Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Not just Air India and Jet, all airlines in the world suffering losses: Suresh Prabhu

New Delhi: With Air India unable to dispense salaries of employees for the month of July and Jet Airways too in a precarious financial spot, dark clouds have gripped India's aviation sector. Suresh Prabhu though said the problem of losses is not just faced by Indian airline companies but is a challenge the world over.

Reacting to queries on salary-related issues facing both Air India and Jet, the civil aviation minister said that airlines the world over are currently facing a big challenge. "Not just Indian airlines, all airlines in the world are suffering as their cost has gone up due to rise in fuel prices," Prabhu said. "Airlines cannot absorb this variable cost in their business module in a short time."

The Indian aviation sector has been booming in recent years with the number of passengers opting for flights steadily increasing. To keep ticket prices attractive in the midst of rising fuel prices though has been a challenge for domestic airline companies. While Air India delayed the salary to its staff for the month of July, it was finally given on Monday Tuesday. As for Jet, there were rumours that staff salaries would be stalled but reports later confirmed that while top executives would take a pay cut, staff salaries would not be held back.
14/08/18 Zee News

Air India employs 3,108 contractual staff, no plan to hire permanent employees: Jayant Sinha

Beleaguered state-owned airline Air India has over 3,000 contractual staff and has paid Rs 162.74 crore in wages to them during FY2017-18, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha today informed the Lok Sabha.
"As of 01.06.2018, a total of 3,108 employees on Fixed Term Contract are employed by Air India. The annual expenditure on salaries incurred/paid to contractual employees for FY 2017-18 is Rs 162.74 crore. The instruction regarding minimum wages are complied with, and the wages/salary paid to the Fixed Term Contract employees are higher than the minimum wages," said Sinha in a written reply to the house.
He also informed the house that the airline has terminated the service of 51 Fixed Term Contract employees on various grounds.
"The number of employees on Fixed Term Contract who have been terminated during the last three years are as under - 7 in 2015-16, 12 in 2016-17 and 32 in 2017-18. Contract of most of the employees has been terminated on the basis of the disciplinary action for absenteeism and other non-performance reasons etc. Besides, 115 employees on FTC, also left Air India Ltd on the end of their contract or termination of the contract at the request of the employee," he said.
14/08/18 ZeeBiz

Delhi-Kolkata Dreamliner windshield cracks mid-air

New Delhi: The windshield of an Air India Dreamliner cracked while flying from Delhi to Kolkata on Monday morning.

The Boeing 787 (VT ANT) landed safely in Kolkata and was grounded for windshield replacement. An AI spokesman confirmed this.
Monday’s incident was the latest in a string of windshield cracks that have been a recurring feature with the Dreamliner. In the past few months, there have been at least two cases where the aircraft had to return to the point of origin due to this issue. Last August, an AI Dreamliner flying from Frankfurt to Delhi had to be diverted to Tehran after its windshield cracked mid-air.
14/08/18 Times of India

There is no overdue in any of our accounts: Jet Airways

New Delhi: Jet Airways on Monday said that its accounts with lenders are ‘standard’ and that there is no overdue in any of our accounts. The airline also said it is evaluating various funding options to meet its liquidity requirements on priority, without elaborating on that.

“There have been no delays in discharging any of our loan obligations to any of the lenders. In fact, our bankers have issued a certificate to this extent at periodical intervals. The company’s account has been consistently standard over the last several years,” the airline said.

“A tabular statement prepared by CRILC (Central Repository of Information on Large Credits) placing Jet under default status by some of the banks on certain dates is only due to technical errors which has subsequently been rectified in the system. The company further clarifies that over the last several years, there has been no instances of default in meeting its debt obligations,” it added.
13/08/18 Times of India

NSE seeks clarification from Jet Airways over $400 million stake sale reports

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has sought clarification from Jet Airways asking whether the airline’s management had sought extension from its audit committee or the committee did not recommend the financial result to the board.
The exchange has asked the Naresh Goyal-led airline to provide the date when the meeting, to consider the financial result, will be held.
The stock exchange further sought clarification from Jet Airways after media reports suggested on August 13 that the airline was planning to raise $400 million from stake sale to private equities (PEs).
Reports suggested that audit firm BSR & Co, an affiliate of KPMG India, was considering to resign from the account if the issue is not resolved soon.
13/08/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Jet Airways, India’s oldest private airline, is struggling to keep flying

Just a few months ago, Jet Airways was being seen as a potential suitor for debt-laden Air India.
Now, India’s oldest privately owned airline is struggling to stay in the air.
Since the beginning of this month, the company has stumbled from one piece of bad news to another.
First, there were reports of Jet Airways trimming employees’ salaries to cut costs. Then the Mumbai-headquartered company deferred the announcement of its financial results. Now the civil aviation regulator has reportedly decided to audit it.
All this comes just months after the airline posted massive losses owing to a weak rupee and high fuel prices. Already, its shares have fallen around 58% since April, when it posted a loss of Rs 10,360 crore ($1.49 billion).
The first signs that Jet Airways had flown into rough weather emerged on August 2, when it was reported that the company was considering pay cuts of up to 25%. The company did not respond to Quartz’s specific queries on this plan.
14/08/18 Kamalika Ghosh/Scroll.in

SBI wants to know Jet Airways' future plans before giving a loan

Since the beginning of this month, Jet Airways' stock has taken quite a beating on the back of one bad news after another. It's currently down 12% on the BSE, and things seem to be getting harder for the financially-troubled airline.

Citing sources in the know, The Economic Times reported that Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube personally met the State Bank of India (SBI) top brass seeking its support in the time of need. But the latter is not exactly rushing forward with emergency funding. SBI reportedly wants details on the airline's future plans and cash flow position as well as sufficient collateral before opening the credit tap.

"Yes, we had a meeting with the Jet management where they have sought liquidity support from us," a source told the daily. "They can be supported further but the final decision will depend upon the plan they submit. Whether there will be a stake sale or some strategic partnership where some fund infusion will happen, that is not clear yet. I would like to keep my money secure, further support will depend on exclusive guarantees... that ring fencing is very important to the bank."
13/04/18 Business Today

Jet Airways faces more queries on earnings deferment

Jet Airways Monday reiterated claims that there was nothing irregular in its deferment of quarterly results and no overdues and defaults on its loan accounts, even as India’s second biggest airline by market share continued to face queries on the contrary from several quarters.
The National Stock Exchange which had queried Jet last week on the deferment of its April-June earnings announcement, further questioned it on the difference in two statements clarifying the same.
Jet late last Thursday deferred the announcement of its quarterly (April-June) earnings saying its auditors did not present them to the board. The airline later clarified its earlier statement saying it had sought more time from auditors to complete its accounts, which was accepted.

“We have noticed a difference in your response dated August 10,2018. Hence kindly clarify whether the management sought extension from audit committee as per your response dated August 10, 2018 or Audit committee did not recommend the said financial result to the Board as per your announcement dated August 9, 2018,” the NSE queried Jet.
14/04/18 Economic Times

'UP capable of hosting Aero-India'

Lucknow : After Union Minister Ananth Kumar said that Uttar Pradesh lacks the infrastructure to conduct the Aero Show, Aviation Minister of the State, Nand Gopal Gupta Nandi, on Tuesday averred that his state is capable of hosting the show.
He said, "Uttar Pradesh is the birth land of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna. We have everything here. We are conducting something as massive as Kumbh Mela, we are also capable of making arrangements for Aero Show."
According to media reports, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to hold the event in his state stating that the endeavour will benefit the defence production there.
14/08/18 ANI

Why are BJP, Congress debating over Aero India venue? Karnataka netas say it's because of 2019 Lok Sabha polls

The ongoing tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh and the Congress in Karnataka over the venue of the Aero India 2019 does not seem to die down any time soon with Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy stating that the move in the venue was considered as an agenda ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, however, clarified that there is no move to shift the show from Bengaluru to Lucknow.

There were reports that the biennial event — considered the largest aerospace exhibition in Asia — may be organised at the Bakshi Ka Talab air force base in Lucknow in October.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier requested the defence minister to hold the show in Uttar Pradesh. The decision may bear political significance as the state has the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats. "I request the defence minister to hold the Aero India show in Uttar Pradesh. We will provide every type of facility. In this context, I request her to announce this at the earliest so that we can proceed with the preparations," Adityanath had said.
According to reports, the show is likely to be held during November-December, around the same time that neighbouring states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh go to polls. The Lok Sabha elections will also be held in April-May.
14/08/18 First Post

‘Bengaluru best suited for air show’

Bengaluru: Aviation and defence experts are not in favour of shiing Aero Show out of Bengaluru, even as there are talks of advancing the event.
“It is not a political event, so there should not be a political decision,” Air Marshall (Retd) B K Pandey told DH.
According to him, Bengaluru is best suited for the Aero Show due to its airfield infrastructure and the city being low-intensity airfield.
Bengaluru’s Yelahanka Air Force Station, which has hosted all the 11 editions of Aero Show till now,
is home to a Training Command. There are five other air force training command stations in the
country - one in Karnataka and four in Telangana, but Yelahanka has the highest elevation of 3,045
feet/928 metres.13/08/18 Furquan Moharkan/Deccan Herald

How Bengaluru became Aero hub

Bengaluru: Call it situational irony, but it was Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)’s reluctance to approve an air show at its airport which led to Air Force Station, Yelahanka, turning into the venue for Aero India for more than two decades.  It was former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s dream to host an international aviation exhibition on Indian soil, but driven by the leader’s Doon School buddy and Managing Director, CONVEX, Mr Anand Sethi, which resulted in a private event, Avia India, in 1993.

When the organizers turned to then IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Nirmal Chandra Suri for an alternative venue as the top brass of HAL backed out from hosting the event, they were offered three venues: Air Force Station, Tambaram, the Air Force Academy (AFA) at Dundigal, and Air Force Station, Yelahanka.
And Yelahanka proved to be the best choice because of free airspace around the Air Force Station, a sprawling campus to host the event and adequate room to extend the runway for participation of advanced jets from across the world, and the presence of aerospace industries and DRDO laboratories which volunteered to co-sponsor the first event. Sources said Air Marshal Denzil Keelor (Retd), then air adviser to DGCA, stepped in and convinced all foreign aircraft to land in Yelahanka during the three-day show (December 15-18) for re-fuelling while heading home after the Malaysian Air Show.
14/08/18 BR Srikanth/Deccan Chronicle

Govt proposes new model concession agreement for greenfield airports

New Delhi: The Centre today proposed a new financial model for building greenfield airports aimed at making air travel more affordable and addressing concern of disputes related to tariff.
Under the new financial model, the concession fee given by the airport operator to the concessioning authority will be based on a 'per passenger aeronautical model'.
"The passenger-based model will also be the base of the bidding process," Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu told reporters here while unveiling the transaction structure.
The new model will encourage increased private investment, the minister outlined.
14/04/18 Times of India

SpiceJet posts Q1 loss at Rs 38 cr on higher fuel cost, arbitration award, FX loss

Low-cost airline carrier SpiceJet has posted a loss of Rs 38.1 crore for the quarter ended June, dented by higher fuel cost and arbitration award.

The company had reported profit of Rs 175.2 crore in same period last year.

"The company has taken a provision of Rs 63.5 Crore as an exceptional item on account of an arbitration award that cited interest payable of Rs 92.5 crore and interest receivable of Rs 29 crore for the company," SpiceJet said in its filing.

With this one time provision, it has now fully provided for the maximum amount that may be payable under the arbitration award. Hence its profit before exceptional item stood at Rs 25.4 crore.
14/04/18 Moneycontrol.com

Kochi: Flight landing off centered

Kochi: Heavy rains the city caused Kuwait Airways flight KU357 carrying around 160 passengers to land off-centered from the runway on Tuesday at 2:20am.
Cochin International Airport officials informed that the flight which was entering its final lap of landing was suddenly moved off the center of the runway due to sudden crosswind along with rains drastically bringing down the visibility on the Southern side of runway causing a flight to land away from it's designated path.
During the landing, the flight also knocked off a couple of airport's side runway lights as well.
The pilot had immediately taken control of the situation and eventually taxied the flight at the parking stand.
14/04/18 Times of India

Air India allows dog to fly business class from Bengaluru to Delhi

New Delhi: Upgrading the ambassador of a key European nation to India may have earned an Air India commander a show cause notice. But the airline management allowed the pet dog of a passenger to fly in business class with his owner from Bengaluru to Delhi on July 29.
The puppy flew aboard AI 501. While AI did not comment on this particular issue despite repeated attempts, an airline official said: “We allow pets on board (in passenger cabin). If the owner is in business then where will the pet travel? The final authority is of the captain (on allowing pet in cabin) and the rule is that the presence of the pet should not trouble other guests.”
While there is no standard rule on pets in planes, most leading airlines do not allow them in passenger cabins. Jet Airways till recently allowed pets in aircraft belly (not cabin) but stopped that practice after the death of two puppies. Now only service/guide dogs may be allowed. India’s other full service airline, Vistara, also says “it does not allow pets”.
14/08/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Intelligence agencies fear of unmanned aerial vehicle attack

New Delhi: A high-level meeting took place today in North Block regarding the aerial threat on Independence Day by any unmanned aerial vehicle - whether paraglider, paramotor or drone. The drone threat has been a serious cause of concern for the security agencies and the Indian Air Force has been tasked with the responsibility of tracking and neutralizing any attacks outside the 30 km no-fly zone. According to reports, top officials from the Indian Air Force, Defence Ministry, Intelligence Bureau, National Security Guard, Delhi Police and Special Protection Group were present at the meeting.The responsibility of the tackling drone attacks inside the zone is with the Delhi Police. Security agencies are also planning to deploy radars, sniper teams and other defensive measures to thwart such attack. An air defence mechanism will also be in place to thwart any such threat, ToI reported. 6,000 security personnel and sharpshooters from NSG will be deployed on the iconic Red Fort. Apart from that, around 5,000 personnel from Delhi Police, special cell, and security wing have also been deployed.
14/08/18 Srinjoy Chowdhury/Times Now News.com

SpiceJet becomes 1st budget carrier to launch IFE system

SpiceJet today became the first local low-cost carrier to launch a complimentary in-flight entertainment (IFE) system across its international and domestic flights which can be accessed by passengers through their mobile phones and tablets. Until now, IFE services were being offered only by full-service carriers, including Air India and Jet Airways, through IFE LCD screens. “The launch of our new in-flight entertainment system, SpicEngage, will vastly improve the on board experience of our flyers. Passengers can now use their own phones and tablets on board SpiceJet to watch their favourite shows, play games, read and do much more,” said Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director, SpiceJet.

Unlike traditional in-flight entertainment systems, flyers can easily access SpicEngage on their hand-held devices by following a few easy steps, the airline said. SpicEngage will host a plethora of content broadly classified under five categories watch, play, explore, read and eat, it said.
13/08/18 PTI/Financial Express

Indian gov't to boost compensation to Air India for VIP ops

The Indian government will significantly increase the compensation it pays to Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l) for the maintenance of B747-400s used as VIP transports for the President, the Prime Minister, and other high ranking politicians.

The flag carrier currently receives INR3.36 billion rupees (USD48.33 million) per fiscal year to maintain the Boeing quadjets. The amount has been kept unchanged since 2011, despite the constant growth in the costs of the maintenance of the ageing aircraft.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in the Lok Sabha, the Indian Parliament, that as of the current fiscal year, the compensation will be raised to INR5.34 billion rupees (USD76.78 million) plus applicable taxes. The amount will also be raised by 10% every fiscal year to account for growing expenditures.
14/08/18 ch-aviation

Unbelievable! Air India denied boarding to as many as 13,175 passengers

Aviation in India is on a high, but many times passengers come face to face with unpleasant situations. Among the worst is being denied boarding. Now, it has emerged the Maharaja has deboarded a huge number of its clients. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha today said that as many as 13,175 cases of boarding being denied by Air India have been reported. This is for the year 2015.

The minister's statement came in response to a question whether Air India had denied boarding to passengers due to overbooking in the year 2015.

The minister also said that a DGCA rule makes it mandatory for the airlines to compensate the passenger if passengers have been denied boarding against their will.

"If the boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the airline shall not be liable for any compensation in case an alternate flight is arranged that is scheduled to depart within one hour of the original scheduled departure time of the initial reservation. Failing to do so, the airline shall compensate the passengers," he said.
14/08/18 ZeeBiz

Air India in the way of taxiway straightening

Chennai: Air India has come in the way of Airports Authority of India’s ongoing straightening of a taxiway to remove a bottleneck and build parking bays for cargo planes at Chennai airport.
The AAI wants to demolish a hangar and a building used by the airline to make space for parking stands for cargo planes after the taxiway before the old airport is straightened. But the airline, using a cargo hangar and building to handle its cargo consignments, has been delaying vacating of the facility though AAI had been asking it to move into the integrated cargo complex nearby.
Officials from AAI headquarters in Delhi held a meeting with Air India officials in Chennai on Monday in which the airline agreed in principle to move out but no deadline has been fixed. The parking stands for planes are needed because the taxiway is being straightened by taking up the existing cargo stands and the old airport building. A senior AAI official said a deadline for vacating the premises might be taken in Delhi after the inputs from today’s meeting were conveyed to the headquarters.
14/08/18 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Air India Independence Day sale: 'Maharaja' offers big discounts, but there is a catch

Air India is offering discounted tickets on the occasion of Independence Day. However, according to the airliner, flyers can only avail the offer if the ticket booking is done through its official website: airindia.in.

For both domestic and international flights the discount is valid till August 15. One can avail this discount on ticket prices by using the 18INDAY. However, the airline says that the offer is not valid on Air India Express, Alliance Air flights, and codeshare flights.

On the other hand, to celebrate India's Independence Day, AirAsia India has also come up with its own offer. Under the promotion scheme ‘Buy More, Save More!’ customers can book tickets at a discounted price.  The airline is offering the sale for Bengaluru, Kolkata, Amritsar, New Delhi, Ranchi and Hyderabad and other routes. According to the AirAsia, the sale is valid till 19 August for travel between 19 February 2019 and 13 August 2019.

Another domestic airline, GoAir has extended its ‘Go Gr8 Festival Sale’ offer till 15 August. Flyers can book tickets at a starting price of Rs 1,099 for domestic flights.
14/08/18 ZeeBiz

Air India Disburses Salaries For July After A Delay Of 15 Days

New Delhi: ndia's national carrier Air India on today disbursed the salaries to its employees for the month of July, after a delay of 15 days.
The Chairman and Managing Director of the airline, Pradeep Singh Kharola confirmed the news.

"Air India has disbursed the salary for its staff for the month of July," Mr Kharola confirmed to ANI.

The debt-ridden airline had issued a notice earlier this month in the connection.

''We regret to inform the delay in payment of salaries for July 2018 due to circumstances beyond the control of the management. However, all efforts are being made to make the payment by next week," the notice said.
14/08/18 ANI/NDTV

Jet Airways flight to Abu Dhabi returns as a boy falls sick

Mangaluru: Jet Airways flight to Abu Dhabi returned to city as a boy fell sick midair on Monday, August 13.

The flight had taken off at 4.30 am in the morning. When the flight had finished a journey of around one hour, a boy suddenly fell sick and complained about his illness. The pilot decided to return to city and the flight landed at Mangaluru International Airport at 6.30 am.

After the boy was dropped, the flight took off again at 7.00 am.
14/04/18 Daijiworld

AirAsia Independence Day sale: Airline slashes prices by 45 pct on Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata, other flights

New Delhi: Celebrating India's 72nd Independence Day, AirAsia is offering discounts up to 45 per cent on its domestic flights. Under this special sale, the offer is being made on routes that include Bengaluru, Kolkata, Amritsar, New Delhi, Ranchi and Hyderabad, along with a few other destinations.

The official website of AirAsia says, "Independence Day Sale, Up to 45% off! Fly to Bengaluru, Kolkata, Amritsar, New Delhi, Ranchi, Hyderabad & more!"

The travel period being offered starts from February 19 to August 13, 2019. Travellers can book their tickets till Aug 19 2018.

The offer is applicable on flight tickets available on web and the airline's mobile app only. Customers can avail the offer using the promotion scheme Buy More, Save More!, which means, larger your travel group, higher the discount you will be able to get.
14/04/18 ZeeBiz

What makes an airport fit for night landing: lighting, landing guidance

New Delhi: India has 101 airports; until last year, about 35 did not have night landing facilities. These were primarily smaller airports that saw lower passenger traffic. According to a Civil Aviation Ministry source, it is usually the Airports Authority of India, which manages most of the airports in India, that takes up a particular one for consideration for providing night landing facilities, once airlines have shown an interest in post-sunset operations.

The main requirement for night landing is that the runway approach lighting system include a series of light bars with strobe lights installed at the end of the runway. Such a system serves a runway that is equipped with an instrument landing system, or ILS. With modernisation of aircraft and airport equipment, ILS is replacing the traditional approach, under which pilots landing aircraft depended on what was visible to them.

ILS uses a series of navigational aids to help pilots land the aircraft if they cannot establish visual contact with the runway. As per the International Telecommunication Union, ILS is a system which provides the aircraft “with horizontal and vertical guidance just before and during landing and, at certain fixed points, indicates the distance to the reference point of landing”.

It is also important for airport operators to have lighting along the runway edge, so that pilots landing at night are able to make visual contact and align the aircraft with the centre of the runway.
14/04/18 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

SpiceJet outlines early freighter deployment plans

SpiceJet is planning to commence dedicated freighter operations later this month, Chief Project Officer Manjiv Singh has revealed.

Speaking to Indian Transport & Logistics News, Singh said the Indian low-cost carrier was on track to add its first P2F-converted B737-800 later this month ahead of the launch of daily flights from Guwahati to Hong Kong Int'l, a key export market for goods made in India's Northeast region.

SpiceJet plans to operate a fleet of twenty dedicated freighters by 2022. The aircraft, which will be sourced from Boeing's facility in China as well as from Israel Aerospace Industries' Bedek unit, will be deployed on both domestic Indian routes and flights abroad.
13/08/18 ch-aviation

Reliance Infrastructure set to bag airport EPC contract in Rajkot

Mumbai: Reliance Infrastructure is close to bagging an order for construction of an airport at Hirasar in Gujarat’s Rajkot district. The Anil Ambani-led company’s bid of around Rs 650 crore emerged the lowest last week in a tender floated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the construction contract.
The new airport is expected to reduce the bottleneck at the existing Rajkot airport, which is small and cannot be expanded. “Reliance Infra is the lowest bidder. We will soon complete the procedure and award them the project,” an AAI official told ET. The company confirmed it had bid for the project.
Other bidders for the project that AAI estimates will cost Rs 800 crore were L&T, Afcons, Dilip Buildcon and Gayatri ProjectsNSE 1.63 %, sources said. Work is to be completed in 30 months from date of issue of letter of award.
14/04/18 Rachita Prasad/Economic Times

Flights connecting Australia with Amritsar from Aug 16

Amritsar: Air Asia-X world’s second largest low cost carrier from August 16 will connect Amritsar with Australian cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Gold Coast with convenient connections via Kuala Lumpur.
The convener of Fly Amritsar Initiative Sameep Singh Gumtala said on Monday that the airline will operate four weekly flights between Amritsar-Kuala Lumpur connecting Sydney and Melbourne within 2 to 3 hours.
14/04/18 UNI

GMR awards contracts for airport expansion in Hyderabad, India

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) has awarded contracts for an airport expansion to India-based construction firm L&T Construction and Philippines-based Megawide Corporation.

A subsidiary of GMR Infra, GHIAL manages the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. It is planning to expand the terminal building and support airside infrastructure.

This expansion will help manage 34 million passengers a year, an increase of 22 million from the existing capacity.
14/04/18 Airport Technology

BJD opposes Chilika airport

Bhubaneswar: BJD on Monday opposed the Centre's move to set up a water aerodrome in the Chilika lagoon. The Union government has given in-principle approval to the project.

The BJP lambasted the BJD accusing it of indulging in politics over developmental projects as they would generate employment.

State revenue minister Maheswar Mohanty, BJD MP Tathagat Satpathy and Brahmagiri MLA Sanjay Das Burma on Monday opposed the Centre's move.

A team of scientists had visited the area to conduct the feasibility study. According to the proposal, the water aerodrome would come up in an area of open water and used regularly by seaplanes or amphibious aircraft for landing and taking off.
14/08/18 Subhashish Mohanty/Telegraph

Three flights cancelled, seven delayed

Mohali: Passengers faced tough time at Chandigarh International Airport on Monday when three flights was cancelled and three others diverted to Delhi due to poor visibility. As many as seven flights, including the one from Sharjah, were delayed due to the same reason.

According to airport officials, Air India Mumbai-Chandigarh-Pune flight was not allowed to land at Chandigarh airport due to poor visibility and was diverted to Delhi. The flight had scheduled departure for Pune at 9:15 am. Also, Air India’s Chandigarh to Kullu was also cancelled due to the same reason.

Air India airport manager M R Jindal said, “All passengers heading for Pune were adjusted in other private airlines to reach Delhi from where they boarded Air India flights to Pune. The passengers from Delhi were brought to Chandigarh in a different Air India flight.”
14/08/18 Times of India

Haryana govt to fulfill its promise with inauguration of Hisar airport on Aug 15: Capt Abhimanyu

Chandigarh: Haryana Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu on Monday said with the inauguration of Haryana’s first airport by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on August 15, the government would fulfill its promise made to the people of Haryana.
The Minister said the flights would soon start operating from Hisar airport to Chandigarh and Delhi after the inauguration.
He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu for this gift to the people of Haryana.
14/08/18 UNI

CISF detects 44,900 dollars at Delhi IGI Airport

New Delhi: The Central Industrial Security Force on Monday detected 44,900 US dollars, concealed in biscuit jar from the baggage of a passenger at Indira Gandhi International
airport at Delhi.
An official statement said here on Tuesday that around 1910 hrs, during Pre-Embarkation Security Check through x-ray machine at Security Hold Area, a CISF personnel noticed some suspicious image inside the bag of a passenger namely Mohd Kashif, who was supposed to travel to Dubai by Air India flight.
On opening the bag, 44,900 US Dollars worth approximately Rs 31,42,000, kept inside two white colour envelopes which were concealed in two plastic jars filled with small biscuits, was found.
14/08/18 UNI

Bangladeshi lady arrested from Dum Dum Airport, Kolkata with fake passport

At at time when the government and Opposition are at loggerheads over NRC and immigration issues, a Bangladeshi lady named Parvina Bibi was arrested from Dum Dum Airport while leaving for Bangladesh.

The lady was about catch an Indigo flight yesterday but was detained by the immigration department and was questioned by them. A fake Indian passport was recovered from her possession.
14/08/18 DNA

Monday, August 13, 2018

Air India grounds 19 planes for lack of spare parts

Loss-making Air India has grounded as many as 19 planes due to lack of spare parts, leading to flight cancellations and a huge loss of revenue to the airline on a daily basis, the national carrier's pilots' union has alleged.

Taking the top management head-on, the pilots have questioned as to why the aircraft were being allowed to remain on the ground for so long as this is having a significant impact on the bottom-line of the national carrier.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said, in a letter to Air India CMD Pradeep Singh Kharola, that almost 23 per cent of the Air India fleet is grounded for lack of spares.

To put this into perspective, aircrafts worth approximately USD 3.6 billion or approximately Rs 25,000 crore, are lying idle in the hangars, the ICPA alleged.
13/08/18 Business Today

Pilots' body shows the mirror to Air India: Planes worth Rs 25,000 crore lying idle in hangar

Debt-laden Air India has grounded as many as 19 aircraft, including nine Airbus A321, due to lack of spares, resulting in a significant loss of revenue to the carrier besides flight cancellations, one of its pilots' body has alleged.
Besides, there are also aircraft fleet swaps which result in last minute change of inventory, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said in a letter to Air India chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola today.
"Almost 23 percent of the Air India fleet is grounded for lack of spares. To put this into perspective, aircraft worth approximately $3.6 billion or approximately Rs 25,000 crore (at today's price) are lying idle in the hangars," the ICPA alleged.
While as many as eight Airbus A321 aircraft, of the total 20 such planes operated by Air India, are out of operations at various stations for lack of spares, four A319s are also on ground for one reason or the other, it said.
The A319 aircraft is the workhorse of the domestic network operating on high-density routes and has the maximum seating capacity, the ICPA said adding that "(due to the grounding of these planes) there is a significant revenue loss on a daily basis."
13/08/18 PTI/moneycontrol.com

Air India on pilots' allegations: We accord top-most priority to safety

New Delhi: Three days after a section of its pilots asked if Air India had money for maintenance, the airline on Monday reiterated it's safety record. "Air India accords top-most priority to safety of the aircraft in its fleet.

It is a common practice for every airline to ground some of its aircraft for routine maintenance and checks periodically by its engineering department so that the aircraft are fit to fly in conformity to laid down standards. Our aircraft also go for these checks without affecting our flight schedule and causing inconvenience to our esteemed passengers," AI said in a statement Monday.

This statement comes after Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA, union of erstwhile Indian Airlines' pilots) questioned the airline management while claiming that 23 per cent of the fleet is grounded.
13/08/18 Times of India

Air India may get Rs 30,000 crore loan write-off, cash infusion of up to Rs 11,000 crore: Report

New Delhi: In an attempt to revive cash-strapped Air India, the government may write off Rs 30,000 crore loan and pump in about Rs 10,000-11,000 crore, reported the Economic Times citing people aware of the development. Grappling with huge debts and tough business conditions, the ailing national carrier is saddled with a debt of over Rs 50,000 crore.

The financial daily quoted the people as saying the bailout package will include accumulated losses will be written off, allowing the company to clean up its balance sheet. “Small cash infusions are not making any dent. We want to put the airline in a commercially viable situation,” one of the officials cited above told the ET.

In a text message to the daily civil aviation secretary RN Choubey confirmed that talks are on for a rescue package for Air India. However, he was reticent to provide details at this stage. Worth mentioning here is that if the package okayed, this will be the second bailout for the national carrier in the last five years.
13/08/18 ET Now News

Jet Airways on DGCA's radar: Aviation regulator to conduct financial audit of troubled airline

Aviation regulator DGCA is set to conduct a financial audit of the Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways, amid its fiscal conditions under pressure due to the surging jet fuel prices and low fares, a source said.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has already evaluated the financial health of the national carrier Air India recently, besides conducting a special audit of Air Deccan, the source close to the development said.

The financial audit of airlines, which has been conducted in the past too, is done to assess their fiscal health and also ensure that they are not compromising on safety due to financial stress.

"We will conduct the financial audit of Jet Airways from August 27. A similar audit of Air India has been completed," the source said.
12/08/18 PTI/Business Today

6E IndiGo: the silent aggressor in the skies

6E – the call sign is now a folklore in the Indian aviation sector. From acquiring its first aircraft
in July 2006, a month before it flew for the first time, no-frills carrier IndiGo has now grown in
to an airline with 175 aircraft – at least an aircraft a month, a feat no Indian airline can boast
The airline has been consistently clocking 40% market share for months now. In June, its
market share was 41.3%. In between, a flamboyant airline crash landed and another almost
went off skies while some just stopped flying even as more and more Indians were flying.
With the temperament of a Test cricketer, the airline slowly captured the market, but showed
classic aggression when the opportunity was placed before it. The airline slowly captured the
market, taking one step at a time, but not slowly.
Like any successful enterprise, IndiGo was born when its low-profile promoters Rahul Bhatia
and US-based Rakesh Gangwal, both engineers, got together to launch the airline in 2005.
The Bhatia family’s travel business had run into rough weather when the younger Bhatia was
abroad. He returned to India and had entered into airport transport management. Bhatia and
his father were keen to enter the airline business for long, and roped in Gangwal, a former
US Airways CEO who was not very keen initially. Bhatia was very sure about the aviation
potential in India and Gangwal’s experience in the aviation sector came in handy. History was
in the making, and the Indian aviation sector was on the threshold of a change.
12/08/18 Shemin Joy/Deccan Herald

Jet’s Goyal Has To Choose: Let Go And Let Company Survive, Or Sink With It

Jet is in deep waters, and an unlikely candidate for survival without a transfer of ownership to stronger hands. A report in The Economic Times notes that the airline has to repay Rs 6,000 crore debts in 2018-19, when its daily losses are around Rs 10 crore and net worth negative at just under Rs 5,000 crore. Its shares should be valued at nothing, and the market capitalisation of over Rs 3,000 crore (around noon on 13 August) represents a triumph of hope rather than reality.

The airline business is easy to get into with minimal initial capital, for you can lease aircraft, hire pilots and ground crew, and pay the landing charges from initial cash flows. As long as cash flows from ticket sales cover your variable costs, you can easily stay afloat. For a while. But the real test comes when fuel costs soar, and the whole cash-flow situation tanks where fares can’t be easily raised. In this scenario, the only promoters who can handle the rough weather are those with deep access to capital. Goyal is not one of them.

This is what happened with Kingfisher, which relied on bank loans to stay afloat when what it needed was more equity.
For Vijay Mallya, Kingfisher was like a trophy spouse, that went with his flashy lifestyle. He invested in sinking Air Deccan on the assumption that scale will give his viability. It did not.

Goyal did not make the same mistake, of treating Jet like a trophy spouse to flaunt at parties, but his business model was simply not good enough, and his ability to raise capital was weak given his decision to keep controlling interest when Etihad picked up a minority stake after giving him life-saving capital some years ago.

He ought to have given up control in 2015; now he will be compelled to let go of his baby on worse terms. He has two options: hang on and let his airline sink further, or give up control and save it.
13/08/18 R Jagannathan/Swarajya

Jet Airways financial woes: ‘Evaluating options to raise funds on priority’

New Delhi: Asserting that all its accounts with lenders are standard and there was no overdue in any of the accounts, Mumbai-based Jet Airways said that it was evaluating various funding options to meet its liquidity requirements on priority. However, it dismissed the reports of a stake sale or any move to monetise its investment in the frequent flier programme as speculative.

“There have been no delays in discharging any of our loan obligations to any of the lenders. In fact, our bankers have issued a certificate to this extent at periodical intervals. The company’s account has been consistently standard over the last several years,” a Jet Airways spokesperson said.

Notwithstanding the company’s claims about its accounts being ‘standard’, the country’s aviation safety regulator is set to begin an inspection of the airline’s functioning from August 27 given the recent developments pertaining to Jet Airways’ financial woes. A senior official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation suggested that financial stress of an airline could percolate to various other aspects of operations, including maintenance of safety standards. “The airline is aware of the proposed inspection and is prepared for it. At Jet Airways, safety is of paramount importance,” the Mumbai-based airline said in a statement.
13/08/18 Indian Express

Air India says aircraft grounding for maintenance a common practice

Mumbai: State-owned Air India today termed the aircraft grounding for maintenance a common practice, a day after one of its pilot unions alleged that as many as 19 aircraft were on ground due to lack of spares.
"It is a common practice for every airline to ground some of its aircraft for routine maintenance and checks periodically by its engineering department so that the aircraft are fit to fly in conformity to laid down standards," Air India said in a statement.
Asserting that it accords "top-most priority" to safety of the aircraft in its fleet, the airline said, "Our aircraft also go for these checks without affecting our flight schedule and causing inconvenience to our passengers."
Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), which represents Air India's narrow-body fleet, had yesterday alleged that as many as 19 aircraft, including nine Airbus A321s, were taken out of flying due to want of spares, resulting in a significant loss of revenue to the carrier besides flight cancellations.
13/08/18 PTI/Economic Times

Indian airlines need USD50 billion to finance fleet orders

Indian airlines will require an estimated USD50 billion of financing to support projected deliveries until 2027.
Around 100 aircraft are to be delivered to Indian airlines each year for the next five years. This is by far the greatest volume of aircraft induction in the history of Indian commercial aviation. Projected fleet expansion represents a major opportunity for aircraft investors looking to deploy capital in new generation assets.

However, despite the strength of underlying demand, operators in the Indian market face a number of challenges. On the cost front, Indian airlines pay some of the highest fuel taxation in the world and also incur taxes on aircraft leases, while on the supply side, infrastructure and skills shortages (particularly commanders) are potential constraints on growth.
13/08/18 CAPA

Bringing aviation fuel under GST could provide breather to airlines

The high cost of fuel is resulting in falling fortunes of airlines across the globe. Last month, Canada’s WestJet reported its first quarterly loss in 13, as it struggled with a 38 percent rise in fuel costs; US-based Delta Air Lines expects its current fuel bill to be higher by $2 billion.

Back home, IndiGo saw profit fall by 97 percent to ₹27.8 crore in the first quarter of fiscal 2018 as against ₹811 crore last year. Jet Airways, which celebrated its 25th year, is reported to be struggling to stay afloat as its finances are in the doldrums.

Despite double-digit growth, India’s aviation industry is facing challenges: A depreciating rupee on one hand, and the mismatch between high fuel prices and low fares on the other. Adding to this are the structural challenges of the industry.
13/08/18 Anshul Dhamija/Forbes

Is your airline safe? DGCA will soon find out

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is conducting a financial audit of India's airlines to ensure that they are not cutting corners on aircraft safety due to a fund crunch, news agency PTI reported on Sunday, quoting a source.

The DGCA has already conducted a financial audit of Indigo and Air India, which has been defaulting on salary payments to its employees, besides grounding a number of aircraft due to payment issues with vendors. Next in the line is Jet Airways on August 27, followed by Air Deccan and Air Odisha.

The two carriers, which together have been mandated to fly on 84 routes under the government's regional connectivity scheme, had recently cancelled a number of flights, citing shortage of pilots and technical glitch in their aircraft, the source said.
13/08/18 Times of India

Why government needs to take more proactive role in addressing cost woes of Indian airlines

The troubles at India’s second largest airline by passengers, Jet Airways, bring one to question the government’s wait-and-watch approach. Especially, since there are reports of yet another mega-bailout package being mulled by the government for Air India (AI).

Why AI needs more funds is due to rampant mismanagement coupled amid high-cost environment. And the latter has come about due to high taxation on jet fuel and a depreciating rupee coupled with intense competitive pressures forcing airlines to offer ridiculously low fares.

The government may be helpless in the matter of fares or even in how any airline manages its operations but it can surely do its bit to improve costs. Why prop up only Air India while doling out a step-motherly treatment to private airlines, especially since the government is already a participant in the sector through AI?  Both, AI and Jet are legacy carriers with inherent high-cost structures, helping one by infusing a large dose of funds while watching developments at the other is not all right.
13/08/18 CNBC TV18

Saras small passenger aircraft will be in commercial use in 3 years: Harsh Vardhan

The ambitious Saras project to manufacture small passenger aircraft, which was in cold storage, has been revived and in the next three years its commercial use will start under the UDAN scheme, Union minister Harsh Vardhan said today.

Commercial modification and implementation process were underway, he told reporters after inaugurating the UAV design and integration facility at the National Aeronautics Limited here, he said.

"The project was stopped after a tragedy but now it has been revived and test flights are in progress..," he said.

"In the next three years, the 19-seater aircraft will be utilised for commercial purpose," Vardhan said.
13/08/18 PTI/Economic Times

Khattar to inaugurate Hisar airport on Aug 15

Chandigarh: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will inaugurate the first civil airport of the state established at a cost of Rs 12.36 crore in Hisar on August 15, state Civil Aviation Minister Rao Narbir Singh said today.
He said the airport has been set up in a "record time" with the support from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The passenger terminal to be dedicated to the public would comprise of all facilities including X-ray baggage scanning, reception area, as well as security hold area as per the norms of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Singh said in an official statement here.
13/08/18 PTI/Times of India

Jet Airways Lenders Are Wary of Extending New Loans

Jet Airways India Ltd.’s lenders are reluctant to extend additional loans to the cash-strapped airline ahead of a key report by the company’s financial auditor, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

India’s biggest full-service carrier, part-owned by Etihad Airways PJSC, had approached banks for emergency funding but the lenders prefer that the company raises money from a share sale before they would commit to any fresh credit, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter is confidential. Lenders are waiting for auditors’ endorsement of financial accounts after the airline delayed its earnings announcement last week, the people said.

A spokesman for Jet Airways didn’t respond to emails and calls seeking comments on its efforts to repay borrowings. In a separate statement late Monday, the airline said it’s been evaluating funding options to meet liquidity requirements “on priority” and proactively working on multiple revenue enhancement and cost-cutting measures.
13/08/18 George Smith Alexander , Anto Antony , and P R Sanjai/Bloomberg

India's GoAir set for int'l debut in 4Q18 as Vistara slips

GoAir has once more, set out plans for its much anticipated international debut, now due to take place during the final quarter of this year.

According to the PTI news agency, India's Civil Aviation secretary R N Choubey told reporters last week that GoAir had applied for, and been granted, permission to start flights from the new Kannur International Airport, set to open on October 1, to Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

Founded in 2005, GoAir currently operates a fleet of nineteen A320-200s and eighteen A320neo on flights spanning 23 towns and cities across India. In preparation for its inaugural flights abroad, the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) has already endorsed the LCC's Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) for international operations.

Vistara is also in the process of putting together plans for its own foreign services but may have to modify them given a lack of space for an additional Indian carrier on the routes it wants to serve. In July, The Economic Times reported the Singapore Airlines/Tata Group joint-venture airline had applied to MOCA for international traffic rights to serve multiple South East Asian and Indian Subcontinent destinations.
13/08/18 ch-aviation

To boost aviation sector, government plans inflation-linked pre-determined tariff structure for airports

The government plans to have a pre-determined tariff structure linked to inflation for airports as it seeks to address issues hindering investments in the fast-growing Indian aviation sector, a senior official said. Currently, there is cost plus tariff structure wherein the rates for an airport are determined every five years, which is known as the concession period.

Many more airports are expected to be operational in the coming years, especially with rising air passenger traffic and infrastructure woes at some of the existing major aerodromes.

"The wide variation in airport tariffs create challenges for domestic and foreign airlines who have to recover the same from passengers," Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told PTI.
12/08/18 PTI/ZeeBiz

Defence ministry yet to decide on venue for next edition of Aero India

New Delhi: The defence ministry has received requests from a number of countries including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh to host the next Aero India amid reports that the mega aerospace event is being moved out of its traditional venue of Bengaluru.

Official sources said the defence ministry is examining the requests from various states and is yet to take a call on the venue for the next edition of the event.

"The ministry has received requests to host the event from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and several other states," said a source.

There have been reports that the biennial event — considered the largest aerospace exhibition in Asia — may be organised at the Bakshi Ka Talab air force base in Lucknow in October.
13/08/18 PTI/Times of India

Rafale deal row: Modi government catering only to self-interest, alleges Congress

New Delhi: Raising the heat on the Modi government over the Rafale jet deal, the Congress today accused it of promoting crony capitalism and its own "self interests" and ignoring national interests.

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government is not answering why Rs 41,205 crore more out of the public money was paid for the Rafale fighters and accused the prime minister of violating the 'defence procurement procedure'.

The opposition party alleged that Reliance Defence was chosen as the local partner for offset contracts worth crores, as per the 2016 annual report of Dassault Aviation and a press statement of Reliance Defence.

Reliance Defence and Aerospace, in a statement, said that it or any other Reliance group company has not received any contract from the Defence Ministry till date, relating to the 36 Rafale aircraft.
12/08/18 New Indian Express

Domestic airlines paid Rs. 2.84 cr. over cancellations

Mumbai: Domestic airlines have collectively paid Rs. 2.84 crore as compensation to 1.7 lakh passengers till June 30 for the cancellation of 4,643 flights this year.

Data provided by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to the Lok Sabha on August 2 shows that 27,497 complaints were received regarding ticketing fare and refunds, staff or crew behaviour, flight delays, baggage issues among others since 2016.

Of these, 15,531 were filed through the Centralised Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System portal of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and 1,532 through the Integrated Grievance Redress Mechanism portal of the Department of Consumer Affairs and AirSewa portal of MoCA.

Apart from this, 10,434 complaints were filed through AirSewa’s mobile application and portal. Stakeholder and category-wise records maintained by it show that till date, 7,251 complaints were received against airlines since November 25, 2016, the date of commencement of AirSewa.
13/08/18 Aditya Anand/The Hindu

Tech glitch delays Jet Airways Delhi-London flight by over 5 hours

New Delhi: A London-bound Jet Airways flight from here, carrying 330 passengers, was delayed on Sunday by over 5 hours due to a technical glitch and regulatory issues, according to the airline.
Details about the flight's original departure time could not be immediately ascertained.
In a statement, the airline said its flight 9W 122 from the national capital to London was delayed due to a technical issue.
12/08/18 PTI/Times of India

Aero India 2019: Karnataka govt upset over shift of venue to Uttar Pradesh, says 'Bengaluru had all infrastructure in place'

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Sunday expressed its displeasure after the Ministry of Defence shifted its 22nd 'Aero India' show from Bengaluru to Uttar Pradesh this year. While seeking an answer from the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government over venue change, Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said that Bengaluru is the proper place for the show as the state has all infrastructure in place.

"Our BJP friends in Karnataka must answer. We also requested the defence minister and told her that Bengaluru is the proper place for the Aero show event and we have all infrastructure in place as well. I don't know why the Centre took such a decision," Kumaraswamy told the reporters.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara also targeted the Government via his official Twitter handle. He wrote, "We have been India's defence hub since Independence, but under the NDA, we are constantly losing key defence projects and flagship programs."
13/08/18 ANI/First Post

Ballari airport remains unused for years

Hubballi:  Ballari Airport, situated just five km from the heart of Ballari, remains underdeveloped and unused at a time when regional connectivity is expanding across the country. Activists are demanding that the airport be utilised again and serve its purpose.
Sources in the district administration said that the Airport was built during British era. Since troops were present in the city, the then British government selected the airport as a stopover point. Tata Airlines, now Air India, operated an airmail service and passenger service from Karachi to Chennai via Ballari back in 1932. JRD Tata had inaugurated the service.
According to activists, the airport remains underdeveloped due to the apathy of the Centre and the state governments.
13/08/18 Marx Tejaswi/Times of India

AirAsia Independence Day sale: Grab up to 45% discount on flight tickets

Just ahead of India’s 71st Independence Day, AirAsia is offering flyers 45 percent discount on domestic flight tickets. The discount offer is available for Bengaluru, Kolkata, Amritsar, New Delhi, Ranchi and Hyderabad, to name a few, according to official website of the airline. The flight ticket is valid from now until August 19 and the travel period is  from February 19 to August 13, 2019.

In order to avail the offer, customers need to book tickets in advance. The discount offer is not available during the peak period, the airline said on its official website. The discounts are applicable on select flights only.

The offer can be availed under the scheme ‘ Buy More, Save More!’ The scheme says the larger the group that travels, higher the discount on offer. If the travel group includes one flyer, you can avail 15 percent discount, 2 guests can avail 25 percent discount and three will get 35 percent discount. Four can avail 45 percent discount. Maximum of 9 guests are allowed on flight tickets, airline said.
13/08/18 Financial Express

‘No land near Kolkata to develop a second airport’

Kolkata: A day after Airports Authority of India blamed the state for not reverting back to their request of adequate land to develop a second airport, a senior state official said the government did not have any contiguous strip of land spreading over thousand acres anywhere within 35km-40km of the city. He asked AAI officials to focus on the existing greenfield airport at Andal, 186kms from Kolkata, and try to redevelop it as the city’s second airport.

The official who acknowledged to have received the letter said they had extensively searched for the land specifications laid out by the AAI on the outskirts of the city but failed to find one. “There is no such place with a few thousand acres of continuous land within 35kms to 40kms of the city that can be developed into a full-fledged airport. We are again requesting the officials to revisit Andal airport and find out possibilities of expanding it further and make it functional as the city’s second airport,” he said.
13/08/18 Tamaghna Banerjee and Udit Prasanna Mukherji/Times of India

Non-inclusion in ‘bilateral list’ hits city airport’s growth

Visakhapatnam: The non-inclusion of Visakhapatnam in the list of bilateral cities from which foreign airlines can operate flights to the Gulf countries appears to be coming in the way of the growth of the city airport, despite it being the only operational international airport in Andhra Pradesh.

A large number of passengers flying to Dubai and onward destinations from the Visakhapatnam region and there has been a good demand for the introduction of a direct flight from Vizag to Dubai.

The Air India flight from Vizag to Dubai via Hyderabad has been receiving a good patronage since its launch in 2012, according to sources.

The passengers from Vizag have been complaining about the ‘inordinate delay’ by the stopover flight. The Flydubai has been trying to start operations from Vizag for the past four years, but is yet to get the mandatory permission.
13/08/18 B. Madhu Gopal/The Hindu

Independence Day sale: AirAsia, Air India and GoAir roll out lucrative deals, hefty discounts

New Delhi: With Independence Day only two days away, Indian airlines are offering lucrative deals and hefty discounts to bring in more passengers. To begin with, AirAsia is offering 45% off on domestic flight fares. The discount is applicable for multiple destinations including Bengaluru, Kolkata, Amritsar, New Delhi, Ranchi and Hyderabad. Passengers can now book tickets up to August 19 and the travel period of AirAsia's Independence Day sale is from February 13-August 19, 2019.
This offer can be availed under the promotion 'Buy More, Save More!' which essentially means that more the number of travellers, the heftier the discount. For instance, if you select one passenger you will get a discount of 15%, two guests will get 25%, three will get 35% and four to nine guests can avail 45% discounts, AirAsia mentioned.
Passengers must book their tickets in advance for the offer. Discounts are also subject to availability and are on selected flights only. The AirAsia offer is available on web and the Air Asia mobile app only.
Not to be left behind, Air India too has rolled out an Independence Day sale. They too, are only offering these discounts to passengers who book tickets on the official site.
13/08/18  BusinessToday.In

Direct Patna-Guwahati flight from August 31

Patna: Patna will have direct flight connectivity with Guwahati from August 31. The first direct flight on the Guwahati-Patna-Guwahati route will be operated by SpiceJet daily. It will depart for Guwahati at 9.55 from Patna.

Patna airport director Rajender Singh Lahauria said, "The proposal for Patna-Guwahati flight was approved by the Director General of Civil Aviation in July and the reservation of seats is expected to start from August 18," he said. "It will take less time and the passengers have to shell out less money compared to connecting flights," an official said.
13/08/18 Times of India

A passenger plane appears to have flown straight into a rainbow.

The jumbo jet breaks through the cloud and into the arc, which produces a kaleidoscope of colour.
The moment was captured by photographer Tanay Das, shortly after the Indian Airlines flight took off from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, India.

He said: "In India, rainbows are not so common since the sun is not always shining, and even if there is a rainbow it is really tough to frame a plane inside it.
"This time it was perfectly placed along with the plane and the intensity of rainbow was also perfect.
12/08/18 Herald Scotland 

Talks on reopening HAL airport on August 18

Bengaluru: Talks on reviving the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airport, shut for commercial operations over a decade ago after the Bengaluru International Airport commenced operations at Devanahalli, have surfaced on and off. Large and Medium Scale Industries Minister K J George reopened the matter last week by stating that the government was planning to hold talks on August 18 in this connection with the parties concerned.

The HAL airport, that was run by the Airports Authority of India, had to be shut on May 23, 2008, for scheduled aircraft operations following a concessional agreement signed in 2004 between the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the the airport operator, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) that no commercial airport would function within a 150-km radius of it. The agreement was valid for the next 25 years (up to May 2033).

Minister K J George told The New Indian Express, "The government will hold talks with BIAL this week in connection with opening up HAL. The agreement entered into by BIAL is the main hurdle. There is no problem from HAL's side to begin operations."
13/08/18 New Indian Express

Indigo will fly to two more Indian cities from October

Doha: Indian budget airlines Indigo will start flying to two more destinations in India from Doha.

Indigo, India’s largest domestic airline by market share, will start operating direct flights to Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala from October 1.

This is in addition to the six destinations in India the airlines already operates direct flights from Doha. Indigo already have daily flights to Indian cities Hyderabad, Kochi, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kozhikode from Qatar.

The airlines has started accepting booking for Ahmedabad-Doha and Thiruvananthapuram-Doha flights from October 1. For Doha-Ahmedabad, booking is available from October 2.
13/08/18 Peninsula

Five spots in Gujarat 'feasible' for seaplane project

Five popular spots in Gujarat are 'feasible' for seaplane projects, said a report by Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Sunday.
If everything goes smoothly, the seaplanes will start from Sabarmati riverfront, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in 2017, had a stint on a seaplane, leaving the country mesmerised. Modi was widely criticised for using the seaplane as an election stint. The aviation experts, however, have now promptly sent a technical team last June to study the feasibility of the programme.
Sabarmati riverfront, Sardar Patel dam, Dharoi dam to cononect Ambaji, Palitana and Tapi have been recognized to develop water aerodromes. AAI will soon get on the task of looking into the nitty-gritty details.
Nearly 800 to 900 metres of space will be required for a plane to land in water.
"As per new notification of DGCA, commercial airlines need to have a twin engine if they want to operate. Whereas, the charter service can run on single engine. We have found eight sites in India, including five in Gujarat, as feasible to start seaplane project," AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said.
13/08/18 Tanushree Bhatia/DNA

SpiceJet begins streaming free in-flight entertainment for flyers

New Delhi: Now you can watch in-flight entertainment (IFE) content on your personal electronic devices (PED) on SpiceJet flights with the low cost carrier (LCC) streaming the content free of charge on its aircraft. The airline says content for the IFE “SpicEngage” is aimed at an audience across all ages.
SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh said: “I am excited to announce the launch of our new in-flight entertainment system, SpicEngage, which will vastly improve the onboard experience of our flyers. Passengers can now use their own phones and tablets onboard SpiceJet to watch their favourite shows, play games, read and do much more. SpicEngage, much like SpiceMax, is a unique offering from SpiceJet that will make air travel spicier.”

SpiceJet says it is the first and only Indian low cost airline to launch this free service. “SpicEngage will host a plethora of content broadly classified under five categories – Watch, Play, Explore, Read and Eat. In the ‘Watch’ section, flyers will be able to watch cartoons, popular web series like 'Permanent Roommates' and 'What the Folks', stand-up comedy videos by popular artists besides short movies,” the airline says.
13/08/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

GVK plans to raise Rs 135 billion for Navi Mumbai airport project

Bengaluru/Mumbai: The GVK-led consortium, which is developing the Navi Mumbai International Airport, is in talks with banks to raise around Rs135 billion to fund its second-phase expansion plan. According to sources in the banking industry, the bankers are evaluating a proposal for this big-ticket infrastructure lending.

“State Bank of India is evaluating the proposal, and based on the outcome, many other public sector banks are likely to participate,” a senior banking source said. However, it could not be ascertained how many banks will be a part of this consortium. GVK could not be reached for comments.
Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) announced financial closure for the construction of the first phase of the greenfield project last week. The company said Yes Bank would be the lead bank in this phase.
12/08/18 Debasis Mohapatra & Abhijit Lele/Business Standard

Jewar farmers in stir mode over move to acquire land for Airport

Bhatta Parsaul, which saw a massive protest by farmers over forcible land acquisition in 2011, is just a 15-minute drive from Kalupura village which is to be subsumed by the proposed Jewar airport. “If the UP government wants another Bhatta Parsaul here,” said an angry farmer Rakesh Kumar in Kalupura, “farmers are ready… tanashahi nahi chalegi(dictatorship won’t be tolerated).”

Tension is simmering in the eight villages of Jewar where the state government plans to acquire more than 3,000 hectares of land belonging to 9,167 farmers for building the airport. Many farmers converged for a panchayat in Kalupura on Sunday and alleged that the Yogi Adityanath government was trying to acquire land under Section 2 (1) of Land Acquisition Act without their consent, after it had failed to obtain consent of 70% farmers as per Section 2(2).
ET had reported the move first on Saturday, leading to former CM Akhilesh Yadav tweeting that the UP government wanted to forcibly acquire the land. “We will protest till our last breath. This airport will not be built like this – by force,” warned Rakesh Kumar, saying farmers were in touch with Akhilesh Yadav and RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary.
13/08/18 Aman Sharma/Economic Times

Bengaluru International Airport invites bids for range of commercial outlets

Bengaluru Kempegowda International Airport has launched a tender process for commercial concepts in 13 packages, including duty free stores.
Operator Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) said the concession contract for all the packages will be for three years from the commencement of operation, which is scheduled for mid-2019.
Duty free retail units on offer include a 50sq m outlet covering luxury, fashion & accessories; a 150sq m outlet covering luxury cosmetics; and a 165sqm electronics outlet.
Other retail outlets are: a two art & artefacts outlets (100sq m and 130sq m); a 65sq m luxury cosmetics & ayurvedic beauty products outlet; a 50sq m coffee, tea & spices outlet; a 78sq m Indian sweets & chocolates outlet; a 36sq m international fashion accessories outlet; a 36sq m fashion, jewellery & accessories outlet; and a 106.1sq m confectionery, books & travel accessories outlet.
13/08/18 Jason Holland/The Moodie Davitt Report

Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur airport set for boost! AAI to invest Rs 413 crore for expansion, upgradation

Mumbai: The Airports Authority of India will invest Rs 413 crore in the upgradation and expansion of the Jabalpur airport in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.

The upgradation work include construction work of new domestic passenger terminal building with enhanced peak hour handing capacity of 500 passengers from existing 150 passengers besides extension of runway length to 2,750 metres from the current 1,988 metres, the AAI said in a release.

The Jabalpur airport will be developed at a total cost of Rs 413 crore, for which the foundation stone was laid by Union civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu along with his junior colleague, Jayant Sinha, and a host of other dignitaries, it added. An extended runway will make the airport suitable for A-320 type of aircraft operations, according to the release.
13/08/18 PTI/Financial Express

Foundation stone laid for upgradation of Jabalpur Airport

Jabalpur: The foundation stone for the upgradation of Jabalpur Airport was laid by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday, in the presence of Jayant Sinha, the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation.

The expansion of Jabalpur Airport is being done in a bid to provide better services to the air passengers of the region.

Addressing the gathering, Prabhu said, "Today, Madhya Pradesh has become the heart of our country. But where is the heart of Madhya Pradesh? It is Jabalpur. I feel a sense of delight whenever I get an opportunity to work for the state of Madhya Pradesh."
13/08/18 ANI/Business Standard

Bhubaneswar airport is Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s favourite airport

Bhubaneswar: Yes, you read it right. The Shahenshah of Bollywood is super impressed with Biju Patnaik International Airport in the Odisha capital.

In an interview to travel writer Aarti Singh Kapur, he has revealed that Bhubaneswar airport tops his list of favourite airports in the country due to the courteous ground staff and the easy accessible location of the airport that reduces travel time. He also said that though the airport is small as compared to the ones in the metros, the premises are clean and it has all the services required for the comfort of a passenger.
14/08/18 Odisha Sun Times

Israel woos Indian travellers

Kolkata: In an effort to encourage more Indian travellers to visit Israel, the embassy in India has opened a Kolkata Israel Visa Application Centre for West Bengal and northeast states.

The states include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

Also, visa applications under the New Delhi centre will be accepted at the new Kolkata Centre.

The visa application categories include B1 for employment, B2 for business, tourism, meeting or conference and A2 for students.
14/08/18 TRweekly

Pune: CISF steps up airport security, lens on SUVs

Pune:  Airport authorities and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have stepped up security at the facility ahead of Independence Day and stopped visitors’ entry to the departure area.

CISF officials said additional personnel have been deployed to conduct random checks of vehicles, particularly SUVs, and keep a tab on the areas adjoining the civil localities.

“The Pune airport is in the ‘hyper-sensitive’ category and all security precautions are being taken,” a CISF official said. The paramilitary force has also deployed its personnel in civil dress. “The security has been beefed up and our men are working in coordination with all other stakeholders,” assistant inspector general (AIG) and CISF public relations officer Hemendra Singh said.
13/08/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

SECURITY BREACH? Excavator digging along airport wall but authorities clueless

Vasco: For almost two years now the desperately needed multi-level parking at Dabolim Airport is not being commissioned due to security reasons, but on the other side of the airport an excavator has been digging incessantly for a week and no action has been taken by the authorities.
Just after taking the Bogmalo road from the junction on NH17B, there is an excavator digging touching the airport wall. The irony is that nobody knows the purpose of the digging.
When Herald questioned the JCB operators, they said, “We don’t know anything.” Asked to stop and show permissions, the operators shot back, “Who are you? Why should we stop?”
There are also no details displayed at the site, which is mandatory for any project under the Town and Country Planning Act. Interestingly, the area seems to come tight under the funnel zone of the airport.
13/08/18 Herald

Brazilian held with cocaine worth Rs. 2.5 cr.

Mumbai: A Brazilian national was caught on Sunday by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at the Mumbai airport for allegedly smuggling in cocaine-filled capsules worth Rs. 2.5 crore by concealing them in talcum powder boxes.

Ferreia Nascimen, who arrived from Addis Ababa on an Ethiopian Airlines flight, was intercepted on suspicion when he was headed to board a connecting Air India flight to Delhi, airport officials said.

CISF official Manoj Kumar, on checking his hand baggage, discovered a few plastic talcum powder boxes. A detailed examination revealed that 457 grams of cocaine had been stuffed in capsules, which were concealed in the boxes.
13/08/18 The Hindu

Mumbai: 38-yr-old held for duping two people of Rs 26.5 lacs

The Mumbai police have arrested a 38-year-old man from Andheri for allegedly duping two persons of Rs 26.5 lakh. The police said the accused would claim to be related to politicians. At least 22 others have also been duped with investigators from another district also on his trail, said police.

According to investigators, a complainant was promised a job with Air India, while another was assured a flat built by MHADA at a cheaper rate.

According to police officials, the accused, Mahesh Ingale — who hails from Kolhapur — used the alias Sameer Patil to dupe people.
The police said in April, two men filed a complaint, saying that they had been duped of Rs 26.5 lakh.

“One complainant alleged that he was offered a job with Air India for which he paid Rs 8.5 lakh while the second complainant said that he was assured a flat in a MHADA colony for which he was asked to pay Rs 18 lakhs,” said an officer.
13/08/18 Saga Rajpur/Indian Express

Zambian caught with drugs in Cricket pads in India

A Zambian man has been apprehended by the CISF at the Delhi airport for allegedly trying to smuggle out 24 kg drugs by concealing them in thigh pads used in cricket, a senior official said today.
He said R Silavwe (39) was intercepted yesterday by the security officials on the basis of suspicion at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.
The Zambian national was travelling to Mumbai from here and then to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
A search of his bag led to the recovery of 46 cricket thigh pads which had the drugs, pseudoephedrine, stuffed in them.
12/08/18 Zambian Watchdog

Bangladeshi national caught in Thailand with Indian passport

Bengaluru: A 28-year-old Bangladesh national with a valid Indian passport, who escaped detection at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, was caught by the Thai immigration officials. He was deported to the city on Thursday.

This is the second incident in less than two weeks where a foreign national has been caught flying out of the country from KIA on an Indian passport.

In the latest incident, Elias Akanda Kustiyanamapara who hails from Biddayaganjj, Bangladesh, told officials that he was hoping to get a job in Thailand. He was arrested on his return to India and questioned by the Bureau of Immigration. According to the immigration officials here, Elias had crossed the border into West Bengal in December 2015 via Hili Land Port in Bangladesh.

He then travelled with a group of labourers to Tamil Nadu and worked in a garment factory in Tiruppur for two years. While working there, he met Rakesh, a tout who promised to get him the required ID cards so that he could apply for an Indian passport.
12/08/18 The Hindu

Chinese among six held for smuggling gold at Delhi airport

New Delhi:  Six people, including a Chinese national, have been arrested by customs officials at the airport here for allegedly trying to smuggle 3.1 kg gold worth nearly Rs one crore into the country, an official statement said today.

The accused were held in separate incidents of gold smuggling reported over the past three days at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).

Four Indians, including two women, were intercepted after their arrival from Bangkok yesterday, the statement said.

A detailed personal and baggage search resulted in recovery of multiple gold rods, crudely given the shape of bangles and collectively weighing 1.4 kgs, from them, it said, adding that the value of the seized gold was ascertained to be Rs 43.6 lakh.
13/08/18 PTI/India Today

Four arrested for aviation fuel theft

Rajkot: Four persons were arrested for allegedly stealing aviation turbine fuel (ATF) from a tanker at Kheradi village near Chotila of Surendranagar district on Sunday.
Police said the accused had used a duplicate key to open the valve of the tanker to steal the fuel.
The accused were identified as Jeram Patel and Harshad Patel, both residents of Ganeshpar village of Tankara taluka in Morbi district, Atul Patel, a resident of Haripar village of Tankara taluka, and Shravan Mandal, a native of Sonki village of Darbhanga taluka in Bihar.
13/08/18 Times of India