not disclose the quantum of the amount but sources said it would be around Rs. six crore.

The firm, udChalo, is a portal founded by wards of Army men and it provides for personal travel needs of armed forces, paramilitary forces and their family members.

Its employees comprise military veterans, wards of serving and retired military personnel, and paraplegic and quadriplegic veterans.

"With the global lobbying body, International Air Transport Association (IATA), suspending all ticketing activities and transactions of Jet Airways via its clearing house, the uncertainty over refund of lakhs of customers has only increased," the firm's vice president Col (Retd) D B Tingre said.
23/04/19 PTI/NDTV

SpiceJet to start 28 daily flights from April 26

New Delhi: SpiceJet said Tuesday it will start 28 daily flights connecting Mumbai and Delhi with other cities on its domestic network from April 26.
Cash-starved Jet Airways suspended operations last week and the government authorities are in the process of allocating the airport slots vacated by the full-service carrier to other airlines, including SpiceJet, amid efforts to increase capacity to meet peak season traffic.
SpiceJet said Tuesday the new flights from Mumbai are on the Mumbai-Jaipur-Mumbai, Mumbai-Amritsar-Mumbai, Mumbai-Mangalore-Mumbai and Mumbai-Coimbatore-Mumbai sectors.
Moreover, the budget carrier has also enhanced operations with additional frequencies from the city on the routes of Mumbai-Patna-Mumbai, Mumbai-Hyderabad-Mumbai and Mumbai-Kolkata-Mumbai.
"SpiceJet will also introduce two new frequencies each from Delhi to Patna and Bengaluru besides three additional frequencies on the Mumbai-Delhi-Mumbai sector," SpiceJet said.
23/04/19 PTI/Economic Times

AAI set to sue Dutch airline after Indian team misses Archery WC

The Archery Association of India (AAI) has said that it is considering legal action against Dutch airlines KLM, whose “failure to transport the Indian archery team to Colombia” for the World Cup Stage I in Medellin prevented the archers from competing in the major event.

After the selection trials in Bhubaneswar on March 18, the AAI said that it got the sanction of financial assistance from the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for the tour and got the visa for all 23 members of the Indian side.
AAI said the travel agent, Balmer Lawrie and Co., booked ‘confirmed’ tickets on KLM airlines, which told the archers that they could not get the connecting flight from Amsterdam to Medellin due to the delay in an incoming flight and expressed its helplessness in making alternative arrangement.

“The AAI officials, senior SAI officers and the travel agents worked very hard during the weekend to book the team through some other route but could not succeed as the flights were full for Easter weekend…Hence the trip was abandoned informing World Archery and local organisers of World Cup in Columbia,” said AAI in a statement.
23/04/19 YB Sarangi/Sportstar

Air India SPV approaches banks seeking lower interest rates on loans

The government's special purpose vehicle Air India Assets Holding (AIAHL) will soon ask banks to slash interest rates, from 10.5-11 percent at present to nearly 8.5 percent, on the Rs 29,464-crore working capital debt of Air India that it took over.
The loan of Air India was shifted to the SPV back in 2018 to make the airline attractive to potential buyers during the airline's divestment process. An official source told The Financial Express on condition of anonymity that AIAHL will negotiate restructuring and refinancing of the debt.

If this is approved, AIAHL will be free of interest burden of nearly Rs 300-400 crore per year, as nearly Rs 15,000 crore of the expensive debt would be recast. It is unclear whether this would be approved as banks, which includes the State Bank of India, are not obligated to cut the rates.

The decision will largely depend on the banks' management and the central government's persuasion.
On February 28, the Cabinet approved the transfer of Air India's accumulated working capital loan over to AIAHL without the backing of any asset, as a part of the strategic divestment process of the state-run airline. The airline's non-core assets like artefacts and paintings were also kept with the AIAHL, and the entity has a mandate to monetise them. Air India's total debt is reportedly at Rs 55,308 crore.

Jaipur airport: Australian arrested for carrying satellite phone; 2nd foreigner this month

Jaipur: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) arrested a foreign resident identified as Paul for carrying a satellite phone at Jaipur International airport on Monday.

Paul is a resident of Australia and was travelling to Delhi from Jaipur airport in an Indigo flight.

According to the CISF officials, the accused was caught when the scanning machine during Indigo airlines check-in baggage gave an odd signal. The scanner belt was stopped and the officials found a satellite phone in one of baggage that belonged to Paul. The accused was immediately taken into the custody.
The CISF officials handed over the accused to the police for further investigation after the necessary paperwork.

The accused did not inform anyone that he was carrying a satellite phone. Only during the security check, the matter came to light, added officials.
23/04/19 Rimjhim Jethani/PinkCityPost

Chennai airport customs officials seize gold worth Rs 13 lakh concealed in cavities of passenger’s chappals

Chennai: Customs officials at Anna International Airport here on Tuesday seized gold worth Rs 13 lakh which a passenger had concealed in the cavities of his chappals.
Based on specific intelligence, customs officials intercepted Shamsudeen Mohamed, 47, of Chennai at the exit of the arrival hall. He arrived here from Singapore in an Air India flight.
He was questioned, but his replies were evasive. When he was searched, four gold bars -- each weighing 100 gram and of 24 k purity -- were found concealed in special cavities of his chappals. They were seized.
23/04/19 Siddharth Prabhakar/Times of India

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Air India offers to operate five of Jet Airways’ grounded planes on international routes

National carrier Air India has written to the lenders of Jet Airways asking if it can fly five of Jet’s grounded Boeing 777 aircraft on international routes. Jet has suspended operations after bankers refused additional credit to the cash-strapped airline.

In a letter to Jet’s lenders headed by State Bank of India (SBI), Air India has offered to operate the Mumbai-London, Delhi-London, Mumbai-Dubai, Delhi-Dubai and Delhi-Singapore sectors. Jet owns 10 wide-body Boeing 777-300 ER planes, along with a few Airbus A330s, which it operated on medium and long-haul international destinations

Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani said the state-owned carrier would operate the aircraft on wet or dry lease agreements. “Subject to approvals and financial viability, we can examine the possibility of taking five B777s on dry/wet lease basis from SBI, the terms of for which can be mutually thrashed out,” Lohani said in an letter addressed to SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar.
19/04/19 Financial Express

Govt policies put aviation sector on a wing and a prayer

Have government policies helped or hindered the growth of the civil aviation sector in the 25 years since the Air Corporation Act was amended in 1993 allowing the re-entry of the private sector into the domestic civil aviation space?

Read the analysis by Ashwini Phadnis of Business Line >>

Spicejet Hires 500 Jet Airways Employees, Including 100 Pilots

Budget carrier SpiceJet on Friday, 19 April, said it has already absorbed over 500 employees, including 100 pilots, of the grounded carrier Jet Airways and it is open to induct more as it adds more aircraft and routes in the times ahead.

The Gurugram-based no-frills airline has already announced induction of 27 more planes -22 Boeing 737s and five turboprop Bombardier Q400s - in the fleet to help overcome to an extent the capacity deficit due to Jet Airways temporarily withdrawing its domestic and international services.
20/04/19 Quint

Jet Airways employees will be absorbed by other airlines: Jayant Sinha

The banks have to make decisions in their commercial interest and using their commercial judgement. We have to build a globally competitive economy where the most competitive, most efficient companies thrive and succeed, said Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, in an interview with ETNOW.

Read the Edited excerpts >>

How one of India's biggest airlines imploded

Almost 26 years to the day after its first flight, one of India's biggest airlines has thrown in the towel.

Jet Airways announced late Wednesday that it was indefinitely suspending all flights after it ran out of cash, marking a swift downfall for an airline that dominated India's fast-growing aviation industry for years.
The airline was founded by Naresh Goyal, who began his career as a sales agent for Lebanese Airlines in 1967. Goyal worked for several other airlines for nearly a decade before founding his own company called Jetair in 1974 to provide sales and marketing services to foreign carriers in India.

Read Rishi Iyengar's (CNN Business) analysis on Jet's rise and fall >>

No insurance for Jet fliers

Chennai: After the Jet Airways suspended its flying operations, insurance might not come for the rescue of both the company and the customers who had booked their tickets. Neither the company can claim loss due to suspension of business operations nor the customer claim for flight cancellation.

Usually airline companies buy aviation insurance policies which typically cover damage to aircrafts, passenger liability, hijacking, war perils etc. “In this case the airline company has suspended its operations due to debt issues and loss of business is not covered under the policy,’ said G Srinivasan, former Chairman of New India Assurance.
Oriental Insurance is the leading insurer of Jet Airways and New India Insurance has some time been a co-insurer.

“Insurance is triggered when there are accidents and mishaps and not business failures,” added  Sanjay Datta, Chief- Underwriting, Claims & Reinsurance, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company. However, the company can get a refund on the laid up cover portion of the total premium, he added.

“If say, Jet Airways had paid a premium of Rs 100 crore, part of it would be for the laid up cover. The period for which the aircrafts are grounded, the premium for that period would be refunded. But it would be a very small portion of this Rs 100 crore,’ said Srinivasan.
20/04/19 Sangeetha G/Asian Age

Does Air India still need to keep flying?

Even after private airlines were allowed to re-enter the Indian aviation space in the early 1990s, State-owned carrier Air India has remained a constant in the sector, despite having its own share of ups and downs.

The airline is still reeling under a financial loss of ₹5,765 crore recorded in fiscal 2017.
With Jet Airways temporarily stopping its operations on April 10, the question being raised now is whether Air India is really required — given the price paid by the government to keep it afloat — while smaller players are forced to shut down with much smaller losses?

According to some analysts and experts, there is no need for the government to keep pumping in money into the Maharaja.

See why >>>

'Can't sleep at night': Despair over jobs as Jet Airways grounded

Bhoja Poojari has handled baggage for India's Jet Airways Limited since it began flying nearly 26 years ago. Now, like many other Jet employees, he fears for the future as the debt-laden airline descends into crisis.

"If this continues, I do not know what to do," said the 53-year-old father of two, who has not been paid in nearly two months and may be forced to sell his house.

"I feel like my hands are tied and I can't sleep at night," Poojari told Reuters. "I haven't told my children anything. They are very young, but they know something is wrong."

Thousands of employees have been stung by the rapid unravelling of Jet Airways, which, saddled with more than $1.2bn in bank debt, grounded all its planes on Wednesday after lenders rejected a plea for emergency funds.
Read full story >>

8 airplanes converted into restaurants

A selection of disused planes across the world have been converted into restaurants, making for a fun and quirky dining experience.

Hawai Adda, Ludhiana, India:
This retired Airbus 320 and former Air India plane now has fuselage lined with swanky booths, while vegetarian dishes dominate the menu. Credit: K Asif/India Today Group/Getty Images
In-flight meals are definitely one of the most maligned aspects of air travel.
Despite some airlines acquiring world-class chefs to create their menus, few passengers are likely to get revved up about the prospect of eating 30,000 feet above the Atlantic.
Perhaps it’s because our taste buds have a tendency to malfunction at altitude. Some argue that we’re simply bad tempered when flying and thus more likely to complain.
But what if you could make the airplane itself your destination and not just the means of getting there? All while keeping our feet firmly on the ground?
A selection of disused planes across the world have been converted into restaurants, making for a fun and quirky dining experience.
Hawai Adda, Verka Park, Ferozpur Road, Ludhiana, Punjab 141001, India; +91 70870 21031

Runway 1, Haryana, India
The father and son duo behind Runway 1 clearly witnessed India’s first airplane restaurant, Hawai Adda, take off and wanted in on the action.
Opened in late 2017, this establishment leans heavily on the whole novelty concept.
Would-be diners are required to collect a boarding pass before heading to their table, while the cockpit houses what the owners claim is India’s only 3D flight simulation game.
However, once you move through to the cabin, the revamped interior of this former Air India Airbus A320 looks decidedly plusher than your standard economy experience.
Runway 1 Restaurant, Haryana, Mohri, Haryana 134003, India; +91 93064 51970.

See which are the rest of the siz restaurants >>>

Indian woman gives birth at Dubai Airport

Dubai: An Indian woman gave birth at Dubai Airport with the help of a female inspector.

According to a Khaleej Times report on Saturday, the unidentified Indian woman went into labour at Terminal 2 of the airport but people around were reduced to mute spectators as they didn't know what to do.

Soon, Hanan Hussein Mohammed, an inspector at the airport, appeared as a saviour on the scene and swung into action to handle the emergency situation.

She rushed the pregnant woman to the inspection room of the airport and helped her give birth to the baby there. But the baby was not breathing which led Mohammed to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the new-born.

The mother and her baby were then taken to hospital.
20/04/19 Outlook