Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mid-air scare: Flight hovers over 3 airports

Lucknow: Bad weather forced a Mumbai-Delhi Vistara flight with 180 passengers onboard to finally make an emergency landing with minimum fuel at Lucknow airport on Monday, but not before criss-crossing the skies for two hours over three other airports, where it was denied touchdown.

Around 5 pm, the Mumbai-Delhi Vistara-944 airlines was told by Air Traffic Control at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) that it cannot land due to bad weather. While the flight was hovering over IGI, the aircraft was diverted to Lucknow. But when the plane was about to touchdown at Amausi, the pilot encountered windy weather and low visibility and sought diversion to Kanpur.
The flight was diverted to Kanpur, but again it failed to land after ATC, Kanpur, denied permission. By this time, passengers and crew were on the edge and an SOS was sent to ATC Lucknow that the plane was low on fuel and needed swift landing. The pilot sought diversion to Bamrauli airport, Allahabad. After covering 40 miles, the pilot received an alert from ATC Lucknow that weather had normalized and landing was possible at Amausi. The pilot again took a U-turn towards Lucknow. Before touchdown, the pilot received an emergency alert from the aircraft system about low fuel. However, the plane successfully landed around 6.50 pm. Till late night, the flight was stationed at Amausi and passengers were served food at airport.

Spokesperson of Vistara, Shabih Rizvi, confirmed to TOI about multiple diversions of the flight before it landed safely at Lucknow airport. “The flight is scheduled to take off for Delhi after midnight,” said Rizvi.
16/07/19 Urooj Khan/Times of India

Vistara Mumbai-Delhi flight lands in Lucknow after fuel scare

New Delhi: Vistara’s Mumbai-Delhi flight UK 944 on Monday landed in Lucknow with barely a few minutes of fuel left, after hovering over Delhi for a long time due to bad weather and then being diverted first to Lucknow, then Prayagraj (Allahabad) and then back to Lucknow. The crew declared fuel 'May Day' in Lucknow as the aircraft was running low on fuel after all the hovering and long diversion.

On its first approach to Delhi, the plane hovered for almost an hour. It then diverted, before finally landing safely in Lucknow with just 200 kg of fuel left. The flight had taken off from Mumbai at 3:18 pm on Monday.

While the time it landed in Lucknow after hovering in Delhi and diversions is yet to be ascertained, it finally took off from Lucknow at 12:25 am on Tuesday and landed in Delhi at 1:17 am — making it a 10-hour-journey in all.

A Vistara spokesperson said: “Flight UK944 operating Mumbai-Delhi on July 15, 2019, initiated a diversion to Lucknow due to bad weather over Delhi. However, over Lucknow, the visibility suddenly dropped and a safe landing was not possible. The crew then considered alternative airfields, including Kanpur and Prayagraj to land in comparatively better weather condition.”
“Enroute Prayagraj, Lucknow air traffic control then informed the crew that the weather in Lucknow had improved significantly following which the crew decided to return to Lucknow due to better passenger and aircraft support there. The unexpected drop in visibility at the destination alternate was the main reason why the aircraft ended up in a low-fuel situation despite carrying excess fuel over and above the required Flight Plan Fuel as per regulations. Safety of passengers and crew was kept at the highest priority throughout the flight,” the spokesperson added.
16/07/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Post Air India incident, DGCA bars off-duty crew members from travelling in cockpit

New Delho: Aviation regulator DGCA on Monday barred airline officials, including pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers, from travelling in the cockpit when they were off-duty or on leave.
The regulator's directions came after an off-duty pilot of Air India tested positive in a pre-flight alcohol test on Saturday when he was scheduled to travel in the cockpit of a plane from Delhi to Bengaluru.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked the national carrier to take strict action against the pilot.
This practice of off-duty or on leave officials is in violation of the Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) 3 of 1997, it said.
The DGCA also said this practice "provides cover to officials who are authorised to travel in the cockpit while on leave or off-duty and detected BA (breath-analyzer) positive."
In an order, the regulator said it has come to its notice that the Operations Manual Part-A of Air India permits travel of airline officials such as pilots and AMEs (aircraft maintenance engineers) in cockpit "even when they are on leave or have not been assigned any duty whatsoever prescribed in AIC 3 of 1997."
The regulator added, "The portion of the Operations Manual Part-A so far as it is in violation of AIC 3 of 1997, is void ab-initio and stands repudiated with immediate affect."
"All airline operators are hereby directed to amend their Operations Manual Part-A to align with AIC 3 of 1997 with regard to travel in cockpit and submit to the DGCA for approval," it said.
16/07/19 PTI/NDTV

IndiGo, SpiceJet flying into better times: What Q2 has in story amid aviation turbulence

The grounding of debt-laden rival Jet Airways and benign fuel prices have benefitted low-cost airlines SpiceJet and IndiGo in the Apr-Jun quarter. The Jet Airways fiasco led to an increase in fares in the peak holiday season on the back of capacity crunch. With Jet Airways suspending operations, incumbents expanded their operations fast, capturing the void left by Naresh Goyal-founded airline. While IndiGo added 17 aircraft in the quarter, Spicejet added 30, taking its overall fleet count to 106. Analysts with which Financial Express Online spoke are positive on IndiGo and SpiceJet.

Capacity constraints in peak holiday season due to Jet Airways’ suspended operations and grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft has led to a rise in airfares. Despite the flat domestic passenger traffic growth over April-May, airlines are expected to see another stellar quarter and report strong margins and profitability owing to high yield environment and soft ATF prices, down 1.2% year-on-year, Prabhudas Lilladher said in a report.
“There are cycles in this sector. It’s not a secular growth kind of story. India has been facing a downturn since the past couple of months. Now everyone will go into international operations which will expand their operational leverage as they are low cost, so their average selling price per seat will be higher than what they charge for the same distance on the domestic side. So their margins will expand further. So if the crude remains stable at $70-75 per barrel, they will be able to expand their operative margins. So, I am positive about the sector,” Sameer Kalra, Founder and Research Head at Target Investing, told Financial Express Online.
16/07/19 Monika Yadav/Financial Express

Airlines cite revenue drop as reason for pulling out flights

Visakhapatnam: Airline officials have cited poor revenue yield and operational factors as reasons for several flights withdrawing from the Visakhapatnam airport despite a steady growth in fliers at the airport.
“Fliers flying in and out of Visakhapatnam airport are keen on buying low-priced tickets. If we increase the fare marginally we have observed that there’s a drop in number of passengers. Selling cheap tickets are decreasing our revenue yield. Moreover, inconsiderate of the prices of the tickets, when we operate a flight we have to pay several charges to the Airports Authority of India,” said an airline official on condition of anonymity.
But airline officials pointed out that besides revenue yield, there are several operational reasons for flights withdrawing from the Port City.
“Indian aviation is going through a rough patch now. Cash-strapped Jet Airways has stopped its entire operation. Following an air crash in Africa, the directorate general of civil aviation has restricted operation of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from May 14. This restriction has compelled airlines to axe flights and small airports, like Visakhapatnam, had to bear the burden of this decision,” another airline official added.
However, airport officials are still optimistic about flight operations at the Visakhapatnam airport as they stated that despite several flights withdrawing in the last one year, there have been new flights that started their operation from the airport during the same period.
The airport director explained, Jet Airways had stopped its operations to Mumbai and Delhi. But Air India and Spice Jet had introduced operation at these segments. Alliance Air had stopped its Tirupati operation but would fly to Hyderabad. Similarly, Indigo had withdrawn its flight to Kolkata-Visakhapatnam-Bangalore owing to operational reasons. But the airline is scheduled to reintroduce the operation soon.
Times of India
16/07/19 Arpit Basu/Times of India

Air India’s operating loss more than all private airlines combined; 13 of 15 carriers in red

Almost all airlines in India are bleeding, but some are losing much more money than the others, the government data showed. State-run national carrier Air India had an operating loss bigger than that at all the private airlines put together in the last financial year 2018-19. Meanwhile, all airlines, except for AI Express and Blue Dart Aviation, had an operating loss in FY19, according to the data provided in the Rajya Sabha by Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri. What’s more, this list of loss-making airlines doesn’t include Jet Airways, JetLite and Zoom Air, which have already succumbed to losses.
Air India, Go Air and Vistara reported the highest operating losses in 2018-19. “Hike in pilot salary, rising fuel costs, fleet expansion, volatile lease rent due to payment in dollars are the main reason for increased operating expenses of the airlines,” Pulak Sen, Founder Secretary General, MRO Association of India, said to Financial Express Online.
Total operating loss of all the airlines in 2018-19 was at Rs 7,087 crore, with Air India alone losing Rs 4,330 crore. Despite an increase in operating revenue, Air India’s higher operating cost have resulted in losses. While Air India’s operating revenue rose from Rs 21,859 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 25,484 crore in 2018-19, its operating expenses shot up from Rs 21,561 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 29,814 crore in 2018-19, resulting in the huge operating loss.
Among other prominent loss-making airlines were GoAir, SpiceJet and IndiGo. India’s largest domestic carrier IndiGo too faced the same problem as Air India, ie, a rise in operating revenue but a greater surge in operating expenses, leading to a loss.
In a reply to whether the Government has any scheme to help such civil aviation companies in the interest of passengers, minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, “There is no specific scheme to provide financial assistance to loss-making private airlines, as the management of the company including its finance is the internal matter of civil aviation companies”.
16/07/19 Samrat Sharma/Financial Express

Are IndiGo’s security checks in place?

Richard Branson once said, “If you want to be a millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.” This comment turned out to be prophetic for several Indian airlines beginning with Air India and ending with the most recent debacle of Jet Airways. The airline industry, by its very nature, is vulnerable to the slightest of shocks, which makes it a volatile business. In that context, IndiGo’s success is no small feat. It is one of the few low-cost carriers to have expanded in such a short period of time, and remain profitable for a large part of its existence. Most importantly, from a small set up, it now has about 50 percent market share in domestic travel, displacing well-entrenched players. So, as far as investors as concerned, the board has delivered.
For the company to remain focussed on its current path of growth, improvement in corporate governance standards is important. This will ensure that the business can function independent of the promoters and decision-making processes are more broad-based. This is not to say that promoters should be made redundant (in fact, investors like promoters that have their skin in the game) but the degree of dependence on them should reduce. Listed companies must be influenced and guided by their promoters, but should not be dependent upon them.
IndiGo’s success has come despite a relatively small six-member board – Indian boards have a median size of 8 to 9 directors. Of this six-member board, three are promoters, one is a promoter nominee and the remaining two are independent directors. Under regulations, IndiGo is required to have one independent director who is a woman – the company is yet to comply with this requirement. With four mandatory board committees to be formed, the membership of these committees itself could be construed as cause for conflict of interest – both the audit and the nomination and remuneration committees included either executive directors or promoters as members. It is only after M. Damodaran was inducted to the board in January 2019, that committee compositions changed – now both these committees comprise two independent directors and one promoter nominee.
16/07/19 Hetal Dalal/moneycontrol.com

On Time was a wonderful thing. IndiGo’s famed punctuality mantra has gone for a toss since last July

As the feud between the promoters of IndiGo became public, the airline’s CEO wrote to the employees to continue focusing on on-time, courteous and hassle-free experience. Since inception, the airline has touted its on-time performance as one of the pillars of its marketing and operational strategy. So much so that in 2009, the airline came up with a TVC focused on being “on time”. The TVC, in which the airline tried to portray that it runs like a well-oiled machine, got plenty of traction. “On-time is a wonderful thing” was the central message of that commercial.
Well, things have changed since then. IndiGo is no longer the airline it was. It is a massive airline now, India’s largest, with a large number of planes, departures and destinations. It has cornered nearly 59 percent of India’s airline industry’s market share.
All this has been possible thanks to a break-neck expansion strategy as it inducted capacity and launches new stations across the country. So how has its famous on-time performance (OTP) fared amid the raft of changes?
Well, OTP hasn’t been the same since last July.
The data released by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation  (DGCA) shows that IndiGo last led the charts in July 2018. IndiGo’s OTP has been only better than Air India in three of the last twelve months. Data for July is not yet released. Since AirAsia India data was aggregated and released post-March and Jet Airways is no more in operations, the data for these two has been left out in the analysis.
While India has over 90 operational airports, the DGCA releases the data measured at four private airports – Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad — to arrive at an average before releasing it to the public. The flip side of the data is that flights which neither originate nor terminate at any of these four airports are not measured and since the data is based on departure, the arrival OTP is not published.
Based on presence at these four airports, airlines see a huge variance in the number of flights which are tracked but gets balanced considering the scale of operations of each airline and the percentage of flights which touch the four metros.
As operations grow, so do the complexities. OTP with 10 planes and 20 destinations is certainly easier to manage than IndiGo’s 236 planes, 73 destinations in total and roughly 40,000 departures a month.
16/07/19 Ameya Joshi/CNBC TV18

Rakesh Gangwal won't sell IndiGo stake in feud with Rahul Bhatia

Rakesh Gangwal, the co-founder of IndiGo, said he won’t sell his shareholding in India’s largest airline and will maintain his stake amid a feud with his partner Rahul Bhatia.
“I am here for the long haul,” Gangwal, who has accused Bhatia of corporate governance lapses, said by phone. “I have no desire to sell my stake or raise my stake.”
Gangwal, teamed up with Bhatia -- a former airline sales agent -- to create IndiGo in 2005, which quickly outpaced rivals to control almost half of the local market, and made both the founders billionaires. Once the chief executive officer at US Airways, Gangwal and his affiliates, own 37% of InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., which operates IndiGo, while his partner’s company holds a little more at 38%. A representative for Bhatia’s InterGlobe Enterprises Ltd. didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comments.
The primary reason for the fight is the controlling rights held by Bhatia which Gangwal alleges allows his partner to push through related-party transactions in violation of rules. Bhatia’s firm, which has interest in a chain of hotels across India, has said all transactions are executed at an arms’ length basis and in a transparent manner.
16/07/19 Anurag Kotoky/Bloomberg/Economic Times

With Pakistan airspace open, operation cost for US-bound flights likely to come down by Rs 20L: Air India

With Pakistan opening its airspace for all commercial airlines on Tuesday morning, Air India said operation costs for one-way US and Europe-bound flights are likely to come down by Rs 20 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, respectively.
After Pakistan closed its airspace following the Balakot air strikes of February 26, Air India suffered a financial loss of over Rs 491 crore as it had to re-route its various international flights.
"As Pakistan airspace is now open, aircraft utilisation will go up, while crew requirement will come down by 25 per cent," an Air India spokesperson said.
"Flight operation cost for USA-bound flight may come down by Rs 20 lakh one way and for Europe-bound flights, it may come down by Rs 5 lakh. From tonight, flight operations may be on original schedule, meaning as it was before the closure of Pakistani airspace," he added.
Between February 26 and July 15, Pakistan had opened only two routes out of 11 for Indian flights. These two routes passed over southern Pakistan.
"The flying time for long-haul flights towards the USA increased by 90 minutes and addition fuel was needed. US-bound flights had to be stopped at Vienna. In Vienna, crew was changed and that takes three hours," he said, explaining the effect the closure had on the airline. 

Flights to get shoirter as Pakistan opens airspace

New Delhi: In a huge relief for Indian travellers, flights between Delhi and the west will see travel times drop by up to four hours while Air India’s flights to US will once again be nonstop. This follows Pakistan's decision to finally reopen its airspace for overflying after 140 days.
Ever since Pakistan closed its airspace on February 27 after the Indian Air Force’s strike on the Balakot teror camp, Indian flights to the west were forced to take a much longer route. That meant greater travel time (including a fuelling stop for US flights) and a huge spike in expenses for airlines. Just a few days ago, Pakistan had said it would reopen its airspace only after India removed its fighter aircraft from forward bases, which seemed to indicate a prolonged delay.
However, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) at 12.41am (India time) that said, “With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes.” Air India’s San Francisco-Delhi flight AI 184 — one of the longest non-stops globally — was the first by an Indian carrier to enter Pakistan airspace on its way to Delhi after February 27.
SpiceJet’s Jaipur-Dubai SG 57 was among the first to enter Pakistan airspace from the Indian side on Tuesday morning while flying westwards.
In a statement, AI said: “As Pakistan airspace is now open, aircraft utilisation will go up while crew requirement will fall by 25%. Operating cost for US-bound flights will drop by Rs 20 lakh one way and for Europe-bound flights by Rs 5 lakh. From Tuesday-Wednesday night flight operation may (return to route taken) before closure of Pakistani airspace.”
IndiGo is also working on finally making its Delhi-Istanbul flight direct. So far, it has been taking a stop in Doha on both ways. An IndiGo official said: “It will become a direct flight by flying over Pakistan, Afghanistan and Caspian Sea. This route will allow us to avoid flying over the waters of Iran along the Persian Gulf-Strait of Hormuz-Gulf of Oman (US has disallowed its airlines from overflying and India has asked its airlines to avoid this stretch).”
16/07/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

What made Pakistan open its airspace for India

New Delhi: Pakistan has made a U-turn in five days on allowing Indian planes use its airspace. This is a welcome move, which was reciprocated by India in the same measure. But more than being a "goodwill gesture" from the Imran Khan government, the about-turn by Pakistan on airspace is because of harsh economic realities.

On July 11, the aviation secretary of Pakistan Shahrukh Nusrat told a parliamentary committee that it would not open its airspace for Indian use until India withdraws its fighter jets from forward positions. Nusrat is also the director general of the civil aviation authority (CAA) of Pakistan.

India did not agree to Pakistan's demand. Yet, Pakistan unilaterally issued a midnight notice to airmen (NOTAM) stating that "with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all types of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes."
Much has been written about the Indian civil aviation sector losing money due to the closure of the Pakistani airspace. The same day when Pakistan's aviation secretary put a precondition for withdrawing the ban on Indian use of the airspace, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri told Parliament that India spent an extra Rs 430 crore due to route diversion.

Indian flights were forced to take a longer route to avoid Pakistan airspace. Earlier on July 3, Puri had told the Rajya Sabha that total loss caused by the closure of Pakistani airspace was about Rs 550 crore (Rs 491 crore to Air India, Rs 30.73 crore to SpiceJet, Rs 25.1 crore to IndiGo and Rs 2.1 crore to GoAir).

But loss of revenue was far greater for a fragile economy like Pakistan. Operations of around 400 flights a day were affected due to closure of airspace by Pakistan, which meant loss of almost $100 million or nearly Pakistan Rs 16 billion [Rs 6.85 billion].

Pakistan earns good money from route navigation and airport charges levied on flights using its airspace or landing for maintenance or refueling. These charges vary according to the size and class of aircraft.
For a regular Boeing 737 passenger aircraft, Pakistan charges around $600-$700 a day for allowing use of its airspace for terminal navigation and landing. For about 400 flights using its airspace, Pakistan could be earning around $3,00,000 a day.

Besides, Pakistan's aviation sector has a high demand for destinations in South and Southeast Asia. Some reports suggest that Pakistan International Airlines suffered more than $450,000 a day due to closure of Indian airspace for its use as flights to places like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok were suspended. An available longer route made PIA flights unviable. The combined loss of the PIA and CAA was estimated to be $100 million.
16/07/19 Prabhash K Dutta/India Today

Pakistan’s move to open up its airspace will bring some respite for India’s airlines

A major issue that troubled the overseas operations of India’s airlines for months has been ironed out.
Today (July 16), the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority announced it would reopen its airspace to all civilian traffic, ending restrictions imposed ever since a military standoff with India in February.
“With immediate effect, Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civilian traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes,” read the notice to airmen published by the authority on its website.
The closure had led to massive losses for Indian airlines, especially the debt-laden Air India. It is estimated that the state-owned carrier lost Rs491 crore ($71.5 million) till July 2 due to the closure. Air India had to re-route, merge or suspend many of its international flights that connect India with European and US cities.
Private carriers were also impacted.
India’s largest airline by domestic market share, IndiGo, was unable to operate its direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul, announced in March, due to the shutdown. The flight had to take a longer route, flying above the Arabian Sea and making a stop at Doha in Qatar for refuelling.
SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir lost Rs30.73 crore, Rs25.1 crore and Rs 2.1 crore, respectively, according to the data presented by civil aviation union minister Hardeep Singh Puri in the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of the Parliament, on July 3.
The move by Pakistan marks a reversal from its previous stance that it would open its airspace only if India removed its fighter jets from forward airbases.
16/07/19 Niharika Sharma/Quartz

Wife Of Pilot Killed In Bengaluru's Mirage 2000 Crash To Join Air Force

New Delhi: Garima Abrol, wife of Squadron Leader Samir Abrol who was killed earlier this year while test flying a Mirage 2000 fighter jet in Bengaluru, has cleared the Services Selection Board, paving the way for her to join the Indian Air Force.
She will join the Air Force Academy in Telangana's Dundigal and the Indian Air force in January 2020, Retired Air Marshal Anil Chopra announced on Twitter. He called Ms Abrol a "woman of exceptional substance" in his tweet, posted along with a photo of the couple and a more recent post-training photo of Ms Abrol.

"Not all woman are made equal some are Armed forces Wives," he said.
Squadron Leaders Samir Abrol, 33, and Siddhartha Negi, 31, were killed after the Mirage 2000 fighter jet crashed on its take-off run on February 1. The two young IAF pilots were killed even though they had been able to eject as the French-designed jet careened down the runway, broke through a barrier and a wall before exploding at about 10:25 am that morning.

The ill-fated sortie "was to be flown with a target aircraft to check radar performance. A comparatively benign [flight] profile. The accident happened on [the] take off roll," said a senior Hindustan Aeronautics Limited test pilot who flew and handed over the very same Mirage 2000 fighter.
16/07/19 NDTV

Indore Takes A Giant Aviation Leap

Indore: For Indoreans, ab Dubai dur nahi. The first-ever international flight from Indore airport to Dubai took off on Monday evening ushering in a new era in aviation sector of the state. Shouldering the dreams and hopes of Central India, Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport authorities turned all expectations into reality and they did it in style.
Air India chairman and managing director (CMD) Ashwani Lohani and Indore MP Shankar Lalwani flagged off the maiden flight.

Authorities welcomed the aircraft with water salute after it came from Delhi and flew to Dubai. The passengers were welcomed with Malwi turban and bouquets.

Both pilots Sunish Bhargav and Sarvajeet Singh Johar are natives of Indore. They were allowed to fly the aircraft to Dubai on personal requests. Johar shifted to Delhi 10 years ago, but decided to fly the aircraft after he came to know about the maiden flight from Indore to Dubai. The airline will operate the flight from Indore to Dubai on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and return flight will be on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Indore airport was declared international after authorization for immigration clearance in May, but first flight could fly from Indore on Monday after Air India decided to operate a regular flight on this route.

The maiden flight, an Airbus A320, had about 91 per cent occupancy. It flew from Indore at 4.55pm (IST) and landed in Dubai at 8.00 pm (IST). Total 159 passengers including 12 business class, 144 economy and three infants travelled from Indore to Dubai. Addressing passengers and people from different walks of life, who had gathered at airport to witness the launch of first international flight from Indore, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani said that it is an auspicious occasion for all of us as authorities have managed to bring Indore in international network.
16/07/19 Times of India

Jewar airport meet draws the big league

Greater Noida: Before the international airport project proposed at Jewar takes off, a conference at the India Expo Mart on Monday gave a preview into companies who are either in the fray to build the airport or are interested, and they include some of the biggest names from corporate India as well as the aviation league.
Monday’s meeting, whose purpose was to discuss queries that the companies have before they take a decision on committing themselves to the project, saw representatives from GMR group (developers of Delhi’s IGI Airport), Adani Group, Reliance, MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Limited), BIAL (Bangalore International Airport Limited), Airports Authority of India (AAI), ADP Hong Kong, Zurich Airport, L&T, Global Infrastructure and Sterlite Power Grid, among others.
So far, 15 companies have purchased the bid document, and about seven more participated in Monday’s meeting. Officials said these companies sought clarity on some issues before they decided to purchase the bid document. Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL), the nodal company handling the airport project, has given one more week’s time (till July 22) for all queries to be raised. The queries will be addressed by NIAL in a month’s time (by Aug 31) and details uploaded on its website.

The meeting was chaired by state civil aviation minister Nand Gopal Nandi. Others present included Suryapal Gangwar, special secretary (civil aviation), Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) chairman Alok Tandon, YEIDA CEO Arun Vir Singh and nodal officer Shailendra Bhatia. They also visited the airport site for a recce earlier in the day.
16/07/19 Meenakshi Sinha/Times of India

Jewar airport on fast-track! GMR, Adani, L&T, Reliance Infra in race for Rs 16,000 crore project

Jewar Airport: GMR Infra, Adani Group, Reliance Infra and L&T are among the prospective investors for developing the Rs 16,000-crore greenfield Jewar airport project in Greater Noida. Several executives from the probable companies attended the pre-bid conference on Monday. According to the Noida International Airport Ltd (NIAL) officials, foreign firms like Zurich Airport International and Hong Kong ADP have also purchased the bid document. Other probable suitors for the Jewar airport include Mumbai airport operator GVK Group, Bengaluru airport owner Fairfax India, sovereign wealth fund NIIF and PNC Infrastructure.

State-owned Airport Authority of India, which leased out six of its profit-making airports under the PPP model, also participated in the pre-bid conference. The bidding for Jewar project is expected to witness keen competition between existing players and new entrants as it will be the second airport in the national capital region. It will be developed under the public-private partnership (PPP) model by the Uttar Pradesh government.

The Adani Group marked its entry into the airport business earlier this month following the Union Cabinet’s nod to operate three of the six airports it won under competitive bidding in February. In March, Tata Group, along with international investors, picked up a stake in GMR’s airport business for Rs 8,000 crore. NIAL, which is implementing the project, has set per passenger fee as the criteria for bidding out the airport. It is offering a concession period of 90 years to the winning bidder, who will be responsible for development, operation and maintenance of the air-side, terminal and land side infrastructure like car parking and retail area.
NIAL is expecting more firms to participate in the bidding for the project.
“The initial response has been good. Several major airport developers have shown interest in the project. We expect more investors to bid for this marquee project,” said Shailendra Bhatia, nodal officer, NIAL. The last date for submitting bids is October 30, 2019.
16/07/19 Arun Nayal/Financial Express

Max may stay grounded until 2020: Report

Boeing Co.'s 737 Max may stay grounded until early 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported, months later than the guidance the planemaker is privately providing customers for resolving a software issue that surfaced last month.
The plane is expected to start flying again in January 2020 "under the latest scenario," the Journal said, citing unidentified sources within the Federal Aviation Administration and pilot-union leaders. The situation is "fluid" and no firm timeline has been established, the daily said. On Sunday, American Airlines Group Inc said it would keep the jet off its schedule through November 2, the fifth time the airline has adjusted its flights to accommodate the Max's lengthening absence. United Airlines Holdings Inc. this week also removed the 737 Max from its schedule through early November.
16/07/19 Bloomberg/Times of India

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd wins award for Corporate Social Responsibility activities

Shamshabad: GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL) has won the FTCCI (Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry) Excellence Award for 'Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)' for its CSR initiatives through its CSR wing GMRVF (GMR Varalakshmi Foundation). The Chief Justice of High Court for the State of Telangana, Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, presented the award to the representatives of GHIAL in the presence of other dignitaries. FTCCI lauded GHIAL for the "praiseworthy work in discharging Corporate Social Responsibility" towards the community in the vicinity of the airport and making a difference to the lives of the underprivileged sections of the society in the region.
SGK Kishore, CEO, GHIAL, on winning this award said, "It is a great honour and recognition to be bestowed with this prestigious FTCCI award. It is a humbling experience and motivates us to continue to work for the good of our local communities." Since June 2005, GMRVF, the CSR arm of GMR Group, has been working with the communities in Airport Colony, Gollapally, Mamidipally, Shamshabad and neighboring villages of Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. Focus areas of thrust for the GMRVF have been: Education; Health, Hygiene and Sanitation; Empowerment and Livelihoods; and Community Development.
16/07/19 Hans India

No Delhi-Chandigarh flight of Air Alliance for 5 more days

Chandigarh: Air Alliance, subsidiary of Air India, has suspended the Delhi to Chandigarh morning flight for five more days.
“The flight suspension has been extended to July 20, which was earlier announced till July 15,” said M R Jindal, Air India airport manager, on Monday.
Operational reasons have been cited for the further cancellation of the flight.
Due to operational reasons, Air Alliance, a fully subsidiary of Air India, operates its daily flight number AI-9831 from Delhi to Chandigarh at 6.05am and arrives in Chandigarh at 7.05am. It departs from Chandigarh to Delhi at 7.30am and arrives in Delhi at 8.30am. The flight operates 6 days a week, except Sundays.
Jindal said the flight was not operational for almost a month and was likely to resume its operation from July 16, 2019, but due to operational reasons, it would not operate till July 20, 2019.
An Air India official said due to closure of the air space over Pakistan, the aircraft A-320 Neo had been put into operation at some other flight sector from Delhi.
16/07/19 Times of India

Air India alter Pune, Nanded flight schedule

Chandigarh: The schedule of Air India flights plying to and from the Chandigarh airport to Pune and Nanded has been altered, beginning July 15.

The flights between Chandigarh and Nanded will now operate on Tuesday and Thursday instead of Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The decision has been taken so that travellers get an additional day—a layover—when they are travelling,” said an Air India employee on condition of anonymity.

Similarly, the flights between Chandigarh and Pune will now ply on Monday, Wednesday and Friday instead of Monday, Thursday, and Friday.
16/07/19 Tribune

Indian Oil Corporation threat to stop jet fuel supply to Air India resolved

Mumbai: A threat by Indian Oil Corp (IOC) to stop jet fuel supplies to Air India at some airports was resolved after a late Monday evening intervention from the ministry.
The state-run refiner threatened to stop supplies at six airports, including Pune, Vizag and Chandigarh, due to payment defaults by the airline, said a senior executive.
The issue was later sorted after a meeting with aviation ministry officials, said an Air India spokesman.
The cash-strapped airline has been struggling to make payments. It had a debt of more than Rs 54,000 crore last year when the government tried to sell a 76% stake in the airline. The government then transferred about Rs 29,000 crore of working capital debt into a special purpose vehicle — Air India Asset Holdings (AIAHL).
With this, the airline’s annual interest payment liability had come down from Rs 4,400 crore to about Rs 1,700 crore. Total debt of the carrier, including that taken over by the government, has increased to over Rs 58,000 crore now. The government has announced a bond issue of Rs 7,000 crore to be raised by AIAHL, which will be used to repay the national carrier’s debt that has been transferred to the SPV.
16/07/19 Economic Times

Air India sale: Govt plans to conduct roadshows, meet prospective buyers

New Delhi: India is considering inviting expressions of interest to sell Air India Ltd by the end of next month as the government aims to complete the transaction this year, people with knowledge of the matter said.

“The government will conduct roadshows, as well as, be open to meet prospective buyers even before the expressions of interest are sought,” the people said, declining to be identified as the discussions are private. “The process will likely allow the bidders to look at the accounts of the airline except for some portions that are confidential and also see the share purchase agreement,” they said without providing details.

“The potential bidders will have the option to make suggestions for changes in the sale terms during the process of expressing their interest in the deal,” the people said.

The government is looking to sell all its stake in the carrier, they said.

DS Malik, a spokesman of the Ministry of Finance, did not immediately answer two calls made to his mobile phone. Dhananjay Kumar, a spokesman of Air India, declined to comment.

The plan is being prepared after the government’s attempt to partially exit the carrier failed to attract any bidder last year. In her budget presentation for the current financial year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government will revive plans to sell Air India and the divestment would be part of the governments efforts to raise Rs 1,05,000 crore ($15.3 billion) selling stakes in state-run companies.
16/07/19 Bloomberg/Business Line

Madhya Pradesh gets its first international flight with Indore-Dubai service

Indore: Madhya Pradesh's commercial capital Indore Monday made it to the international aviation map with national carrier Air India launching a flight service to Dubai from the international airport here.

Flight AI903 took wings from the Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar International Airport with 150 passengers after a traditional inaugural function, Air India (AI) said.
From Indore, Air India is operating a 162-seater A320neo aircraft which will fly three times a week -- Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays -- non-stop to Dubai.

This was the first international commercial flight from Madhya Pradesh.

The flight was flagged off by Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani along with local Parliamentarian Shankar Lalwani in the presence of former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, among others.

If the new flights on the Indore-Dubai route get a good response, the state-run carrier will think about making it a daily service, said Lohani.
16/07/19 PTI/Business Today

Air India to launch Delhi-Toronto direct flight in September

Dubai-India's national carrier Air India will launch the Delhi-Toronto direct flight on the occasion of the World Tourism Day on September 27 despite facing the threat of privatisation due to mounting debts.
The airline is also planning to launch a direct flight to Nairobi, Kenya sometime in October due to immense tourism potential in that area.
"We will launch Delhi-Toronto non-stop flight from September 27 on the occasion of the World Tourism Day," Air India (AI) Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Ashwini Lohani told PTI onboard the Indore-Dubai maiden flight.
AI 903 is the first international flight from Madhya Pradesh providing the much needed connectivity to the Gulf and beyond to the people of the state.
"We are also planning to launch a direct flight to Nairobi sometime in October in view of immense tourism potential in that area," Lohani said.
Though the AI is facing a debt of nearly Rs. 60,000 crore, the spirit of its CMD is very high and is taking all possible steps including reducing operational costs to keep the national carrier afloat.
Air India also plans to introduce Bhopal-Bangalore flight in October to fulfil the major demand of the people.
16/07/19 PTI/Economic Times

Woman on domestic flight tapes gold bars to her feet, lands in customs net at Pune airport

Pune: Customs officials at the Lohegaon airport recently caught a woman - suspected to be a part of an international syndicate - trying to smuggle half-a- kilogram of gold on-board a domestic flight.

According to officials, the SpiceJet flight (SG517) flies from Bangkok to Kolkata before it turns into a domestic flight connecting Goa and Pune. A customs official said they believed that the gold was smuggled on-board the flight on its international leg and concealed inside a washroom in the front portion of the plane.

The person running the syndicate knew the flight schedule in depth and booked a ticket for the woman - a carrier for the syndicate - on the domestic leg from Goa to Pune, the official said.

The woman, on Seat Number 32E, retrieved the four gold bars - totally weighing 557.64 grams and worth Rs18.9 lakh - and taped them to the soles of her black shoes. She used black adhesive tape to camouflage them.

The customs officials received a tip-off and laid a trap for her at the airport. "This was an important catch as there are no customs checks on domestic routes. In such cases, we can only act on tip-offs, as it is not possible to conduct searches on every domestic flight," the official said.

"This particular flight turns domestic after flying international. She collected the gold from the covered space below the wash basin in washroom," the official explained.
16/07/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

Wanted Bangladeshi arrested in Kuwait with forged Indian passport

Kuwait City: A wanted Bangladeshi man was arrested from the Kuwait International Airport here with a forged Indian passport, the media reported.

Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai said in a report that the man was wanted by the Interpol and had allegedly arrived at the airport on the forged Indian passport, the Arab Times reported.

The man arrived from Dhaka, and upon arrival produced the Indian passport which turned out to be a forged document.

When police checked in correct data, they discovered he that was wanted by Interpol for crimes committed in his country.
16/07/19 IANS/Outlook

Karnataka Congress MLA Roshan Baig detained at Bengaluru airport over ponzi scam case, Kumaraswamy attacks BJP

New Delhi: Karnataka Congress MLA Roshan Baig was detained for questioning by the Karnataka Police late on Monday night. He was flying out of Bangalore in a chartered flight and had already boarded the aircraft when he was apprehended.

After being held, Baig gave different statements that he was going to Delhi and Pune. The flight details show he was headed to Pune.

The SIT probing the IMA ponzi scheme case said, "Even though we gave a notice to Baig to appear on July 19, he was trying to flee to an undisclosed location. We can only see if we have to arrest him or not after the questioning. He was going to fly in a chartered flight from Bangalore international airport."
On the other hand, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy confirmed the development and slammed Opposition BJP for allegedly facilitating Baig's escape bid.

"Today SIT probing the #IMA case detained @rroshanbaig for questioning at the BIAL airport while he was trying leave along with @BSYBJP's PA Santosh on a chartered flight to Mumbai. I was told that on seeing the SIT, Santhosh ran away while the team apprehended Mr. Baig," wrote Kumaraswamy.
16/07/19 India Today

Monday, July 15, 2019

Air India pilot fails alcohol test twice, DGCA wants 'strict' action including termination

Aviation regulator DGCA on Monday asked Air India to take strict action, which may include termination from service, against a pilot who failed pre-flight alcohol test twice, the latest being on Saturday when he was off duty but was scheduled to travel in the cockpit of a plane as an additional crew member. Previously, Captain Ajit Singh failed a pre-flight alcohol test on October 21, 2015, when he was scheduled to operate AI-660 from the Goa airport. The DGCA had then suspended his licence for three months, as per the rule.
On Saturday, Singh was not on duty but was scheduled to travel in the cockpit of flight AI-502 from Delhi to Bengaluru as an Additional Crew Member (ACM). However, the DGCA stated in the order Monday that he "was tested positive in pre-flight breath-analyzer (BA) test".
According to sources, the national carrier has already suspended Singh for three months over Saturday's incident.
"Though in the instant manner, he was neither designated as Crew nor as Other Crew Member but being ACM (Additional Crew Member), he should have maintained the highest standards, which are required to be maintained as per the Operations Manual of the company," the DGCA said Monday in its order.
It added that such misconduct "reflects that he (the pilot) has not learnt anything from his previous violation and has not reformed himself" even though his licence was suspended for three months for the first violation.
15/07/19 PTI/Economic Times

Air India Pilot Grounded For 3 Months After Failing Alcohol Test: Report

New Delhi: An Air India pilot has been grounded for three months after he was tested positive in a pre-flight breathalyser test on Saturday.
The pilot wanted to fly as a passenger from Delhi to Bengaluru. Since the flight was full, he requested to fly in the cockpit as an additional crew member.

Air India allows cockpit staff to fly in an emergency situation but the crew is needed to go through the mandatory breath analyser test which the pilot failed.

"As per DGCA rules Pilot of Air India has been suspended for three months," an Air India official told ANI.

The pilot was deplaned after he failed the test and the matter was reported to the Director General of Civil Aviation.

Sources in DGCA said that the suspended employee was a senior Airbus A320 pilot and should have been aware of all the rules of flying.

"The pilot has been grounded for three months, there is no compromise with safety," the source added.
15/07/19 ANI/NDTV

Licence suspension to sacking: Air India captains face DGCA heat

New Delhi: An Air India (AI) pilot could lose his job for trying to fly in the cockpit of a full flight, not as crew member but as a traveller, in a tipsy condition. While, another AI pilot had his flying license suspended for six months for reportedly asking his flight purser to rinse his tiffin and then getting into a fight with him onboard the aircraft when the latter refused to do so.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday issued these twin orders. The regulator has also barred airline officials like pilots and aircraft engineers from traveling in cockpit when on leave or when not been rostered to operate that particular flight, with immediate effect. “This practice is in violation (of rules) and also provides cover to officials while on leave/off duty and detected BA positive (having traces of alcohol in breath). (Operations manual allowing this) is void ab-inito and stands repudiated with immediate effect,” the order said.
The tiffin fight happened on June 17, 2019, when the pilot was having meal in the cockpit of an Airbus A319, which is perfectly okay, before operating flight AI 772 from Bengaluru to Kolkata. He then, reportedly asked the purser to rinse his lunch box, which was not okay. The two got into a fight when the purser refused to rinse the pilot's tiffin saying that it was not his job.
“Investigation report reveals pilot-in-command and cabin crew onboard the aircraft were involved in heated argument and thereafter physical altercation when aircraft was on ground during pre-departure phase and preparation for departure was in progress,” the DGCA order suspending the captain’s licence for six months from the date of fight is learnt to say.
The second episode happened last Saturday (July 13) when a senior A320 pilot who retired from AI and is now serving there on contract wanted to travel from Delhi to Bengaluru on AI 502. The flight was full and the tipsy pilot opted to go as additional crew member (ACM) where he would be seated in the cockpit behind operating crew seats. However, since he was headed to the cockpit, this pilot had to undergo a mandatory pre-flight breath analyser (BA) and he failed that test. Consequently, he was not allowed to board the plane and AI grounded him.
15/07/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Technical snag forces IndiGo Ahmedabad flight to return to Goa

Panaji: An Ahmedabad-bound IndiGo flight carrying around 180 passengers returned to the Goa airport Monday after taking-off as it developed a "technical glitch", a senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) said.

The flight landed safely at the Dabolim airport, around 40km from here, at around 4.45 pm, he said.

Airport director Gagan Malik told that the IndiGo flight, which had taken off for Ahmedabad from the Dabolim airport, had to make a mid-air turn back due to a "technical glitch".

He said there were around 180 passengers on board the aircraft and all were safe.
15/07/19 Economic Times

Private carriers make hay post Jet closure

Mumbai: After the closure of Jet Airways, the international segment continues to offer huge opportunity for Indian airlines, mainly private carriers, as Air India is shying away from aggressive capacity expansion.
According to a report by ICICI Securities Ltd., Air India could manage to increase its international capacity by only 1% in the first two months of FY20.
While IndiGo could increase its international capacity share from 15% in the first two months of FY19 to 19% in the first two months of FY20, SpiceJet managed to grow it from 22% to 24% in the same time period. GoAir has been able to take its international capacity share to 10%, ICICI Securities said in a note.
“The detailed traffic print of Apr-May ’19 indicates that 70% of the incremental capacity is still being deployed by IndiGo and SpiceJet to domestic routes, and the combined (domestic plus international) capacity of Indian airlines declined 8% during the two months,” the report said. “Air India is not ramping up its international capacity post Jet grounding. Thus the international segment remains a big opportunity for Indian airlines,” it added. In the past few days, almost all airlines have announced international route expansion plans.
IndiGo has announced six new flights. Effective July 25 and August 5, IndiGo will launch daily non-stop flights connecting Delhi with Jeddah, and Mumbai with Kuwait. Additionally, to cater to the increasing demand from the sector, the airline will launch its third non-stop daily flights between Mumbai and Dubai.
15/07/9 The Hindu

Goa: Greenfield international airport at Mopa to be ready by 2021, says CM Pramod Sawant

The greenfield international airport at Mopa in North Goa will be commissioned by 2021, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the state Assembly Monday.

The earlier deadline announced by the state government was 2020.

"Due to a status quo order of the Supreme Court, the construction of Mopa Airport is getting delayed. It is expected to be commissioned in 2021," Sawant said, responding to a question by Congress MLA Pratapsinh Rane.

The CM said 14.28 percent of physical work had been completed so far, adding that, prior to stoppage of work, 1,000 people, mostly locals, were working at the site.
15/07/19 PTI/moneycontrol.com

Jet Airways raised fraud bills, faked invoices and siphoned off funds, says report

A fresh set of troubles have hit the bankrupt Jet Airways.
 Recent audits by the State Bank of India (SBI) show that it has misappropriated funds relating to provision of loans, and raised fraudulent bills, as per an ET report The audit reveals that it did not verify invoices, which led to inflation of bills and fuel expenses for Jet Airways, though they remained static for other airlines.
A provision is when a company or a bank makes up for a loan which has gone bad or become unrecoverable, by putting extra funds into the kitty. These loans were also given out to Jet Lite in spite of the fact parent Jet Airways was making losses.
15/07/19 Business Insider

India’s standalone Approved Training Organization (ATO) gets EASA approval

In a significant moment for the Indian aviation sector, country’s first Airbus A320 neo full flight simulator has received EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) approval. Now, those Indian carriers with A320 neo fleet will no longer have to send their pilots abroad for getting the requisite training, thereby saving their valuable time and money.

The Flight Simulation Technique Center (FSTC), will be India’s 6th fully functional simulator and the 7th one which again will be for A320 neo is expected to be operational in a month’s time.

It is a universally recognized body and with this approval, the FSTC can target International Airlines as well as pilots who are looking to undergo their training on such a simulator.
India based FSTC is presently operating from two locations– Delhi and Hyderabad and have two B737 NG, 2 A320, 1 A320neo, and 1 Bombardier Dash8 Q400 simulator. With pilot training demand going up in the country, FSTC has established mutually beneficial partnerships with various SIM operators across the region. Countries including Thailand, Philippines, Middle East, and Europe are part of this initiative. To meet global standards of excellence these Centers have state of the art training infrastructure, classrooms, pilot lounge, MFTD/APT instruments.
15/07/19 Financial Express

United extends suspension of India flights till October 26

New Delhi: United has extended cancellation of its daily flights from Newark (EWR) to Delhi and Newark to Mumbai till October 26.
United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said: “Due to the continued restriction of Pakistani airspace, we are extending our suspension of Delhi and Mumbai service until October 26, 2019. We are contacting our customers to provide this update and assisting those who may need to make other travel arrangements, including rebooking on other airlines or offering full refunds. We continue to be in close contact with all government authorities in order to provide our customers with the latest updates and most efficient travel experience under these circumstances.”
United had suspended the Delhi flight on April 5 due to “continued closure of Pakistani airspace” and on June 21 the Mumbai flight was suspended due to US restrictions on overflying Iran airspace. Earlier this month, United had said the two flights would resume on September 1.
But with Pakistan keeping its airspace closed for overflying since February 27 and restrictions in place for Iran, United has further extended the suspension of its India operations.
As of now, Air India and United are the only two airlines with direct flights between India and the US. With United suspending its India operations till October 26 now, AI is the only airlines with direct flights between India and US. Although the closure of Pakistan airspace has meant AI’s flights from Delhi to US East Coast have to take a fuelling stop in Europe. On the way back to India, these flights fly in nonstop.
15/07/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

IndiGo Announces New International Flights, Offers Tickets From Rs. 7,548

IndiGo announced additional international flight connections at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 7,548. The daily direct flights introduced by the carrier, will be operated on Mumbai-Dubai-Mumbai, Mumbai-Kuwait-Mumbai and Delhi-Jeddah-Delhi routes, the carrier said in a press release on Monday. The additional flights between Delhi and Jeddah will start from July 25, while the flights between Mumbai and Kuwait will become operational from August 5. The airline will add its third frequency on Mumbai-Dubai route on July 25. Bookings for the flights are open via airline's website.
The announcement from the airline comes at a time when the suspension of flights by Jet Airways has led to additional demand in the country's civil aviation market.
IndiGo recently also announced non-stop daily flights between Delhi and Chengdu in China from September 15.
15/07/19 NDTV

India commits Rs. 300 million grant to renovate Jaffna Palay airport

India has granted Palay airport a 300 million rupee grant to support the renovation of the Jaffna Palay airport which is expected to be a centre for business and tourist traffic between Sri Lanka’s North and India.

Earlier, the Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA) had stalled the development of the airport due to concerns over political instability.

Civil Aviation authorities plan to develop the airport by building a 3.5 km runway which will carry a single-aisle aircraft into Jaffna; it will be used for budget carriers. Currently, there is only one terminal that has a capacity of approximately 200 people and the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) operates the Hercules C130 and Antonov An32 transport aircraft and Helitours run Chinese Xian MA60 type aircraft.

India is interested in developing this airport to have direct flights from Jaffna to Southern Indian states such as Madurai or Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu or Thiruvanathapuram in Kerala. There are further hopes to open flights to China and Australia as part of the second phase of development. These flights will be managed by the Sri Lankan Air Force.
15/07/19 Tamil Guardian

Senior citizen duped of Rs75,000 by online fraudster

Amritsar: A local resident has been duped of Rs 75,000 online by swindlers.
Identified as Pawan Khanna, the victim lost money from his two bank accounts while applying for Air India tickets. The fraudster had created a website that looked like that of the Air India’s online page.

Khanna said he dialed a mobile number as mentioned on the website. The one who received his phone call sought his details. Khanna had applied for a ticket under the senior citizen quota. The accused took details of his account and generated a payment gateway, urging Khanna to make the payment for the purchase of tickets.
He said the swindler sought another bank account number registered with his mobile as he was getting problem in creating the payment gateway from the bank account given earlier. He said he gave the account details. Later, the complainant came to know that the accused had withdrawn Rs 50,000 from one account and Rs 25,000 from the other. He learnt that the accused transferred money to a Paytm account. He submitted his complaint to the banks concerned and the Paytm.
15/07/19 Tribune

IndiGo pilot held hostage in cab, robbed off cash near Delhi airport

New Delhi: Canadian employed with IndiGo airline was allegedly robbed off over Rs 1 lakh by three men on a taxi he had boarded near Delhi Cantt area, police said Monday.

The incident took place on the intervening night of July 12 and July 13 when Mohammad Mehdu Ghanzanfani, a captain with the airline, was waiting for his company cab, police said.

"Unable to trace his cab, the victim walked a few metres and arrived at gate number 2 of a metro station near Delhi Cantt area. While he was speaking to his cab driver over phone, a taxi driver approached him," Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) Sanjay Bhatia said.

The victim requested the driver to drop him nearby, where his company cab was waiting, for a fare of Rs 100, the officer said.

When Ghanzanfani sat in the taxi, there were already two people besides the driver. After the vehicle crossed Mehram Nagar, they forcibly took his debit card, visa card and asked for their PIN codes, the officer added.

They withdrew Rs 1 lakh using his debit card and took away $302 (approximately Rs 20,500) and Rs 12,000 from his wallet, the DCP said.

After robbing the victim, they dropped him on Mahipalpur flyover, the officer said.
15/07/19 PTI/India Today

Two Maldivians attempting to smuggle drugs arrested at India airport

Two Maldivian individuals who tried to smuggle 1 kg drugs were arrested at Chennai International Airport, India.

Indian's Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) stated that the two Maldivians attempted to smuggle drugs in shampoo bottles. In relation to this case, a 22 year old Maldivian man Abdul Aiman and a 24 year old woman Shamsiyya Mohamed were arrested.

The two individuals arrived in 20 days ago. After initially saying in Trivandrum, they moved to a hotel in Chennai last week. NCB went undercover after being tipped off that these two individuals were buying drugs through a Chennai dealer and attempting to smuggle it in to the Maldives.

When the two individuals arrived at Chennai International Airport, the immigration officers stopped the duo and searched their luggage. Suspicion fell on the shampoo bottle as the bottle was full although unsealed. The two individuals had stuffed hashish- filled foils in to unsealed shampoo bottles.
15/07/19 Avas

Gold worth Rs 1.1 crore seized from passengers at Chennai airport

Chennai: Customs officials seized 3kg of gold worth Rs 1.1 crore from 11 passengers at Chennai international airport on Sunday and arrested two of them.
Customs officials intercepted Hameed Hufran Badusha, 23, Meera Hussain , 43, of Chennai, Mohamed Ibunu , 25, and Kalanther Seiyadhu Ali, 40, of Ramnathapuram, Bathusha, 24, of Mandapam, Mohamed Riyath, 25, of Kilakarai, Alla Pitchai, 24, of Vattanam, Syed Ismail, 32, of Madurai, Shahul Hameedu, 38, of SP Pattinam, Savukath Kamal ,49, and Sheik Abdulla, 34 , of Thondi who arrived here from Colombo in a SpiceJet flight.
All of them were found to have concealed gold in rubbery paste in their rectums. The officials also recovered gold cut bits from them.
On extraction, 3kg of gold of 24 K purity, worth at Rs. 1.1 crore, was recovered.
15/07/19 Siddharth Prabhakar/Times of India

Gold Mobile Covers Worth 42 Lakh Seized From Chinese Men At Delhi Airport

New Delhi: Two Chinese men were arrested by the CISF at Delhi airport for allegedly smuggling out gold, moulded as mobile covers, worth Rs. 42 lakh, officials said on Monday.
Yinsheng Zhuang and Haipeng Chen were intercepted on Sunday night at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport before they could board their Air India flight to Hong Kong.

The two passengers, both holding Chinese passports, had moulded the gold into two mobile covers and had painted them black to escape the scanner of anti-smuggling authorities, they said.

The two men, along with the 1.2-kg weighing gold mobile covers worth Rs. 42 lakh, have been handed over to the Customs authorities by Central Industrial Security Force personnel, they added.
n a separate incident, the CISF caught two Indian men with 130 kgs of red sandalwood which they were carrying in an alleged illegal manner.

Rahul Kumar and Mairajuddin were supposed to take a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok before they were intercepted around 1:30 am on Monday.
15/07/19 NDTV

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Top SpiceJet official quits, training head moved up

Capt GPS Grewal, chief of flight safety at SpiceJet, resigned from his post on Friday in the aftermath of a series of safety related incidents involving the airline, including three aircraft veering off the runway at Surat, Kolkata and Mumbai.
 In an email to employees, GP Gupta, chief strategy officer, Spice-Jet announced the resignation of Capt Grewal with effect from Friday night. He said Capt Mahinder Singh, a designated examiner of Boeing 737 aircraft with more than 10,500 hours of flying experience, has been appointed as chief of flight safety.
 Capt Grewal was among the four top officials in operational roles who were issued show cause notices by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation on July 4.
A DGCA report on surprise safety audit conducted at SpiceJet on July 3 had found chief of flight safety, chief of operations, chief of training and accountable executive to be reportedly “breaching safety standards”. Capt Vishal Sawhney, vice president, training, has also been moved and elevated as adviser to Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh.
13/07/19 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror

Air India announces Monsoon Bonanza offer, get 10% off on International flight tickets

New Delhi: Air India has come up with Monsoon Bonanza offer. Under this scheme, passengers can avail 10 per cent discount on travel from India to UK (London/Birmingham), Europe (Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Milan, Stockholm, Vienna), Tel Aviv. This offer is valid for travel in economy and business class for one way and return travel. It may be noted that the discount will not be available on codeshare flights. This offer is valid for bookings till August 10, 2019. The offer is applicable for outbound travel commencing up to August 10, 2019.

In a separate offer, Air India has introduced non-stop flights to Dubai from Indore and Kolkata. the flight operations will commence from July 15, 2019. The company in its tweet said, "#FlyAI: we are going #nonstop to #Dubai also from #Indore and #Kolkata. Enjoy unmatched hospitality, seamless Travel, Sumptuous onboard meal. Log on to http://www.airindia.in for attractive fares."
13/07/19 ETNowNews.com

FedEx flight makes emergency landing

Bengaluru: Operations on the lone runway at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) were suspended for 20 minutes when a FedEx cargo flight from Dubai made an emergency landing in Bengaluru after developing a technical snag on Thursday.
The runway was closed from 8.34pm to 8.54pm on Thursday. Eight arrivals and seven departures were delayed due to the incident, while one flight was diverted to Chennai, said Bangalore International Airport Limited, operator of KIA.
The FedEx flight was originally supposed to land at the Bengaluru airport around 9pm. The freighter took off from Dubai at 3.43pm and was in the air for nearly three hours before the snag was noticed and pilots made an emergency landing around 8.50pm. Passengers scheduled to fly to Bengaluru were left stranded, while several others had to wait for their departing flights. The delayed flights included Vistara flight UK 866 to Mumbai, IndiGo 6E 149 to Hyderabad, Spice-Jet SG 198 to New Delhi, Air Asia I5 1328 to Goa, Emirates EK 567 to Dubai, Go Air G8 118 to Delhi, IndiGo 6E 73 to Singapore and Indi-Go 6E 316 to Kochi among others.
13/07/19 Times of India

As Jet ceases ops Air India becomes attractive acquisition, says Puri

New Delhi: The aviation minister, Hardeep Singh Puri today said in Lok Sabha that the government is committed to strategic disinvestment of Air India as the debt burden on the carrier is unsustainable.

At the same time, he added that since the Jet Airways stopped operating, Air India has become “attractive acquisition.”

Puri also said it is not only Air India which is suffering losses. Most of the airlines are suffering on the account of high cost of Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) which constitutes a large share of operating expenses of the airlines.
“The airports are doing very well but the airlines which are running the operations are all operating on very thin margins because they have a very high capital cost and they have a lot of uncertainty due to variables which I have just mentioned. For instance, the closure of Pakistani airspace has resulted in Air India cumulatively taking a loss of something like Rs. 430 crore,” said Puri.
12/07/19 Statesman

AAI Jammu organises free oral hygiene awareness camp

Jammu: A free oral Hygiene Awareness & Dental Check-up Camp was organized by Airports Authority of India in Association with Sai Kripa Dental Care Clinic Airport Road Jammu.
Dr.Mohit Kesar and Dr.Poonam Kesar have conducted free dental check up of passengers and staff working at airport and distributed free medicines. Dr P. R. Beuria, Airport Director, Jammu complimented SAI Dental Care for such noble cause and creating awareness for oral Hygiene.
12/07/19 Daily Excelsior 

Sept 17 deadline for Rupsi airport

Dhubri: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has set September 17 as the deadline for the companies to complete construction of Rupsi airport, 23km from here.

The overhaul of Rupsi airport is taking place under the Udan-II scheme, which proposes rejuvenation of five airports in the Northeastfor flights to be operated under the regional connectivity scheme.

A high-level team of the Airports Authority of India, led by Sanjiv Jindal, regional executive director, accompanied by Kaushal Kumar, general manager (C&S), Northeast region (NER), Dilip Kumar, security Captain and other district officials of Kokrajhar has visited the airport and took over the stock of the construction on Wednesday.

H.P. Rajkhowa, sub divisional officer of Parbatjhora subdivision of the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD), told The Telegraph that the officials of the Airports Authority of India have inspected the airport area and directed the officials of the construction companies to complete the work by September 17.

“The construction of runway and terminal building has already been completed while the work related to security, electricity and fire service are under way in full swing and likely to be completed within the schedule time,” said Rajkhowa on Friday.
13/07/19 Mukesh Kumar Singh/Telegraph

CM Raises Issue Of Construction Of Defence Airport With Union Minister

Mumbai: Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in a meeting with Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at New Delhi on Thursday, raised the issue of setting up of an international level airport in Himachal Pradesh which could also be important from a strategic point of view.

The Chief Minister apprised the Union Minister that an international level airport is proposed to be constructed in Mandi district for which 3479 bighas of land has been identified at Nagchala. A team of Airport Authority of India has inspected this land and after the survey, it has been found suitable for constructing the airport.

Thakur said that Mandi district is centrally located and approachable from the border regions. He said that except for Chandigarh, there is no other defence airport available in the region for armed and defence campaigns. Therefore, setting up a defence airport would be an effective step from a strategic point of view. Besides, it would also help in giving a boost to the tourism sector and the economy of the state. He urged the Union Minister to develop this airport as defence airport.
12/07/19 Accommodation Times

Lane for flyers encroached by cabs at Lucknow airport

Lucknow: Violating restrictions with impunity, radio cabs continue to park in the second lane outside Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, leading to chaos and inconvenience to passengers. This lane, next to the pick and drop lane, is meant for the exit of the vehicles which come to drop and receive passengers in the first lane.
However, unauthorised parking of cabs in the space causes congestion on the route, often leading to heated exchanges between cab drivers and passengers.
When TOI told drivers that they were violating norms, they said that they have registered their vehicles and are allowed to park there.
13/07/19 Urooj Khan/Times of India

Passengers Stop SpiceJet Flights in Mumbai After 16-Hour Delay

Chaos erupted at Chhtatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on Saturday, 13 July, as a number of passengers stopped SpiceJet flights from taking off.

The tedious delay of the Durgapur-bound SpiceJet flight, which was cancelled after a 16-hour wait on Saturday morning ‘due to technical reasons’ prompted the ire of passengers.
The flight was initially scheduled to take off at 7:50 am on Friday, 12 July, but was cancelled on Saturday morning. Later on the same day, passengers were called in again, however, much to their dismay, the flight was further delayed.

Around 130 Disgruntled Passengers Made to Wait.
Dhiraj Mishra, district governor of BJP IT Cell of Thane took to Twitter and said, “No explanation, no specific reasons, no funds?”

Another passenger, Santanu Ghosh, went a step further and urged the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to take immediate action against SpiceJet.

The official account of SpiceJet actively replied to the concerns of passengers on Twitter but to no avail as the notifications were sent a bit too late.
13/07/19 Aliza Noor/ Quint

Going green: 2 battery-operated vehicles join Chennai airport fleet

Chennai: As part of the implementation of the Union Government’s green initiative, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Chennai Airport, has inducted two electric cars in its fleet which will be utilised for airport operations. These cars are battery operated, eco-friendly and have zero tailpipe emissions. Unlike conventional vehicles, electric cars don’t emit harmful gases and substances such as CO2, CO, PM, etc.

A major advantage of the electric car is its low running cost, which is less than Rs 1.00 per km. As against electricity rate of Rs 7.00 per unit, the total consumption by electric car on full charge is 13.91 units and it can run up to 110 kms.

In addition to this, Chennai Airport has already inducted two battery operated e-carts for garbage collection purpose from the operational area. These measures will go a long way in preserving the environment, conserving fuel and thus cutting down cost. Plans are afoot to induct more electric vehicles at Chennai Airport in the future.

AirAsia announces up to 50% off on int’l flights.
13/07/19 New Indian Express

Passenger nabbed from Kannur airport with Rs 7 lakh worth narcotics

Central Industrial Security Force personnel on Friday apprehended from the Kannur International airport a Doha-bound passenger who was allegedly carrying hashish estimated to be worth Rs 7 lakh.

The accused has been handed over to Narcotics Control Bureau for further legal action.

Upon frisking, the passenger, identified as Ajas Valiyaballath was discovered to have hidden a 210 grams of hashish in his pelvic area.

Upon intensive screening a total of 690 grams of hashish was detected concealed in the sole of the passenger's slippers.

A resident of Thayetheru, the passenger, Ajas Valiyaballath was travelling to Doha from Kannur. He was handed over by CISF to Narcotics Control Bureau along with the seized drugs.
13/07/19 ANI/India Today

Abandoned Packet Triggers Bomb Scare at Delhi IGI Airport, Gold Bar Recovered

New Delhi: The Delhi airport saw some anxious moments on Saturday after a packet, containing a gold bar, kept unclaimed in a bathroom triggered a bomb scare, officials said.
They said someone noticed a packet wrapped in black tape in the arrival area of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport's terminal 3 and alerted on-duty CISF officials around 3:30 am.
A bomb detection and disposal team, along with a dog squad, that arrived on the spot declared the packet safe and a 1 kg gold bar was recovered from it.
The bar is estimated to be worth Rs 35 lakh, they said, adding it was later handed over to the Customs department for further probe.
13/07/19 PTI/News18

New underpass near Dhaula Kuan eases ride to Delhi airport

New Delhi: Traffic movement on the stretch between Dhaula Kuan and IGI airport is set to ease with the opening of a three-lane underpass at Parade Road junction near Manekshaw Centre.
Inaugurating the underpass on Friday, Union highways minister Nitin Gadkari said it was built in just 112 days. Officials said traffic coming from the airport side would have to slow down at the crossing for the next fortnight till the remaining work on the underpass is completed. “We will complete all the remaining work, including the slip flyover from Janakpuri side to Dhaula Kuan, by August-end. Even now, commuters won’t have to halt at any point on this stretch,” said an NHAI official.

The much-delayed RTR flyover will also open from Tuesday. This will come as a big relief to commuters.

Fuel worth Rs 40 lakh wasted daily due to snarl on 3km stretch to airport

Commuters used to spend up to 30 minutes to cover the 3km stretch from Dhaula Kuan to IGI airport due to frequent traffic jams. Gadkari said he was a regular victim of snarls when he took the stretch to reach the airport or to come from IGI to his official residence.
13/07/19 Dipak K Dash/Times of India

TruJet likely to break even this year, aims for Rs 600 crore revenue by FY22

Hyderabad: Hyderabad-based Turbo Megha Airways, which owns and operates TruJet, has set the ball rolling for next three years. The four-year-old regional carrier, which is likely to break even this fiscal, hopes to achieve Rs 500-600 crore revenue by FY22 and go public after. In FY18, it turned in a net loss of Rs 84 crore on a revenue of  Rs 165 crore, which the company attributed to being-in-the-growth phase.

It has a fleet of five aircraft that criss-cross 20 cities, most of which are registering operating profits, according to officials. The airline makes approximately 22 paise on every seat sold, given that its cost and revenue per Available Seat Kilometer (ASK) are currently at Rs 8 and Rs 8.22 respectively, they added.

TruJet will soon add 13 aircraft — five of which will come in six months — by FY21 and fly to six new destinations including the commercial and leisure cities of the North-East, besides adding frequency on four existing routes. By FY22, it will add more routes to spread its presence across 40 cities or so. It will also try and mint money from non-ticket and ancillary services such as advertisements on boarding passes, and offering ground and security handling for other airlines. Currently, such non-core revenue is insignificant at 2-3 per cent but is expected to reach a respectable 20 per cent by FY22.

These revenue-raising measures should help TruJet grow its topline by 50-50-80 per cent in FY20, FY21 and FY22 respectively, according to the Rs 600 crore of topline,” he reasoned. If all goes as per the plan, the company will consider issuing an Initial Public Offer.
13/07/19 New Indian Express

Committed To Boosting India’s Aviation Space: Palash Roy Chowdhury

Pratt & Whitney is the world’s leading maker of aircraft engines, both fighter, and commercial. Its F 135 & F 119 engines are powering the fifth-generation fighter aircraft F 35 & F 22 Raptor. With India on the lookout for engine capability to leapfrog into the world of aerospace, Manish Kumar Jha of BW Businessworld caught up with Palash Roy Chowdhury, Managing Director - India, Pratt and Whitney during the Paris Air Show 2019 to discuss the possibilities of cooperation.
Read the interview >>

GoAir flyer complains against defunct AC

Pune: The air-conditioning system of a GoAir Nagpur-Pune flight started functioning 25 minutes after take-off on Thursday night, said a passenger on board.
Varsha Nitin Deshpande (51), the flyer, claimed that the conditions were so stuffy and uncomfortable inside the aircraft that she dialled 100 and informed the police about the problem just before the plane was air-borne.

“The flight was to take off at 9.30pm. There was a lot of commotion at the airport and the airline was constantly changing its gate. Finally, around 9.25pm, the airline said the boarding would be from gate number 5 ” Deshpande said.

She said, “Once we entered the aircraft, we could feel that the air-conditioners were not working. Soon, it became very hot inside the cabin. I informed the cabin crew but they told me that the cooling would start once the flight took off.”

She said the aircraft’s air-conditioners were not working for long even after take-off.
13/07/19 Times of India

Two arrested in Hyderabad for job fraud

Hyderabad: Two persons who allegedly duped several people on the pretext of providing jobs were arrested by the Hyderabad Detective Department police on Thursday.
Aman Gautham, 22, of Bihar and Kunal Kumar, 20, of Delhi had contacted a resident of Moosarambagh in Malakpet after getting his contact number through a job portal. They offered him a job in Air India and collected Rs 99,500 through Google Pay and later got some amount transferred to bank accounts as well, said Joint Commissioner of Police (Detective Department) Avinash Mohanty. The police arrested them and seized seven laptops, 10 mobile phones, several debit cards, passbooks and cheque books from them.
13/07/19 Telangana Today

CISF nabs Zimbabwean woman with Rs 21 lakh drugs at IGI Airport

New Delhi: A Zimbabwean woman has been nabbed by the CISF at the Delhi airport for allegedly smuggling narcotics worth Rs 21 lakh, a senior official said on Saturday.

The woman, Nastor Farirai Ziso, 34, was on her way to Ndola in Zambia via the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Friday night, he said.

She was intercepted by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel and a search of her baggage led to the recovery of multiple pouches of pseudoephedrine drugs weighing 20.8 kg.

Pseudoephedrine, a stimulant drug, was concealed in numerous purses kept in her bag, the official said, adding that the cache is valued at about Rs 21 lakh.

The woman was handed over to the anti-narcotics authority, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), for registration of a criminal case against her and a detailed probe, he said.

In a similar incident at Kerala's Kannur International airport Friday, CISF personnel apprehended a man for carrying 910 g of hashish by hiding it in his slippers and inner wear.
13/07/19 PTI/IndiaTV

2.7 kg gold worth Rs. 96 lakh seized from 9 passengers at airport

Chennai: Customs officials on Friday seized 2.7 kg gold valued at Rs 96 lakhs from nine passengers who arrived from Colombo by an IndiGo airlines flight.
A release from the office of the Commisioner of Customs here said based on information, nine passengers, Imamdeen Sathakathullah (26), Thazkar Nizam (33), Vanniyappan Kasinathan (58), Muzammir (26), Mohamed Azarudeen(21), Kalandar Hussain (26) Sathik Al,(32), all hailing from Ramanathapuram, Labeer Mujip Rahuman (25) from Pudukottai, one Haja Alavudheen (25) from Chennai, who arrived from Colombo were intercepted at the exit on suspicion of carrying gold on their person or in baggage.
 On questioning they all gave evasive replies so their personal search was carried out. On examination they were found to have concealed gold in the form of rubbery spread along with cut gold bits inside their rectum. On extraction through heating process totally nine gold ingots and seven gold cut bits totally weighing 2.7 kg, of 24 K purity, valued Rs 96 lakhs were recovered and the same were seized under the provisions of Customs Act, 1962. Further Investigation is under progress.
 12/07/19 UNI