Monday, December 10, 2018

IndiGo on top as low-cost carriers add most capacity

IndiGo, the low-cost carrier (LCC) and market leader in the Indian aviation space, was the biggest contributor in domestic capacity addition last week.

About 99% of airline seat capacity added last week was by LCCs, of which IndiGo accounted for close to 70%, according to an analysis by Australia-based aviation consultancy CAPA on the data released by OAG Aviation, a data intelligence company

The full-service carriers added only 1% capacity. Local carriers flew a total of 445,000 seats last week.
Further, Indian carriers crossed 40% share of international seat capacity to about 93,000 seats for the first time last week, again led by IndiGo.

"Increase in international capacity share is driven by Indian carrier expansion, led by IndiGo, which accounted for 57% of the total additional weekly seats, and 75% of additional seats by Indian carriers," CAPA said.

IndiGo last week became the first airline in India to have 200 aircraft in its fleet.

Its co-founder and interim CEO Rahul Bhatia during a second quarter result concall had announced that the carrier would add 30% capacity addition during the year. The push comes after aircraft manufacturer Airbus ramped up its production to meet the delivery deadlines. "We are well placed to take advantage of the growing market," Bhatia assured the analysts during the call.

The capacity addition comes as the aviation industry is facing several headwinds. IndiGo reported a loss of Rs 652 crore during the September quarter against a profit of Rs 551.6 crore a year ago. The airline management blamed the "unmaintainable" low fares due to competition, rising fuel prices, volatility in foreign exchange as the primary reasons for the loss, its first time since getting listed in November 2015. According to analysts, IndiGo's poor financial results are just an indicator of the tough phase the industry is going through.
10/12/18 Shahkar Abidi/DNA

Can A Fund Infusion Revive Jet Airways?

Jet Airways (India) Ltd. in a conference call said it’s considering a range of options, including selling aircraft, capital infusion and a stake sale in its loyalty programme, to meet its debt repayment obligation of over Rs 1,500 crore with less than four months left in the current financial year.

What it really needs is a radical restructuring in its cost structure and revenue enhancement to be more competitive in the industry, said Kapil Kaul, chief executive officer-South Asia of the international aviation consultancy firm CAPA. “Fund infusion is just the first step, but more than that they will have to restructure their cost and enhance their revenue.”

Jet Airways has been struggling to hold ground in the world’s fastest growing aviation market with competition from low-cost operators such as IndiGo, run by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., and SpiceJet Ltd. Jet Airways’ market share has more than halved in the past decade to about 15 percent. The company’s long-term ratings were downgraded thrice in six months due to delays in the implementation of the proposed initiatives to ease tighter liquidity conditions. It had resulted in delays in payment of employee salaries and lease rentals to the aircraft lessors.

Jet Airways being a full-service carrier has a higher cost structure compared with peers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet Ltd. And its weighed down by high fuel, maintenance, employees and finance costs, according to BloombergQuint’s analysis of the airline’s financial. The airline’s employee cost, the analysis showed, is higher than that of state-run Air India Ltd.—which is reportedly overstaffed and inefficient—as are its finance and aircraft maintenance costs due to higher debt and older fleet.

Although Jet Airways has deployed three-fifth of its capacity on international routes that enjoy the benefit of lower taxes, it pays a higher fuel cost compared with its domestic peers. Indian states charge as much as 30 percent in sales tax on aviation turbine fuel, on top of a 14 percent excise duty, making it the costliest in Asia.
The airline lacks the ability to generate enough revenue to meet its cost due to stiff competition and lower occupancy. Jet Airways’ cost per seat kilometer has been higher than its revenue for at least the last three years.
Cheaper fares offered by peers has forced Jet Airways to either reduce its fares or operate at lower occupancy levels. And that doesn’t bode well Naresh Goyal-founded airline, according to Jitendra Bhargava. The former executive director of Air India said competition to gain market share will force Jet Airways to infuse funds after every six-eight quarters.
10/12/18 Soumeet Sarkar/Bloomberg Quint

Air India's divestment is ‘temporarily’ on hold, says CMD

The government has decided to keep the divestment of Air India (AI) at the back burner till the state carrier reduces the amount of debt it has on its books of accounts.

“The divestment has been put on hold for the time being,” Pradeep Kharola, chairman and managing director, Air India told Moneycontrol.

He said that the airline has been incurring losses, especially due to high crude oil prices, which made the bid unattractive.
“All the airlines have not done well in the past six months… Also, because the crude oil price is so high, it was thought that it was not the right time to divest it,” he said.
The government had set up a ministerial committee, headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley, to suggest ways to divest the airline. The government had decided to sell 76 percent of its stake in the national carrier and invited bids for the same in May 2018.
10/12/18 Nikita Vashisht/moneycontrol

Policy making is a continuous process, it's art of the possible: Jayant Sinha

To the minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, the lack of bidders for Air India was a “little unfortunate.” But he reiterated that the government “was and is” committed to strategic divestment of the national carrier. On Tata Group’s Vistara, which is facing a delay in getting an approval to fly overseas, Sinha said his ministry is seeking to ascertain that the carrier’s plans are delinked from the process of an investigation. “Policy making is a continuous process  ..

While the government implemented many reforms, it has failed to implement the passenger Charter, divest Air India, or allow airlines such as Vistara to fly internationally….

Policy making is a continuous process and it is definitely the art of the possible. We made a very sincere attempt to have Air India go through the process. The offer we had put up was very fair and balanced, where Air India’s debt was reduced in line with the assets it had and the rest was taken over by the government. In the past four years, Air India has gone through an operational turnaround. Of course, what happened was that the industry condition changed with oil prices going up and rupee depreciating and no bidder turned up due to these conditions. Air India getting no bidders was a little unfortunate because the government was and is committed to the strategic divestment of the national carrier.

The other issue, of Vistara not getting the approval to fly overseas, is pretty unique. Is it policy paralysis?

Absolutely not! As you know, we had to work through the fact that there is an investigation on it (the procedure followed to relax 5/20 — foreign flying eligibility norm). We need to make sure that this investigation does not impede the decision to enable it to fly overseas.

As part of the financial package for Air India, the government has decided to take over Rs 29,000 crore of debt. How does the government plan to repay it?

We had decided at the time of strategic divestment itself that a substantial part of Air India’s debt will be taken over by the government and only the debt that matches the asset is transferred to the airline. We are following through on that. This debt transfer is a great benefit to taxpayers too because the borrowing cost for the government is going to be much lower than Air India. So, the tax payer’s money is going to be saved in this regard. The repayment would happen after we start disposing off Air India’s non-core assets, such as real estate and subsidiaries, which include AITSL (New Delhi would sell 100% in the ground handling subsidiary). As we sell these, we will be able to pare down the debt of Rs 29,000 crore.

Will these sales fetch the government that kind of money?

That we will have to see and I cannot predict that. It depends on the valuation and pricing for those transactions.
10/12/18 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Yusuffali says no plans to invest in ailing Jet Airways

Naresh Goyal, promoter of the troubled Indian airline Jet Airways, is understood to have approached M A Yusuffali, chairman and managing director of UAE-based retail giant Lulu Group International, to invest in the ailing carrier.

Goyal is understood to have opened the channel of discussions with Yusuffali, in parallel with his on-going negotiations with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways to increase the latter’s stake in Jet Airways from the existing 24 percent to 49 percent, according to Indian media reports.

Jet Airways’ efforts to entice an Indian investor in the airline is due to the Indian foreign direct investment rule that does not allow a foreign airline or foreign investor to have management control of an Indian airline.
Yusuffali, however, told Economic Times that he has no interest in acquiring stake in an airline and that he was focused on his investments in retail and hospitality.

A leading businessman from Kerala, who also has business interests in UAE and knows Yusuffali well, told Arabian Business that there is a strong possibility of the Lulu Group owner considering the option of joining the board of the Jet Airways management as this could propel him to prominence nationally in India, without having to make any major investment in the airline.
09/12/18 James Mathew/Arabian Business

A promise of more services for Kannur airport

Kannur: More domestic and international services will be launched by major airline companies in the country from the Kannur international airport.

This was announced by Civil Aviation Secretary Kamal Nayan Choubey at the inaugural function of the airport here on Sunday. Observing that the new airport was a shining example of co-operative federalism in the country, he said that it should be ensured that the airport was connected by UDAN, the regional connectivity scheme.

Mr. Choubey said that SpiceJet would soon connect Kannur with Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Indigo, another major Indian airline company, had proposed to connect Kannur with Mumbai and New Delhi, he said, adding that Indigo will take some more time in deciding their schedule.
“As per a directive of the Prime Minister, we have already granted permission for many services within the next 12 months,” he said.
The services include Air India Express’ weekly four flights each to Muscat and Doha, three flights to Riyadh, and daily flights to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
He said a daily flight by Jet Airways from here to Abu Dhabi was also proposed.
10/12/18 The Hindu

GoAir Starts Flights From Bengaluru To These International Destinations

GoAir commenced flight operations from Bengaluru to Phuket, Thailand and Male (Maldives) on Sunday, news agency IANS reported, citing a company statement. This marked the third addition to the airline's international network, after introduction of international flights from Mumbai and Delhi earlier this year. The addition of Bengaluru-Phuket and Bengaluru-Male flights to GoAir's operations comes nearly two months after the airline began flying international. The carrier had last month announced a twice-a-week service between Bengaluru and Male, and a thrice-a-week operation between Bengaluru and Phuket.
09/12/18 NDTV

Jet Airways announces codeshare with Saudi's Flynas

Mumbai: Jet Airways and ‘flynas’, Saudi Arabia’s first budget airline, have entered into an extensive codeshare partnership to enhance connectivity between India and Saudi Arabia.

As part of the agreement, Jet Airways will place its marketing code ‘9W’ on flynas flights between the gateway cities of Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh, thus providing its guests travelling from India the ability to travel in to Saudi Arabia via one point and depart from another.  Jet Airways will also be placing its code via Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh to the Saudi Arabian cities of Medina which is the holiest city in Islam, as well as port city of Gizan, the agriculturally rich city of Gassim, the unofficial summer capital city of Taif and the popular tourist destination Abha, thus extending our reach into Saudi Arabia.

In turn, flynas will be able to offer its guests access in to India by placing its marketing code ‘XY’ on Jet Airways’ international flights connecting Jeddah to Mumbai, Riyadh to Mumbai and Delhi as well as Dammam to Mumbai and Delhi. In addition to these international routes, flynas will also place its marketing code on certain destinations on the Jet Airways domestic network, via Mumbai to Delhi, Kochi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Lucknow as well as via Delhi to Bengaluru, Lucknow, Chennai, and Kochi.

Mr. Marnix Fruitema, Executive Vice President – Commercial, Jet Airways, said: “Saudi Arabia is the second largest international travel market to/from India with almost 6 million passengers travelling between both countries annually for religious tourism, business as well as leisure. Our codeshare agreement with flynas reflects our continuing commitment to offer our guests the best possible connections to more and more destinations around the world and we are delighted to partner with flynas to offer guests of both the airlines wider network access and a seamless travel experience across the networks of both carriers.

flynas’ CEO, Mr. Bander Al-Mohanna stated: “This partnership is an important step in-line with flynas’ expansion and development strategy. Through such agreements we aim to offer a continually improved service to our passengers by adding more travel routes and expanding our reach regionally and internationally, in particular to key markets such as India. We are certain this partnership will support our efforts and enable us to upscale the quality and convenience required to meet and even surpass our passengers’ demands and expectations.”
Flights under this agreement are now open for sale, for travel effective 11th December 2018.
10/12/18 Jet Airways/PRESS RELEASE

Mumbai airport sets record due to charter flights for Ambani wedding

Mumbai: Charter flights for Ambani-Piramal wedding celebration in Udaipur helped Mumbai airport achieve a record 1004 flights on Saturday.

Mumbai airport is busiest airport with single runway operation and the previous best was 1003 daily flights in June.
The airport sees 950-960 aircraft moments daily and on Saturday saw an additional 37 flights to Udaipur as celebrities, film stars and politicians made a dash to the city for pre wedding celebrations. This included charter flights operated by both scheduled airlines and non scheduled operators. AirAsia, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Vistara operated charter flights to the city.

Udaipur itself saw 141 flights on Saturday which is nearly five times the daily average. Celebrities attending pre wedding celebration of Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal included former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Sachin Tendulkar among others.

Typically, The Maharana Pratap airport in the city handles 32 flights daily.

Charter flights operated with Dassault Falcon or Bombardier aircraft do not require full runway length at Mumbai for take off and can get airborne from runway intersection. Also these planes have higher climb speeds which makes it easier for air traffic controllers to handle more departures from Mumbai in a hour.
10/12/18 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

AAI plans remote mirror image control of busy ATCs

New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to have remote as well as mirror image air traffic control systems as it looks to save costs and put in place reliable back up options in case of any system failures, a senior official said. The national airports operator is now in the process of preparing a common tender platform to seek entities that can provide remote Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems.

According to the official, the AAI is also looking to have "mirror image" control of a busy ATC tower in another ATC tower. For example, if there is any failure of a system at a busy airport then operations there can be controlled from another place till things are restored, he added.

The AAI official said the idea of remote ATC is technically doable and is happening in a few smaller airports in northern Europe.

Since there are different aspects in the systems being offered by different players, the official said it is now working on having a common tender platform.
"We are trying to understand little more about technology and trying to see how it can be made into a biddable pattern. It is being done internally .... It is an experimental area and will significantly cut down costs," he said.
With mirror image control along with remote ATCs, it would be cost saving as well as having a back up in case of any failures.
09/12/18 PTI/Times of India

IAF-RFSAF to kick-off second series of bilateral air exercise

New Delhi: Indian Air Force and Russian Federation Aerospace Force will kick-off the second series of 'EX AVIAINDRA-2018', a service specific exercise on Monday, an official release said on Sunday.
The two-phase exercise, planned at the Jodhpur Air Force Station between December 10 and 21, will have foreign participants flying with their Indian counterparts in IAF jets, common to both the sides.
Earlier this year in September, in Russia, the IAF pilots flew alongside their Russian counterparts in RFSAF aircraft at Lipetsk from September 17 to 28.
The exercise was first conducted in 2014.
09/12/18 UNI

Foreign airlines to pay 60% less landing charges at Gaya airport

Gaya: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has offered 60% discount on landing charges to foreign airlines starting operations from the Gaya international airport, airport director Dileep Kumar said on Sunday. The concession will remain available for two years.
Asked whether the discount will also be available to airlines that increase the frequency of their flights, Kumar said concessions would also be made on landing charges to foreign airlines increasing the frequency of their flights, say from four days a week to daily or more than four days. He said concession would also be made for frequency increase, but in such cases, it would be less than 60%.

As of now, Thai, Myanmar, Bhutan and Sri Lankan airlines operate flights for Gaya. Most of these flights are seasonal in nature (October-March) when tourist traffic is more. A sizeable number of chartered flights from abroad also land at Gaya in the tourist season.

Ruing the under utilization of the airport infrastructure, former Central Bihar Chamber of Commerce president D K Jain wondered why Patna-bound flights are diverted to Kolkata and not Gaya in case of fog. About four times bigger than the Patna airport, the Gaya airport has facilities like aerobridge, something not available at Patna. Gaya airport, as per official figures, is spread over 950 acre area while Patna airport has got only 250 acres.
10/12/18 Abdul Qadir/Times of India

Passenger charter delayed as airlines battle losses

Pune: The uncertainty that has recently gripped the aviation industry is causing a delay in the proposed passenger charter, which would protect the rights of passengers.
In an e-mail reply to TOI, the Union minister of state for civil aviation, Jayant Sinha, touched upon the reasons for the charter getting delayed, even though the draft was finalized in May by the civil aviation ministry. “We have received many inputs from the stakeholders, including all the airlines, on the passenger charter. We are evaluating these inputs. Also, we would like to be able to implement the charter when industry conditions are somewhat better,” Sinha stated.

The passenger charter covers several provisions, including compensation to be awarded to passengers by the airlines in case of flight delays.

An airline official at the Pune airport, on the condition of anonymity, said that they had little information on the subject, but confirmed that compensation was an issue.

“From what we know, (the delay) has to do with the compensation, that too when quite a few airlines, including the big names in the country, are battling a major financial crisis and are bleeding money. In such a scenario, the proposed compensation rates are too high and need to be softened,” the official told TOI.

10/12/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

IndiGo suspends Dubai flight

Mohali: The Chandigarh airport could soon lose its international status. Reason: two airlines have decided to temporarily suspend flight operations.

IndiGo has announced to temporarily suspend its Dubai flight from December 15 to February 15 owing to the absence of advanced instrument landing system, said sources. Regular delays and cancellation of flights during the winter season due to poor visibility and bad weather conditions had perturbed the low-cost airline.

Chandigarh International Airport Limited (CHIAL) spokesperson Deepesh Joshi said, "We have received confirmation from IndiGo about temporary suspension of the Dubai flight during the winter season." A senior official in IndiGo said the flight would resume from February 16 onwards.


Similarly, second international flight operator Air India Express has sought permission to either temporary suspend or change the timing of the Sharjah flight. Sources in Air India confirmed the move. Air India was the first to withdraw the much-sought after Chandigarh-Bangkok flight around three months back owing to non-viability factor, even as the Punjab and Haryana high court had been pulling up the Airports Authority of India for not operating international flights from Chandigarh. The court had already asked the AAI to discontinue the international airport tag.
10/12/18 Times of India

IndiGo brings its school adoption programme to Vadodara; adopts 15 government schools

IndiGo, India's largest airline, has inaugurated its school adoption programme in Vadodara. The airline has partnered with SRF Foundation to improve the quality of education in 15 government schools in the city. Through this programme, IndiGo aims to impact the lives of 20,000 students by adopting 60 schools across four cities - Indore, Dehradun, Vadodara and Greater Noida. The airline launched this initiative from Indore in September this year.

The program is aimed at holistic advancement of the adopted government schools through physical infrastructure development, academic transformation and access to digital technology. As part of infrastructural development, the schools have been repainted, repaired and re-constructed with necessary school amenities such as drinking water facilities, toilet block, library, science lab and sports facilities like badminton court. IndiGo has also introduced a modified computer lab - GetSmart Digital Mobile Bus - to ensure students' exposure and effective interaction with technology on a rotational basis. IndiGo is also conducting teacher training programmes to ensure better delivery of education and conceptual learning for students.
09/12/18 Equity Bulls

Airlines seek VAT reduction on jet fuel from Madhya Pradesh government

Bhopal: Airlines planning to start operations from the Raja Bhoj airport want the state government to reduce value-added tax (VAT) on aviation turbine fuel (ATF).

At present, Bhopal airport charges 25% VAT and airlines feel that if ATF cost is reduced, they can connect more flights with Bhopal. Notably, Spice Jet and IndiGo will start operations from the first week of January.

IndiGo will start operations from Bhopal and Jabalpur and connect Hyderabad, while Spice Jet will start operations from the state capital to connect Ahmedabad, Shirdi, Hyderabad and Jaipur.

In the recent past, airlines had demanded the reduction in VAT on ATF on a regular basis. Since ATF constitutes around 40% of overall cost of running a flight, airlines have been requesting the state government to reduce VAT on an immediate basis.

Seeking anonymity, airlines officials said, "Lowering VAT on ATF will make a strong case for them to consider expanding or starting operations from Bhopal. Nearby states such as Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand have reduced VAT on ATF and are witnessing increased connectivity from various airlines."

Incidentally, the state government had reduced VAT from 24% to 5% five years ago, but it could not help in attracting more airlines. Two years ago, the state government increased VAT on ATF and made it 25%. However, the government during a recent discussion with the Confederation of Indian Industry, airlines and others had assured that it will reduce VAT on ATF if airlines show interest to ramp up connectivity.

Supporters of the online campaign 'Support Bhopal for Air Connectivity' (SBFAC) also felt that after two important airlines have shown positive attitude by announcing to start operations, the state government should also bring down VAT on jet fuel.

"Recently, Spice Jet officials met online campaigners and travel agencies. They are very positive in starting more operations from Bhopal and have assured us in this regard. In such a situation, the state government should also think of reducing taxes on jet fuel," said online campaigner Neeraj Singhal.

An informal gathering of flyers was organized at Arera Colony on Sunday. "We are all extremely positive. When things are going in the right direction, it is obvious to expect that airlines would seek a reduction of VAT on jet fuel," added Singhal.
10/12/18 Ramendra Singh/Times of India

Trainer aircraft land at Kannur

Thiruvananthapuram: After an interval of more than three years, Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology resumed operating cross-country flight. The academy operated two cross-country flights to Kannur International Airport Ltd (Kial) on Sunday.
Chief flying instructor (CFI) Captain N Mallikarjun and assistant flying instructor Captain Sreenath A M led the duel flight operation, along with trainees Rahul R and Mukhil Ram TS, both commercial pilot licence trainees at the academy from 2013 and 2012 batches, respectively. They operated two Cessna 172R aircraft, one of which departed at 8.10am and another at 8.25am to reach Kannur around 11am.

Consequent to the termination of the then CFI, the academy stopped flying training in 2016. Earlier, it used to operate cross-country flights to Madurai, Mangaluru and Kozhikode airports. Though a new CFI was appointed the same year, flying training could not be resumed as approval was pending with Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).


After the completion of the process of recertification, the DGCA issued approval on March 23, 2017 and flying training activities were restarted and continued till the onset of monsoons in June, 2017. But, in June 16, 2017 the civil aviation secretary had withdrawn the privileges of the appointed CFI and flying training was stopped again. After Mallikarjun took charge as CFI, flying training resumed in October.
09/12/18 Times of India

Mysuru airport runway will be extended, says Simha

Mysuru: Pointing out that the length of the runway at the Mysuru Airport acted as a limiting factor against its use by larger aircraft, Mysuru MP Pratap Simha on Sunday said that work on extending the runway would commence in January.

“There is demand for operating flights between Mysuru and Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, and other cities. Owing to its short length, only small aircraft can be operated on the runway. But, there is a need to increase the length of the runway from the existing 1.7km to 2.7km. The project was delayed since the airport is next to the railway station and a national highway. However, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has received security clearance from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), and the state government has initiated the process to acquire 300 acres of land,” said Simha, who was at the inauguration of Saalumarada Thimakka Park at Lingambudhi Lake.

Stating that work on extending the runway would commence immediately upon completion of the land acquisition process, Simha opined that the expansion of the airport would turn Mysuru into the second capital of the state. The proposed railway projects aiming to improve connectivity between Mysuru, Mandya and the rest of the country would give the tourism industry in the region a huge boost, he said. “Work on the 10-lane highway between Bengaluru and Mysuru will begin soon. The project is estimated to cost Rs 700 crore, and is slated for completion by 2020. It will draw more tourists to Mysuru, and attract investment by industries,” the Parliamentarian said.
10/12/18 Times of India

Flight services to and from Kolhapur resume

Kolhapur: It took an hour’s delay for the inaugural flight from Hyderabad to reach Kolhapur, it finally landed at 1.12pm at Kolhapur airport and received a water cannon salute.
This started a new chapter in the city’s aviation history. The 70-seater Alliance Air plane was scheduled to land at Kolhapur airport at 12.10pm and onlookers had gathered in the airport premises to witness the landing.

According to the Alliance air station manager at Kolhapur, as many as 152 passengers travelled to and from the city on the first day of the new operations. The morning flight that arrived from Hyderabad had 20 passengers, while the same flight, which later departed for Bengaluru, witnessed 43 passengers getting on-board. The return flight from Bengaluru to Kolhapur saw the highest number of people travelling on the day with 48 passengers flying to the city. The last flight of the day had 41 passengers on-board and departed to Hyderabad from the city. Each ticket cost around Rs1880 on the first day for all the different flights.

Akash Jain, a city-based businessman, who flew on the Hyderabad to Kolhapur flight, said that the arrival was on time, however, due to certain visibility issues at the Kolhapur airport, the flight had been delayed by some time.

“We are happy that air service has finally resumed to and from the city. It is going to help the city prosper in many different ways,” he said.
09/12/18 Piyush Bhusari/Times of India

ILS system at Surat airport to be commissioned soon

Surat: The aircraft and passengers at the Surat airport will no longer face flight delays and diversion due to foggy weather during the winter season. The airport management has completed the commercial flight trail of the renovated instrument landing system (ILS) in the last two days and the commissioning will be done very soon.

Official sources said the ILS system was damaged due to heavy flooding in the airport premises during the monsoon season. A team of senior officials from Airports Authority of India (AAI) had visited the airport for the ILS inspection and suggested to raise the equipment hut by almost 3.5 feet to protect ILS system from damaging in floods.

The work of raising the height of the ILS equipment hut and other instruments was completed and the calibration work was performed.

Official sources said the airport is located close to the Arabian Sea and the ILS equipment hut site is set up in the low-lying area where the ground level is around three to four feet lower. Due to the insufficient water outlet available at the airport boundary, the combination of heavy rains coupled with high tide in the sea flood the airport area.
10/12/18 Times of India

Uttarakhand: Pantnagar airport to get Rs 5 crore face-lift

Rudrapur: After the Airports Authority of India (AAI) announced flights between Pantnagar and Dehradun recently, the authorities concerned have also begun work to give the airport at Pantnagar a swanky look. Sources said that a private company from Delhi has been hired to upgrade the airport in the next three months. It will have an upgraded terminal, the runway would be developed and an officers' colony would also be built, the sources added. "Focus is on using conventional sources of energy to run the airport," said SK Singh, director of Pantngar airport.
"Work for the Rs 5-crore project has commenced as the blueprint for developing the airport is being prepared. It will also have all modern amenities for flyers," Singh said. Improved connectivity between Dehradun and Pantnagar will not only attract more tourists but also lead to an increase in trade, the official added.

The airport terminal, once developed, will have green energy lights, modern instrument landing system and high precision lights. These mediums will be operated with the use of solar energy mostly. "Expansion of the airport is also underway. Demarcation has been done and land is being acquired. A team of specialists from Delhi and one from the state government with the help of specialists from GB Pant University have visited the spot to complete the demarcation of land for expanding the airport. The expansion project is slated to be completed within a year," said Singh.
09/12/18 Akash Ahuja/Times of India

Two weddings and polls see air traffic soar

Mumbai/Delhi: A wedding in the Ambani family has led to a spike in air traffic with desi and global celebrities flying in for the celebrations. While Mukesh and Nita Ambani’s daughter Isha and Ajay and Swati Piramal’s son Anand tie the knot in Mumbai on Wednesday, the main pre-wedding party was held in Udaipur on Saturday. It followed the recent wedding of actor Priyanka Chopra and singer Nick Jonas in Jodhpur. Apart from Udaipur and Jodhpur, other airports in Rajasthan also witnessed a rise in the number of charters in recent days due to electioneering.

On Saturday, both Mumbai’s CSIA and Udaipur’s Maharana Pratap Airport saw their highest number of flight movements. Udaipur, which has 16 scheduled arrivals and departures daily, saw as many as 71 landings that flew in guests like Hillary Clinton and Sachin Tendulkar, and 70 takeoffs. Scheduled airlines also added extra flights to the city.

CSIA (which has two cross runways, only one of which can be used at a time) handled 1,004 flights in 24 hours on December 8. Of these, 903 were scheduled airline flights and the rest were non-scheduled, including 31 freighter and three military flights. On June 5 this year, the airport had for the first time touched the four-figure mark in a day when it operated 1,003 flights. CSIA will be stretched to the limit this week when the big wedding takes place and may create yet another record.
10/12/18 Times of India

Kannur saw flight landings even before Independence

Kannur: The cultural hub of Kannur, located in Malabar region of North Kerala on Sunday, became the fourth city in the state to have its own international airport. The fruition of a commercial airport came after nearly two decades of efforts to build one following massive public interest. The airport will serve the people of Kannur and Kasaragod districts of Kerala and Kodagu region in Karnataka.
However, many wouldn’t know this but the town of Kannur was witness to historic flight landings even before India attained Independence. In 1935, historical evidence points to Tata Airlines, India’s first private airline, having touched down at Kannur, then a garrison town under the British, on it’s way to Thiruvananthapuram. The weekly service was introduced at the request of the then king of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Bala Rama Varma. In fact, a journey map of the airline shows service was routed from Bombay to Goa, touching down at Kannur possibly for re-fuelling before it made its way to Thiruvananthapuram. Kannur then had an airstrip at the ‘Kotta Maidanam’, used by the British officers.
The price of a ticket from Bombay to Kannur was Rs 135 then and Rs 150 for Bombay to Trivandrum. A one-way ticket from Kannur to Thiruvananthapuram was priced at Rs 60 those days. A DH83 Foxmoth aircraft was used for the service. Besides the pilot, the aircraft could seat four persons.
The historic occasion of the flight landings at Kannur has been fleetingly captured in the memoirs of late Captain CP Krishan Nair, the veteran hotelier who formed the renowned Leela Group. In his book ‘Krishna Leela’, Nair writes, “I think it was in 1935 that JRD Tata’s airline landed in Kannur while on it’s way from Bombay to Thiruvananthapuram. The people of the younger generation wouldn’t know this. The plane would land at the famous Kotta Maidanam. As kids, we would all go to see the flight as if we were going to a festival. It was a wonder for us. Those moments are still fresh in my mind. The ‘pushpakavimanam’ that we heard of in the epics was finally here in Kannur. As kids, we wanted to touch its wings. But there would be sturdy security personnel so it wouldn’t be possible. At night, I would dream of wearing a suit and coat and riding in a plane. I remember seeing that dream for many nights”.
10/12/18 Indian Express

AAI employees to go on hunger strike against proposed privatisation of airports

New Delhi: Airports Authority of India (AAI) Employees Union has called for a three-day hunger strike to protest against the Government of India's decision to privatise six airports. The protest will begin from Monday. The Union Cabinet last month cleared a proposal to manage Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and three other airports under the PPP. The three other aerodromes are those at Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, and Mangaluru. In a release, the AAI employees union has said, "The policy of the government is not clear with regard to profit making industries and the Union is carrying out the Industrial Action due to media report of the proposal of PPP, the Union carrying out Industrial action as well as Mass Casual Leave 28.12.2018 Relay Hunger Strike on 10.12.2018 to 12.12.2018."
It added, "Public-private partnership (PPP) model causes denial of Job opportunities to the society coming under the purview of SC/ST/OBC group as reservation policies restricted only to Govt. sector. The government not allowing the AAI Board to function administratively to bring higher growth in order to meet the requirement of rural/urban Airports and frequently media printing RFQ/ PPP of Airports."
The union also said, "Govt. 2015 dropped the PPP and allowed the AAI to commensurate the projects of the above Airports and accordingly many other projects AAI is in progress and some of the Airports projects completed to meet the requirement of public policy."
10/12/18 ANI/Sify.com

Plane reports bird-hit while landing at Kolkata airport

Kolkata: A US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka to Kolkata reported a bird-hit while landing at the NSC Bose International Airport here on Monday, airport sources said.

After landing, an inspection was carried out and no damage to the aircraft was found, an Airports Authority of India (AAI) spokesperson at Kolkata said.

The time of the arrival of the Dhaka-Kolkata flight number BS 201 was 10.19 am.
The flight departed for Dhaka at 12.05 pm, the spokesperson added.
10/12/18 PTI/Tribune

Shamshabad airport cruising high

Hyderabad: To cater to the ever increasing demands of air passengers for better connectivity to various parts of the country and abroad, in the last one-year or so the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Shamshabad has added several flights connecting the State capital to tier-2 and tier-3 urban centres in the country.

In the last 20 months, RGIA has augmented its connectivity to various destinations including Trivandrum, Kadapa, Nanded, Patna, Surat, Guwahati, Ranchi, Shirdi, Puducherry, Port Blair, Amritsar, Calicut, Udaipur, Hubli and Vadodara. To connect passengers to maximum number of destinations across the globe, on an average, one new destination is being added every month to the network. The authorities of RGIA has even managed connect flights to hill stations such as Imphal and Dehradun.
Considered to be among the busiest airports in the country, in the last few years, RGIA has connected Hyderabad to 66 destinations including 18 international and 48 domestic destinations, officials said.

According to a spokesperson from GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL), in line with the preference of passengers and demand from airport catchment area of RGIA, airlines constantly keep evaluating new international and domestic destinations from and to Hyderabad.
10/12/18 Telangana Today

Officials ask cops to evict illegal hawkers from airport premises

Kolkata:The airport authorities have asked Bidhannagar police to remove unauthorised shops from the premises as early as possible and identified them as the primary reason behind the littering and accumulation of garbage outside the old terminal.
TOI had on December 5 highlighted the sorry state of Kolkata airport where basic cleanliness efforts seemed to have fallen flat. The authorities swung into action the next day and initiated a clean-up drive.

“After undertaking the drive we realised that the unauthorised shops inside the compound were the main trigger. The hawkers were dumping garbage here and there and some customers visiting the shops were also found urinating in the open. Hence, we have asked the cops to evict the hawkers at the earliest,” said a senior official of Kolkata airport.
10/12/18 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

Customs on alert to check drug smuggling

Pune: The direct flight between Pune and Singapore by Jet Airways have got the customs authorities here to be extra vigilant as they worry about possible smuggling of drugs from Southeast Asia.
“We are not saying that there will be a sudden spurt in drug smuggling. Singapore is a very modern country and a travel hub for many across the world. There might be cases in which we catch people trying to smuggle in gold too,” a customs official said.

“There have been numerous instances in which gold has been recovered from flights bound for Pune from the Middle East destinations such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Gold has been recovered from underneath the seats and washroom of flights. This goes for all airlines having international connections to and from Pune,” the official said.

“The new flight has started and there is a strong chance of the smugglers trying the new route for smuggling drugs as well,” said another source in the customs department.
10/12/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

1.5 kg gold worth Rs 49 lakh seized at Chennai airport

Chennai: Customs officials on Saturday and Sunday apprehended five passengers at Chennai international airport from whom a total of 1.5 kg gold worth Rs 49 lakh was seized. One of them was arrested.

On Sunday morning, Abdul Samad (50), an Indian passport holder, arrived from Dubai by Emirate Airlines flight No.EK 542. He was intercepted at exit of the arrival hall. When his check in luggage was examined, 10 gold cut bits weighing 580 grams valuing Rs. 19 lakhs were recovered. They were 24 karot and were kept concealed among his toiletries and other personal baggage.The gold was seized under provisions of Customs Act 1962. The passenger was arrested as he was a repeat offender and had earlier indulged in smuggling.

On Saturday night, four passengers, Muthuraman Poominadhan (21) Sahul Hameed (42), Mujib Rahman (50), Kalandar Abbas (27) all of whom had Indian passports, arrived from Colombo by Indigo Airlines flight 6E 1204 and were intercepted at exit of the Customs arrival hall.On questioning, they admitted to have concealed gold in their rectum in the form of rubbery spread. The rubbery spread was forcefully ejected by officials and on extraction it resulted in the recovery of 4 gold ingots of 24 Karat purity, weighing to 929 grams, valuing Rs. 30 lakhs. The gold was seized under provisions of Customs act 1962. Customs officials are on the lookout for repeat offenders, sources said.
10/12/18 Times of India

Gold worth Rs 89.59L seized from Indian flier Mumbai Mirror

Two gold bars and two pieces of gold valued at Rs 89.59 lakh were seized from an Indian passenger by customs officials at Mumbai international airport, officials said on Sunday.
According to officials of the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU), an Indian passenger identified as Naveen was intercepted on arrival from Dubai around 2.45 am on Saturday on receipt of specific inputs that he was smuggling in gold bars. After sustained questioning, Naveen admitted he had brought some gold bars hidden in Jet Airways flight 9W 543, which arrived from Dubai.
"We searched the aircraft and found two gold bars weighing 1 kg each, and two cut pieces of gold strapped to the metal frame under his seat in the aircraft. They weighed 3,000 grams in total, and were valued at Rs 89.59 lakh," a senior AIU official said.
10/12/18 Mumbai Mirror

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurates Kannur airport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A five-decade-old dream comes true

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

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

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

Kannur airport a challenge and opportunity for Calicut

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

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

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

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

City loses hosting rights to aviation expo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Volvo service from city to Delhi airport to resume soon

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

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

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

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

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

Collector allots parking slots for 15 taxis at Dabolim airport

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

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

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

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

Patna airport gets extra runway lights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malaysian airline to touch down Kolkata in Oct

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Passenger mistakes announcement’

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

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

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

Mumbai airport handles record 1,007 flight movements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cargo exports yet to catch on at Pune airport

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delhi-Doon-Pantnagar flight to start on December 19

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

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

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

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Why India is luring foreign carriers

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

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

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

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

DGCA draws flak for its 737 Max fix

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

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

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

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

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

'Our airplanes are safe,' says Boeing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noida airport to be built on PPP mode

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Security up at Kolkata airport after email

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

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

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

Women in Aviation International celebrates Girls in Aviation Day

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

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


Speaking on the occasion, Mrs. Radha Bhatia, President, Women in Aviation International, India Chapter shared,” This is the third year that the WAI India Chapter is celebrating ‘Girls in Aviation Day’ and we are delighted to host the same in the capital. This day is celebrated for the young girls to encourage them to choose aviation as a viable career opportunity. World over India has the maximum number of female pilots but there are many other avenues that are still unknown. With this celebration our aim is to see girls from New Delhi explore exciting careers available to them as engineers, air traffic controllers and dozens of other jobs within the aviation
“We will continue our endeavour to introduce young girls to role models and educate them in a fun and supportive atmosphere. We are very fortunate to be able to partner with Airport Authority of India for this initiative. Their efforts in leading youth into STEM careers is truly commendable.” added Mrs. Bhatia.
Speaking about Lockheed Martin’s commitment to this initiative, Mr. Phil Shaw, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India Private Limited said, “Lockheed Martin is delighted to support the Girls in Aviation Day initiative and see it grow from strength to strength. We are passionate about encouraging young ladies to broaden their horizons and consider pursuing an education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and consequently, careers in aerospace and technology.  Lockheed Martin views education as a crucial investment for both business and society and looks forward to helping develop the next generation of engineers, explorers and scientists in India.
Post the session the students were delighted to receive abundant information about the industry and its intricacies. Also, Mr. Ashwini Lohani- Chairman Railway Board, Chief Guest of the celebration gave away 10 IATA sponored kits to girls from underpriviledged background to kickstart a career in aviation.
07/12/18 PRESS RELEASE

Bengal to acquire 110 acres land for Bagdogra airport expansion

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

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

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

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

Thiruvananthapuram: Resolution against privatising airport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two former CMs not invited to Kannur airport opening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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