Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Bad news for flyers: Airfares may jump up to 20% in festival season

Airfares could rise by 15-20% during the upcoming festival season with global crude oil prices jumping 12% due to drone strikes on world’s largest oil producer Saudi Aramco, according to experts and travel industry executives.

Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) comprises nearly 40% of total costs of airline operations. Around 70% of the total domestic ticket bookings take place in 0-28 days’ travel window. The festival season starts with Navratras from September 29 and run up to Diwali on October 27.
Domestic ATF prices stood at Rs 63,295 per kilolitre in Delhi. The current prices are down around 8% year-on-year but things could change quickly. Experts believe that the impact of the Aramco incident is expected to continue for next three months. “The Aramco refinery attack clubbed with the weak rupee on the dollar should raise jet fuel prices by 15-18% per litre, depending on the states. We expect similar increase in base airfare in the coming days. Clearly, this doesn’t appear positive for the sector given that festival season is just round the corner; and the burden will be on end traveller,” said Mark Martin of Martin Consulting.
Global oil supplies were disrupted after Aramco’s oil facilities were targeted by drones attack. According to Bloomberg, Brent crude jumped $12 per barrel on Monday to around $72 per barrel.
Travel industry executives pointed out that airlines would be forced to pass on some of the increased costs on to the passengers depending on how long the latest crude crisis continue.
17/09/19 Arun Nayal/Financial Express

Demolish structures near airport: Admn to violators

Mohali: The Mohali administration will demolish specified illegal structures around the Chandigarh Air Force station and the local airport 15 days from today. Notices to offenders were issued by the Deputy Commissioner as Collector under the Defence of Works Act, 1903, here today.
Following directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to remove illegal structures around the Air Force station and Chandigarh International Airport, 98 structures that had come up after March 3, 2011, were to be razed as they violated safety norms.
“The owners of the identified structured have been given 15 days time to either remove construction or to submit any claims or objections in writing,” said Girish Dayalan, Deputy Commissioner (DC), Mohali.
“In case no objections are received by us within the stipulated time period, the demolition of the said structures will be carried out without further notice,” the DC added.
A government notification issued in January 2010 stipulates that no building or structure is to be constructed or any tree planted with 100 metres from the outer boundary of the Air Force station. A public notice to this effect was issued by the local administration in March 2011.
“As per orders of the High Court, these 98 structures are to be demolished immediately without payment of any compensation after following due process,” the DC said.
The Mohali administration has identified 324 structures that have come over a period of time within 100 metres of the Air Force station’s boundary wall. These include houses, shops and godowns.
While structures that have come up after the public notice of March 2011 face immediate demolition, the High Court will take a call on the matter pertaining to those built before this date.
16/09/19 Akash Ghai/Tribune

Air India orders probe into technical glitch in President''s flight

New Delhi: Embarrassed over technical glitch in the plane that was scheduled to fly President Ram Nath Kovind from Switzerland''s Zurich to Slovenia on Sunday, national carrier Air India has ordered probe into the issue.

The snag had delayed the VVIP flight for several hours as it took more than three hours to fix, forcing the President to return to his hotel.

"A thorough investigation would be done to ascertain the issue," said an Air India official.

The Air India One that flies VVIPs is a 26-year old B747 jumbo jet. After rectifying the engineering glitch, the plane flew the President on after delay of few hours.

An airline executive quoted above said that spares for the B747 are always in the inventory to ensure no operational disruption takes place.

VVIP operations aside, Air India has in the recent months seen frequent break-down of its planes in foreign countries costing it a lot of money to bring them back on the runway. Some of its flights had developed technical glitch in cities such as Paris, Chicago and Tel Aviv taking heavy toll on the airline''s precarious finances.
16/09/19 IANS/Outlook

IndiGo requests aviation ministry for more flights to Turkey

IndiGo has requested the civil aviation ministry to increase the bilateral traffic rights with Turkey as the airlines have exhausted the current capacity, a senior official told CNBC-TV18.
IndiGo's co-founder Rahul Bhatia and Turkish Airlines chief executive officer Bilal Eksi called on aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday and requested to enhance the foreign flying rights on the sector, people aware of the matter said.
As per the current bilateral arrangement between Turkey and India, airlines can operate 14 frequencies every week between the two countries or a total traffic of 3,000 passengers can be carried on a weekly basis from each side.

As of now, IndiGo operates two direct daily flights between Delhi and Istanbul. Turkish Airlines operates one direct flight each from Delhi and Mumbai to Istanbul.

"They have requested to enhance the bilateral air service arrangement. The ministry has not promised anything as of now," another official added.

IndiGo, the country's largest carrier, started daily direct flights to Istanbul in March from Delhi and the move is seen as a gateway for the airline's European ambitions.

"Istanbul holds immense potential for IndiGo, and this launch is part of organic expansion within Europe for us, as we complement our domestic network with international connectivity," chief commercial officer William Boulter had said at the launch of Istanbul operations in March.

IndiGo and Turkish Airlines are also codeshare partners since December 2018. Turkish Airlines is the first codeshare partners of IndiGo as part of its international expansion.
17/09/19 CNBC TV18

Diaper station at Kempegowda International Airport men’s loo a hit online

Bengaluru: After a Maldivian passenger posted photos on Twitter of a baby diaper changing station inside the men’s washroom at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), many netizens have hailed the authorities’ move as the right one in breaking gender stereotypes.

“Saw this in Bangalore International airport men’s room,” read Maldivian national Ali Samhaan’s tweet on September 12 along with a picture of the diaper changing room.
@BLRAirport It's a wonderful gesture from #Bengaluruinternationalairport taking towards sensitizing gender equality… https://t.co/cIpNDx3YV2

— Pradeep Prakash (@ipradeepprakash) 1568622502000

Although the diaperchanging facility at the airport has come under the limelight only recently, Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), operator of the KIA, pointed out that it has been in place for more than five years. “The diaperchange station has been a feature of all washrooms — irrespective of gender — at the KIA for over five years,” said a BIAL spokesperson.
17/09/19 Times of India

Congress demands CAG audit into KIFBI and Kannur airport

 Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress party in Kerala has approached the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan seeking his intervention to ensure that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India''s audit takes place in two state-run organisations.
Speaking to the media here on Tuesday, leader of opposition and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said that he has briefed Governor Khan about the way the present CPI-M led Left government under Pinarayi Vijayan is keeping things under wraps regarding issues in the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and the Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL).
"CAG is a constitutional body and it is duty bound to audit all those bodies where the state owns more than 51 per cent stake. But the Vijayan government has not adhered to it and have kept both KIIFB and KIAL away from CAG audit since they came to power in 2016," Chennithala said.
"It has now come to light that the CPI-M treats these two organisations as their milch cow and lot of irregularities have surfaced in these organisations and hence Vijayan is not interested in CAG audit," he said.
Addressing the media on Monday, Vijayan had pointed out that KIAL is a body similar to the Cochin International Airport Ltd( CIAL) and there is no CAG audit there.
Even though KIIFB came into existence in 1999 under the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Act 1999 to manage the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund, it was only after Vijayan assumed office in May 2016, that a comprehensive modification of the Act was made through an amendment Ordinance in August 2016 to widen its scope, and it has started raising money from the open market to fund infrastructure needs.
17/09/19 Outlook

AAI to rope in more cab companies at Chennai airport

Chennai: Facing complaints from passengers about lack of choice in cab services, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to rope in more cab operators.
Currently, Ola is the only cab service licensed to pick up passengers from near the terminals. This is making passengers wait for long, especially at night. Travellers can also book Aviation Express cabs from inside the terminals.
Majority of the travellers do not prefer the prepaid black and yellow taxis or the premium Aviation Express taxis due to its high charges. The black and yellow taxis operated by a drivers cooperative has around 300 cars and gets around seven trips per day. The new cab services are likely to start from the middle of next month.
A senior official of AAI said, "We are planning to have three operators in total including an operator who will provide a luxury car rental service. A tender has been floated to identify an operator after Fast Tack's term is over. Another tender will be floated to identify a company for providing luxury car service."
He also said Fast Track has approached the court about their contract and the new cab operator will be decided based on the court order. On Friday night, people were seen waiting for more than half an hour for cabs hailed via apps to arrive.
As more than 100 people will be booking at the same time from the domestic terminal alone, the number of cabs available are not adequate to meet the demand.
17/09/19 Times of India

Come October 5, fly to Delhi at 10.50 pm

Chandigarh: Night travellers to Delhi will soon have another option to fly to the Capital. In a first for the Chandigarh international airport, a late night civilian flight is being launched by a private operator that will touch down in New Delhi a little after midnight. The return leg of this circuit will offer a second flight to Ahmedabad for city residents.
Airport sources said a GoAir flight was being started from October 5 that would arrive here from Ahmedabad at 10.10 pm and depart for New Delhi at 10.50 pm. Its scheduled arrival at Delhi was 12.20 am. An Airbus A-320 would be used on this flight.
On the return leg, the aircraft would arrive here from Delhi at 11.10 am and proceed to Ahmedabad at 11.50 am. The other flight to Ahmedabad is also being operated by GoAir. “As of now, there are four flights operating from Chandigarh after sunset, but this is for the first time that a flight operating at such late hours is commencing,” an airport official said. The other evening flights, two each to Delhi and Mumbai, take off before 8 pm.
17/09/19 Tribune

Bird-hit SL flight lands safely

Trichy: A Sri Lankan Airlines flight, which landed safely despite suffering a bird-hit at the Trichy international airport on Sunday, flew back to Colombo in the early hours of Monday after the snag was rectified. A total of 146 passengers including crew members had a miraculous escape when a bird hit the right engine of the flight minutes before its scheduled landing at 8.40 am on Sunday.
Subsequently, the pilot got in touch with the air traffic control and sought permission for emergency landing. Though fire tenders and other equipment were deployed to handle the emergency, the pilot managed to make a safe landing and the passengers were evacuated quickly.
Later, the airline flew in technical experts from Colombo who attended to the aircraft’s trouble. It took nearly 15 hours for the engineers to rectify the problem and the flight was able to take off to Colombo on Monday morning.
17/09/19 Times of India

DRDO drone crashes in open field in Karnataka

Bengaluru: A Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) drone crashed in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka early Tuesday morning.
No injuries have been reported in the crash.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crashed in an agricultural field in Jodichikkenahalli, Chitradurga district on Tuesday. The drone crash took place at 6 am in the morning.
The incident created quite a scare at Jodichillenahalli village as a loud noise was heard after the drone crashed. Soon, a large number of people gathered at the spot. Videos of the broken UAV went viral on social media.
A statement released by DRDO said, "An unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) being developed by the DRDO on experimental flight trial in new configuration crash-landed in fields near ATR Chitradurga. Data is being analysed."
The DRDO has a test range very close to its Chitradurga district headquarters. The Challakere Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) is an out-door testing and evaluating facility being set up by DRDO exclusively for unmanned and manned aircraft.
Confirming the incident, Chitradurga Superintendent of Police Arun K said that the UAV crashed in the areca nut farm this morning, but no one was injured.
17/09/19 Nagarjun Dwarakanath/India Today

Expedite land acquisition for expansion of Karipur airport: Muraleedharan

 Kozhikode: The Vatakara MP and senior Congress leader K Muraleedharan here on Tuesday urged the State Government to expedite land acquisition formalities to facilitate the expansion work of Karipur airport.
 Speaking to the media here, the MP said it was unfortunate that the peoples representatives of the region were not invited for the meeting convened recently to review land acquisition and related issues of Karipur airport.
 The representatives will extend all possible help and support for all development activities, Mr Muraleedharan asserted. The Chief Minister should convene a special meeting to discuss further on this issue, he demanded.
 17/09/19 UNI

Modi govt again considering merging rail, roads, aviation, shipping into transport ministry

New Delhi: The Modi government, in its second tenure, is once again considering having a unified transport ministry through combining the road, railways, civil aviation and shipping ministries, officials familiar with the matter told ThePrint.
A top panel of secretaries, constituted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to recommend transformative ideas for the infrastructure sector, discussed the unified transport ministry idea with the cabinet secretary last month.
“We have recommended that the way forward is a unified transport ministry to provide integrated multi-modal solutions,” one senior official who did not want to be named said.
The secretarial panel is likely to make a presentation before the Prime Minister soon. “A final call on whether to go ahead with the recommendation will be taken only after the meeting with the PM,” the official added.
17/09/19 Maushumi Das Gupta/Print

IAF LCA Tejas to have a special pilot; Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to fly in the fighter in Bengaluru

In a major boost to India's indigenous defence sector, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be flying in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in Bengaluru on September 19, 2019. Singh will take to the skies in a twin-seater version of the Tejas combat aircraft, which arm the Indian Air Force No. 45 Squadron ‘Flying Daggers' based at Tamil Nadu's Sulur Air Force Station.
Tejas, designed and developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Aeronautical Development Agency, is India's home-grown single-engine multirole light fighter to replace the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Bison aircraft. Tejas, the soon-to-be-inducted French Rafale and Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs will be the backbone of IAF for the next several years. The IAF had in December 2017 issued a request for proposal (RFP) to HAL for the 83 Tejas jets at an estimated cost of almost Rs 50,000 crore. Out of the 83 Tejas aircraft, 10 are likely to the twin-seater version to be used for training the pilots.
The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard certification, which means the aircraft is combat-ready, was issued by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to Tejas on February 21, 2019, during the Aero India show in Bengaluru. Tejas has already been equipped with mid-air refuelling, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, electronic warfare suites, several different types of bombs, missiles and weapons.
T Suvarna Raju, the HAL Chairman and Managing Director, has already pointed out that Tejas is a four-and-half generation fighter and can be modified to make it a much more lethal jet.
17/09/19 Zee News

NAL In Talks With Govt About Its New Plan Of 70-seater Aircraft

Mumbai: The CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, that is developing a 19-seater indigenous light transport aircraft 'Saras Mk2' has plans for a 70-seater aircraft, Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday. "Today itself they have started talking to me to get the permissions from and meetings with civil aviation ministry for their future plan of the 70-seater. That is also very heartening to know," Harsh Vardhan said.

"Seventy-seater has always been in the long-term vision and since they have mentioned about this today we will have to bring the civil aviation ministry on board. We have to take the approval of the Prime Minister's office. Also, we will have to take scientists also on board, so as a science and technology minister I will facilitate them to move in the right direction," he said.

The Minister was speaking to reporters after laying the foundation for NAL's system check facility, aircraft integration facility, and the inauguration of smart aerospace composite manufacturing facility here. NAL Director Jitendra J Jadhav said since NAL has a fair amount of experience, it would start the design of 70-seater.

He said, "First, we will have to get in-principle approval from Ministry of Science and Technology, and Civil Aviation, also from Ministry of Finance, then we can finish design phase one-and-a-half year from that, which will be the preliminary design phase. Then we will submit it to the government, once the government sanctions, we will develop."

CSIR-NAL is currently engaged in the design, development and certification of Saras Mk2, a twin-engine turboprop 19-seater transport aircraft for connecting small cities. Harsh Vardhan said everything was ready for the 19- seater and the government has given all its support in terms of clearance and fund requirement to NAL.
16/09/19 PTI/Republic World

Aviation ministry seeks tax waiver on passenger service fee

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry has asked the finance ministry to waive income tax on the money earned though the passenger services fee (PSF), which is spent on security at all airports.
If implemented, the move will dent the government’s direct tax collection by a tad.
“The income tax department charges tax (in the highest slab) on the fee that was earlier collected by airports. We have made a request to the finance ministry to exempt it from tax, as it is collected by us but managed by a trust,” said an aviation ministry official, refusing to be identified.
The aviation ministry has also requested the finance ministry to bring jet fuel under GST. It is expected to ease the burden on the aviation turbine fuel, which is now taxed up to 36% across states. Jet fuel has up to 50% share in the cost of operations for airlines.
The government has cleared a long-pending issue of increasing the PSF from July 1 to ensure that the collection is enough to meet the cost of securing the airports. PSF has also been linked to inflation, which means it would increase every three years based on the inflation rate. It will take care of any increase in costs.
17/09/19 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Bees were using plane as pit stop while transiting airport: Experts

Kolkata: The belligerent bees that had forced a flight to turn back from the runway were actually transiting the airport and had chosen the Air India plane for a pit stop, say entomologists. While there are no flowering plants at the airport for the honeybees to refuel, the intoxicating vapours from aviation turbine fuel (ATF) may just have lured them to home in on the airport, say others.
“It appears that a queen bee and the colony of worker bees were moving base in search of a new hive and had stopped at Kolkata airport to rest. Since there are no trees in the vast grounds of the airport, the plane acted as a perching spot,” said Prabir Garain, honeybee researcher and protection specialist at Nimpith Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
Entomologist, Bulganin Mitra, said overcrowding could have prompted a queen bee residing with others in a large colony to move out with a breakaway group. “The group was probably travelling in search of a perfect spot to form a hive. During the search, they appear to have stopped at Kolkata airport to rest,” said Mitra who retired as senior scientist from Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
Honeybees have different migrating patters. Wild bees (Apis dorsata) travel towards the Sunderbans when mangroves flower between March and June. Thereafter, they migrate towards villages where there are agricultural crops. The migration is in smaller numbers. In contrast, the other species of Indian bees (Apis cerana indica) found naturally shift base in large numbers. Earlier commercially managed for honey production, honey farmers have now shifted to Italian honeybees (Apis mellifera) that are more productive than the Indian variety. From the description provided by pilots who were in the cockpit of the Airbus A319 aircraft, on which the bees converged, entomologists said they were Indian honeybees. The bees that swarmed the plane were average sized and found hovering in gardens or shops selling sweets, an Air India ground staff told TOI. Garain deduced that the hive, from which the bees were migrating, were within 1.5km of the airport as the Indian honeybees usually don't travel long distances.
17/09/19 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India

Air India was due to be operationally profitable the coming year. So what happened?

Air India has reported a loss of Rs 8,640 crore for the 2018-19 financial year. This, despite a domestic market share of 12.9 percent and an international market share of 68 percent. The balance sheet continues to be extremely weak with Rs 29,000 crore of debt (the debt has been halved, from the previous 58,000 crores, thanks to the creation of a special purpose vehicle).

While the government has signalled clear intent of divesting its stake in the airline, owing to the adverse economic climate, sharp global slowdown and severe liquidity crunch, the divestment is likely to be challenging. Until that time, the airline has to stay aloft.

Can it? There are no easy answers there.

But there are plenty of answers to why a once-proud carrier today stands crippled. And an analysis of how the state of affairs came to be — due to a confluence of factors — offers valuable insights for business and government.
 Because of the ownership and accountability structure, in spite of key assets and advantages, the stakeholders at Air India have not been aligned towards a single outcome. Over the years, as the airline bled cash, the demands for additional equity infusions and for writing off the debt increased.
17/09/19 Satyendra Pandey/CNBC TV18

Air India to begin Varanasi-Dehradun flights from September 28

New Delhi: Air India is set to begin its services between Uttarakhand capital Dehradun and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh from September 28. The development was confirmed by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said Monday.

Taking to Twitter, the chief minister said, "Iam happy to share the news that @airindiain is connecting Dehradun to Varanasi via Mum-Ded-Vns flight starting 28/9/2019. This is an important milestone in our bid to connect Uttarakhand to cities along Ganga ji by air and I thank AI Chairman Ashwini Lohani jee for this."
The new route is said to provide better connectivity to pilgrims in Varanasi in UP and Haridwar and Rishikesh in the hill state, Rawat said.

Aviation Advisor, Uttarakhand government, Capt Deep Shrivastava, in a press release, said the service will be operational on Wednesday and Saturday every week till October 26.
Meanwhile, Air India Monday posted an operating loss of around Rs 4,600 crore in the last financial year mainly due to higher oil prices and foreign exchange losses but the debt-laden carrier expects to turn operationally profitable in 2019-20.
Reflecting tough business conditions, the airline's net loss stood at about Rs 8,400 crore while total revenues touched around Rs 26,400 crore in 2018-19, one of the senior officials said.
17/09/19 India TV

Air India's monthly fuel bill might spike by Rs 50 cr on higher oil prices: Official

New Delhi: Air India's monthly fuel bill might rise by at least Rs 50 crore if the crude oil prices continue to surge in the wake of drone attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, a senior airline official said on Monday.
The national carrier's fuel bill every month is around Rs 500 crore.
According to the official, the bill could go up by at least Rs 50 crore if the oil prices jump 10 per cent from USD 60 per barrel level on a sustained basis.
An increase in oil prices could also result in fares going up as costs would have to be passed on, he added.
Besides, steep foreign exchange rate fluctuations would increase the fuel costs since payments are made in dollars, the official said.
On Saturday, drone attacks targeted Abqaiq, the site of the largest oil processing plant run by the Saudi state oil company, Aramco, and the Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia.
16/09/19 PTI/Economic Times

Air India And Korea Tourism Join Hands To Launch The Direct Service On Delhi-Seoul Route

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Air India joined hands to announce the launch of the new nonstop flight connection from Delhi to Seoul recently. The event, attended by more than 100 trade and media participants, was addressed by Jong Ho Choi, Minister of Embassy of Republic of Korea in India and Meenakshi Malik, Commercial Director, Air India.

The latest updates of the destination were presented by KTO and the in-flight facilities, baggage advantages and competitive prices were introduced by Air India to travel trade partners. This first joint promotion initiative between KTO and Air India intends to promote more travelers visiting from India to South Korea with Air India as their preferred airline.

The flight offers a lot of advantages over its competitors flying in the same sector. It will be the shortest duration flight flying from Delhi-Seoul with 6 hrs flying time and maximum baggage allowance of two pieces, which is 46 kgs for economy passengers.

In 2018, approximately 119,791 Indians  visited South Korea and 150,457 South Korean tourist visited India. The increasing exchange of tourists between both the countries has encouraged both the organizations to join hands and promote the destination and the new flight connection.
17/09/19 T3

Vijayawada airport to have new flights from Nov

Vijayawada: Vijayawada international airport is likely to have a few new services by November this year with the state government having swung into action after some airline operators cancelled their services to various key destinations from the city. The airlines, however, agreed to restore flight services to Hyderabad, Delhi and Tirupati.
Meanwhile, some airlines cancelled their services to Delhi, Chennai, Cochin, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and Singapore despite good occupancy. The state government had faced criticism from the opposition parties with the cancellation of services.
Vijayawada airport registered double-digit growth after the city became part of the capital region in 2015. A new domestic terminal building was built to meet the increasing demand and the runway was expanded to accommodate large aircraft.
Officials from the chief minister’s office (CMO) took up the issue and made a representation to the civil aviation ministry on the issue. In response, SpiceJet came forward to run direct flight services to Hyderabad from September 25. “There is no direct flight to Hyderabad till 11 am every day. Passengers face problems with this. SpiceJet will start operating a direct flight service in the morning and it will reach the city by 8 am every day. SpiceJet will also add another direct flight to Hyderabad in the evening. They have already started online bookings for these services,” said airport director, G Madhusudana Rao.
“Business circles were eagerly waiting for the Delhi-Hyderabad-Vijayawada daily flight. Air India has decided to restore this service from October 27. This aircraft had a good occupancy rate earlier and we hope to have a similar response from passengers in future,” the director said.
17/09/19 Venu Lanka/Times of India

GoAir A20N at Jaipur on Sep 16th 2019, rejected takeoff due to bird strike

A GoAir Airbus A320-200N, registration VT-WGN performing flight G8-358 from Jaipur to Mumbai (India) with 165 people on board, was accelerating for takeoff from Jaipur's runway 27 when the left hand engine (PW1127G) ingested a bird prompting the crew to reject takeoff at high speed. The aircraft slowed safely and returned to the apron.
The aircraft remained on the ground for about 9 hours, then departed again and reached Mumbai with a delay of 8.5 hours.
16/09/19 Simon Hradecky/AV Herald

Night flight from October 5 in Chandigarh

Mohali: Five months after the announcement of 24x7 operations, the Chandigarh international airport will see night flying, as GoAir flight from Ahmedabad will enhance the watch hours. This flight will arrive at 10.10pm and depart for Delhi at 10.50pm. This will be first time that any flight will arrive or depart from the Chandigarh airport during the night hours after 7.50pm.
According to GoAir officials at Chandigarh, the flight will start operations from October 5 and it will be six days a week. It will depart from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad, at 8.10pm and arrive at Chandigarh at 10.10pm. After a halt of 40 minutes, the flight will depart at 10.50pm to Delhi at 12.20am. The same flight with stay overnight at Delhi and will depart for Chandigarh at 9.50am to arrive at Chandigarh at 11.10am, and after a halt of 40 minutes, it will depart at 11:50am to reach Ahmedabad at 1:55pm.
17/09/19 Times of India

Alcohol test must for airside staffers: DGCA

New Delhi: The Director General of Civil Aviation on Monday issued orders making breath analyser test mandatory for all personnel engaged in “safety sensitive aviation functions”. As of now the DGCA conducts 100 per cent BA tests on pilots and cabin crew.
The new regulations will cover more than 25,000 aviation personnel including aircraft maintenance engineers, vehicle drivers, equipment and aerobridge operators, marshallers, personnel manning apron control, personnel involved in operational duty on air side, aerodrome rescue and fire fighting personnel and air traffic controllers.
“All such personnel are critical for the safety of aircraft operations. They act as the support system for the flight crew. Any failure on their part can imperil safety,” DGCA chief Arun Kumar had said recently.
This paper had on September 9 reported about the DGCA’s plans on BA tests.
As per DGCA notification, at least 10 per cent staff of a company involved in the crucial activities will be randomly subjected to BA examination on a daily basis. The aerodrome management will be responsible for the conduct of the BA test on the personnel of the ground handling agency and aerodrome operational personnel, while the airline operators, air navigation service provider, maintenance organisations for their employees. The organisations have to use a scientifically valid method to ensure all employees have an equal chance of being tested each time the selection is made. Besides, organisations must have a doctor holding MBBS degree/trained paramedics/emergency medical technician (EMT)/personnel holding BSC (Nursing)/Diploma (Nursing) to conduct BA examination at a designated place within the airport premises. The process will be recorded on a video camera.
17/09/19 Vineeta Pandey/Asian Age

15-day call for illegal buildings near airport

Mohali: Owners of 98 illegal structures within 100 meters of vicinity of the air force station here have been served final notice and demolition of such constructions will start after 15 days from now, said Deputy Commissioner Girish Dayalan said on Monday.
The DC said the government of India had issued a notification under Section 3(1) dated January 2010, whereby the it had notified that no building or structure shall be constructed, created or erected, or no tree shall be planted on any land within the limits of 100 meters from the crest of the outer parapet of the Air Force Station (AFS), Chandigarh.
A public notice was issued under Section 3(2) under the Works of Defence Act, 1903 by the collector on March 9, 2011 for Bhabat village. The Punjab and Haryana high court had also constituted a committee headed by chief secretary of Punjab last year to examine the status of illegal constructions within 100 meters of the periphery wall of the AFS.
Encroachments near airport: File claims in 15 days, says DC
The committee in its report said that structures were constructed before the date of publication of the notification in 2011. In line with the Act, the high court has ordered that these 98 structures be demolished immediately without payment of any compensation, after following the due process of law.
The DC’s notice reads, “That you are hereby given 15 days’ notice to either remove the structure or appear in person or through any authorized representative before the undersigned to submit any claims or objections in writing. In case no objections are received in this office within the stipulated time period, then it will be assumed that you have nothing to say in the matter, and the demolition of the said structure will be carried out without further notice.”
17/09/19 Times of India

Two US Citizens Held After Flying Drone Near Indian Presidential Residence

New Delhi: Two US nationals have been taken into custody by Delhi Police after flying drones in the high security zone surrounding Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official home of the President of India in New Delhi, police said on Monday.
Flying drones is banned in the airspace surrounding the Parliament building and Rashtrapati Bhavan as the area is designated as a 'red zone' by India’s aviation authority. An official document, known as an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit, is needed in order to pilot a drone and foreigners are currently not allowed to fly drones in India
The father-son duo, identified as Peter James Lynn, 65, and Guillaume Leadbetter Lynn, 30, arrived in India from the US on a tourist visa on 14 September.
During questioning, the two revealed that they were recording the video for the online portal they work for. Both men claimed to be unaware that the use of drones is banned in Delhi.
According to police, nothing suspicious has been found as yet but the investigation remains ongoing.
16/09/19 Sputnik

Monday, September 16, 2019

Snag hits Air India One, President Kovind stuck in Zurich for hours

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind’s flight from Zurich to Slovenia was delayed on Sunday after the Air India Boeing 747 that was to fly as AI One developed a snag. According to sources, the president drove to Zurich airport where a last-minute glitch on the 26-year-old jumbo jet (VT-ESO) was suspected. The VVIP returned to his hotel and AI aircraft engineers immediately started working on the aircraft "Khajuraho".
During this time, an AI Boeing 777 that was to operate on London-Mumbai sector with a schedule departure time of 1.15 pm (local time London) as flight 130 was kept on standby at Heathrow as alternate AI One to be flown to Zurich for the President’s journeys if needed.
Luckily AI engineers rectified the jumbo jet which then flew President Kovind to Slovenia with a delay of a few hours. And AI 130 flew to Mumbai at 2.30 pm (local time London) from Heathrow without requiring to fly as alternate AI One to Zurich, say sources.
Keeping an Air India aircraft at a foreign base nearest from where AI One has to operate as standby is a regular practice. This overseas trip of President Kovind first made news when Pakistan on September 7 denied permission for it to fly over its airspace from India to Europe and back.
The B747 took a longer route to Europe when it left last Monday (Sept 9) and will take the longer route back home too. Now India is not going to seek clearance for VVIP flights to use Pakistan airspace till relations between he two countries improve.
16/09/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

With new flights, Air India plans to fly high once again while Centre prepares disinvestment ground

New Delhi:  National carrier Air India is leaving no stone unturned to strengthen its position in the growing Indian aviation industry while the government is preparing the final ground for its disinvestment.

Be it is international destinations or domestic routes, the Maharaja has been on an expansion mode adding more flights.

Sources said as the Central government prepares for disinvestment of the airline, efforts to fortify its financial position will help attract investors.

Notwithstanding the massive debt burden of over Rs 58,000 crore and threats of stopping fuel supply by the oil companies, Air India is missing no opportunity to tap new routes.

First, it started flights connecting major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Indore and Kolkata to Dubai.

Officials said the airline is all set to launch a daily direct flight from Lucknow to Jeddah this winter. At present, this flight is operated via New Delhi. Moreover, as part of its international network expansion, Air India is introducing flights from Delhi to Seoul, South Korea. The non-stop operations to Seoul will start from September 18.

The airline has also planned a Delhi-Toronto direct flight from September, Mumbai-Nairobi, and Delhi-Chennai-Bali flight service in October and November.
16/09/19 Kumar Vikram/New Indian Express

Airlines may keep Jet slots, foreign rights till March-end

New Delhi: The Centre is likely to allow domestic carriers to keep Jet Airways’s slots at domestic airports and its foreign traffic rights until the end of March, or during the winter schedule, a senior official of the Civil Aviation Ministry said.

“The airlines said that a temporary allocation of Jet Airways’s slots and traffic rights for three months put them at a disadvantage as they are left with a shorter booking period as compared to foreign carriers and requested that these to be given to them until the end of the winter schedule. We will consider their request,” P.S. Kharola, Secretary, Civil Aviation Ministry, told The Hindu. The airlines raised the issue at a meeting with the Ministry last week.

Airlines plan their flight schedules twice a year — summer and winter schedules. The winter schedule will be in force from the last Sunday of October to the last Saturday of March. The government’s decision will help the airlines plan their flights for the winter season before they file their schedule with the Director General of Civil Aviation.
In April, the Ministry allotted 440 of the 750 airport slots held by Jet Airways to various carriers for three months after the Mumbai-headquartered airline stopped flying due to cash constraints. This was extended in August until the end of December.
16/09/19 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu

Poor decisions taken by AI may affect its stake sale targets

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led Government’s plan to sell debt-laden airline Air India is well on track but the sale may not mop up the targeted yield owing to its value erosion over last several months since it decided to stop selling tickets on the platform of global ticketing distribution company Amadeus.

In October last year, Travelport had announced that it had “won competitive tender process undertaken by Air India for the sole provision of distribution of its domestic flight content in the airline’s home market”.

The national carrier had decided to shift to Travelport despite several senior officials raising objections against the move. Joining hands with Travelport meant giving access to details of AI’s flyers to Interglobe Technologies Quotient, a strategic business unit of InterGlobe Enterprises which is the parent company of IndiGo, India’s largest airline by market share and Air India’s biggest competitor.

It is understood Amadeus managed about 50 percent of Air India’s ticket sales through its GDS network.

GDS is a globally connected computerised reservation network offering a one-point access to airline bookings, hotel reservations as well associated travel-related areas including car rentals.

Dr Sanat Kaul, Chairman International Foundation for Aviation Aerospace and Drones said “Air India has been on the proverbial ventilator  for long time. Divesting it’s saleable assets and properties is not the answer to this mess. Reducing it’s vast GDS distribution network to one vendor is shrinking its catchment area of passengers. The government policy of appointing one CMD after another who have no background in aviation or airlines business  shows its lack of seriousness. Taxpayers are the victims of this policy unlike other airlines which go in for liquidation.”
16/09/19 Pioneer

Safe skies: Air traffic controllers, aircraft engineers to undergo breath test by year-end

New Delhi: By the end of this year, airports across India will begin conducting breath analyser (BA) tests on aviation personnel like air traffic controllers (ATCOs), people driving vehicles in the operational areas, firefighters and aircraft maintenance engineers.

So far only pilots and cabin crew have to clear BA tests to ensure they are perfectly sober before being allowed to operate flights. But Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Kumar has now expanded the scope of this test to all aviation personnel providing critical services as it is essential they are not tipsy when on the job.

The tests will kick off by October 30 at ten of India’s busiest airports that include the six metros, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Lucknow and Guwahati. By November-end, 33 more airports including Jaipur, Vadodara, Srinagar, Mangalore and Juhu (Mumbai) will start conducting these tests. By the year-end all licensed airports will need to do so.

The categories of aviation employees who will now have to clear the tipsy test include aircraft maintenance engineers; drivers of fuelling and catering vehicles; aerobridge operators; rescue and fire fighting personnel (ARFF); ATCOs and flight dispatchers.

“At least 10% individuals involved in the above mentioned activities, employed in their respective organisations (category wise) shall be randomly subjected to BA examination on a daily basis… The (airport operator) management shall be responsible for the conduct of BA test on the personnel of the ground handling agency and aerodrome operational personnel, while airlines, air navigation service provider, maintenance organisations for their employees,” a statement issued by DGCA said.
16/09/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

PM Modi likely to open Kalaburagi airport on November 1

Kalaburagi: The airport that has been set up here under Public-Private Partnership with the Government of Karnataka at a cost of Rs 175.5 crore, is likely to be inaugurated on Karnataka Rajyotsava Divas on November 1.
This was disclosed by the Kalaburagi MP Dr Umesh Jadhav at a media conference on Sunday. 
Speaking to the media, Dr Jadhav said Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa was making efforts to see that the airport was inaugurated on November 1 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Barring a few civil works which are in the final stages, most of the works have been completed. The Deputy Commissioner B Sharath a couple of days back handed over 743.23 acres of land acquired for the project to  Airport Authority of India(AAI) officials.
The District IN-Charge Secretary Kapil Mohan and the Regional Commissioner Subodh Yadav, who chaired separate review meetings, have instructed the officials to complete all ongoing works by the third week of October.
It may be mentioned that the foundation stone for the project was laid by Mr Yediyurappa in June 2008 during his previous tenure as Chief Minister. 
The contract for building the airport was given to Gulbarga Airport Development Limited, a special purpose company.
But delays in completion led to the termination of the agreement in 2015 and the state government handed over the remaining work to the Public Works Department.
Initially the government had decided to limit the runway length to 1000 metres, but later extended it to 1970 metres to facilitate the landing of larger aircraft.
16/09/19 KN Reddy/Deccan Chronicle

Air India’s Daily Rs 23 Crore Loss Another Headache for Govt Looking to Get it off its Hands

New Delhi: At a time when the government appears to be clearing the runway for Air India’s disinvestment to take off, the airline flying into its highest-ever net loss is surely unwelcome news. It is true that the national carrier has never returned a profit since the merger involving Indian Airlines more than a decade ago, so losses have ceased to surprise. But fresh numbers show that 2018-19 has been its worst year so far. A senior official of the airline who wished to remain anonymous has told agencies that Air India managed to lose about Rs 23 crore every single day, taking its net loss for 2018-19 to about Rs 8,400 crore. As Air India’s loss-making spree continues unabated, the Modi government also continues to assert that disinvestment of the airline is on its agenda and modalities are being worked out. But one wonders whether there is more pain for taxpayers before (and if at all) this white elephant is taken off the exchequer’s hands.
Read Sinndhu Bhattacharya's analysis in full >>

After 3 crashes, DGCA begins audit of private charter firm

New Delhi:  A leading charter operator is under the regulatory lens following three crashes in the last eight years. Delhi-based Air Charter Services (ACS) saw its most recent crash last month when a trainer aircraft went down in Aligarh during approach for landing. Luckily, all the six people onboard the private aircraft survived. However, the other two crashes involving ACS planes had seen 11 deaths.

“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is auditing the charter company,” said DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) chief Arun Kumar, who is known for zero tolerance to any safety violations and has recently cracked down on big airlines also for lack of safety culture.

ACS did not comment on what steps it is taking to improve its patchy safety record.

In May 2011, 10 people were killed after an ACS Pilatus PC12 aircraft crashed in Faridabad while operating a medical charter Patna to Delhi flight. And in March 2017, another Pilatus PC 12 of the company crashed during a Delhi-Bangkok medical charter, killing the pilot and leaving several others injured.
16/09/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Shareholders inject $70mn into India's Vistara

Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines (SQ, Singapore Changi), the two joint-venture partners in India's Vistara (UK, Delhi Int'l), have agreed to inject an additional INR5 billion rupees (USD70.5 million) into the carrier to fund its accelerated expansion, the Business Standard has reported.

The injection is earmarked to help Vistara grow at a more rapid pace, taking advantage of the vacuum in the market left by the collapse of Jet Airways (9W, Mumbai Int'l). The promoters hope that by expanding the full-service carrier they will also propel it towards profitability. In the last financial year, ending June 30, 2019, Vistara lost INR8.3 billion (USD117 million).

Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, which hold a 51% and a 49% stake in the carrier, respectively, last boosted Vistara's coffers in April 2019, injecting INR9 billion (USD127 million) in total.

In the wake of Jet's collapse, Vistara added eight B737-800s to its fleet which also includes thirteen A320-200s and ten A320-200neo. While the steady growth of the carrier's Airbus narrowbody fleet and its international expansion were planned ahead, the addition of Boeing jets was an opportunistic move that presented additional capital requirements.
16/09/19 ch-aviation

Pune airport to get facial recognition technology

Pune: Pune airport is planning to implement facial recognition biometric technology under the central government’s Digi Yatra scheme, which will make entry of passengers to the airport hassle-free and fast.

Pune airport is among the four airports across the country that have been selected by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to undertake the project.

A contract to set up and run the system has been awarded to a New Delhi-based company.

Under the ‘Digi Yatra’ programme, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is planning to start biometric boarding system at airports across the country. Initially, it will be installed at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada airports.
“Passenger entry will be automatically processed based on facial recognition systems at checkpoints like entry, security and aircraft boarding, thus facilitating paperless travel. The system will be operational by next year,” said Pune Airport Director Ajay Kumar.
“The tender has been awarded to M/s NEC Technologies India Private Ltd, based in New Delhi with its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. The cost of the project is approximately Rs 14 crore for Pune airport. The firm will also be responsible for operation and maintenance for a period of seven years after the implementation of the project. The project is likely to be completed within one year,” he said.
16/09/19 Indian Express

Explained: Where can you fly a drone in Delhi? What permissions do you need?

A father and his son, both citizens of the United States, were detained on Saturday for flying a drone fitted with a camera above the high-security zone in Lutyens’s Delhi. The drone was spotted above Rashtrapati Bhavan around 6.45 pm Saturday, and its camera was found to contain footage of Central Secretariat and nearby buildings.
Flying of drones is banned over Delhi, and specifically over the Vijay Chowk area — something that the two Americans, Peter James Lynn (65) and Guillaume Leadbetter Lynn (31) have reportedly claimed they were unaware of.
While this prohibition follows a specific security threat from terrorists, the general guidelines issued by the civil aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), also lay down specific no-go areas for drones.
These guidelines, issued last year, classified civilian remotely piloted aircraft systems into specific types, and made it legal for ordinary enthusiasts to operate drones in India, subject to various requirements and clearances. The guidelines came into effect on December 1, 2018.
DGCA has identified multiple categories of drones, which can be broadly classified as ‘Nano’ (weighing up to 250 g), ‘Micro’ (more than 250 g but less than 2 kg) and ‘Small and above’ (weighing 2 kg or more).
Every drone that is bigger than a ‘Nano’ must obtain a unique identification number (UIN) from the aviation regulator (similar to the registration number for a car). This number must be displayed on the remotely piloted aircraft.
16/09/19 Indian Express

India to Perth direct flights a certainty, but locking in an airline proves challenging

The West Australian government can tick Japan-to-Perth direct flights off its wish list, but an Indian equivalent is proving much harder to secure.
The government has set itself the challenge of securing direct Perth flights to Japan, Shanghai and India. The Japan flight landed for the first time on September 1, but meetings between WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia, Indian airlines and Indian ministers are yet to bear fruit.
India’s oldest private airline, Jet Airways, collapsed in April this year and one of the country’s biggest – the government-controlled and debt-ridden Air India – is up for sale.
“In India, it's a little challenging. We've confronted their elections in the middle of our negotiations,” Mr Papalia said.
“One of the airlines we were talking to collapsed ... it’s a moveable feast but we've talked to about seven airlines in India.
“We've talked to the biggest online tour agents, Make My Trip and we've met the new state minister for civil aviation.”
Mr Papalia said with the increasing flow of Indian visitors to WA that occurred naturally, a direct flight was a certain.
“We will get a flight; it’s the fastest-growing aviation market in the world,” he said.
16/09/19 Hamish Hastie/WAtoday

Karipur-Jeddah flight makes emergency landing at Taif airport in Saudi

Taif: A SpiceJet flight from Kozhikode to Jeddah made an emergency landing at Taif airport due to technical snag. The flight carrying 184 passengers landed at Taif international airport on Sunday around 8.40 am.
Among the passengers 101 were Umrah pilgrims. Others were returning to Jeddah after spending holidays in Kerala.
Passengers in the flight were taken outside the airport after immigration clearance.
Umrah pilgrims were taken to Mecca via bus around 5 pm from Taif airport. Bus service was arranged for other passengers to Jeddah.
16/09/19 Mathrubhumi

After three-month lull, flyers’ footfall picks up at Pune airport

Pune: The Jet Airways crisis sparked a lull in domestic passenger traffic at the Lohegaon airport recently, but things seem to be on the up again.
As per data of the Airports Authority of India from January to July, there was a slowdown in passenger footfall at the facility between March and May. The report said Jet Airways’ folding, and the consequent empty slots, were partly to blame.

“While there are still some empty slots, we are quite upbeat about the upcoming winter schedule, as new domestic flights will be added. The domestic traffic was low for some months due to different factors, but things have now started to improve,” an airport official said.

“It happened mainly because of Jet Airways’ crisis, as the airline operated close to 20 flights at the airport. Since then, many slots have been taken up by other airlines, like Air India. With the winter schedule starting from October-end, we do expect a major jump,” another official said.

Early morning slots are hard to come by at the airport as commercial flight operations are suspended from 8am to 10.30am from Sunday to Friday to facilitate practice sessions of the Indian Air Force.

One official hinted that discussions were on to arrive at some sort of compromise. “If an agreement is reached, we could get close to 20 additional slots during the morning hours,” the official added.

Another official said the airport authorities were exploring the possibility of starting a direct flight between Pune and Mumbai.

“The lack of a direct flight is a concern, as the airport loses a major chunk of business flyers. Talks with airlines on this issue are ongoing and hopefully, a flight between the two cities will soon be started,” the official said.

Experts said the airport needs to concentrate on the low-cost UDAN scheme to boost domestic connections.
16/09/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

DGCA to counsel airline crew as mid-flight TikTok videos flood the web

New Delhi: The surge of TikTok videos filmed by airline crew, often mid-flight and at times in the cockpit, has caught the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s attention and the regulator is not pleased.
As yet another TikTok video of a crew member “modelling” down the aisle of an aircraft went viral Monday, a senior DGCA official told ThePrint that the trend was “not desirable at all”.
“We have checked those videos,” the official added. “This not desirable at all and we will counsel them all on this.”
TikTok is a social media app where users can film short videos that involve lip-sync to dialogues and lyrics, or other antics. It enjoys viral popularity, and has over 500 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone.
Airline crew seem to have caught on to the trend as well, filming videos displaying all manner of antics, be it dancing to Bollywood numbers, or giving followers a view from the cockpit.
Under hashtags such as “#Pilotslife”, “#crewlife”, and “#flightattendant”, there are hundreds of videos on TikTok showing airline crew with babies on board, chatting with fellow crew members, and even shutting the exit door of the aircraft.
Among Indian airlines, the staff of SpiceJet — as in the ramp walk video — and IndiGo are most commonly seen in the videos.
The DGCA is frowning upon these videos because airline crew are not allowed to take photographs during any phase of flight. A 2011 DGCA circular on managing “Disruptions and Distractions” said photography during flight was a source of distraction that may lead to error and reduce safety.
16/09/19 Ifrah Mufti/Print

IndiGo launches new service to Rajamahendravaram

Visakhapatnam: An IndiGo flight service has been introduced from Visakhapatnam to Rajamahendravaram and vice-versa under the regional connectivity scheme. With a maximum fare of Rs 2,500, the inaugural offer is for Rs 1,050. While the departure of flight to Rajamahendravaram is at 5:45 pm, arrival at Visakhapatnam is at 6:30 pm. Similarly, from Visakhapatnam, the flight will depart at 6:50 pm and arrives at 7:40 pm at Rajamahendravaram.
This flight will further proceed to Bengaluru. According to Andhra Pradesh Air Travelers Association members and airport advisor board members – D S Varma, O Naresh Kumar along with president of APATA K Kumar Raja, MLA Gana Babu and Airport Director Raja Kishore were part of the new service inaugural celebrations.
16/09/19 Hans India

IndiGo forgets luggage of entire Delhi to Istanbul flight. Internet explodes

New Delhi: On a flight from Delhi to Istanbul on September 15, 2019, IndiGo did something which led to the hashtag #ShameOnIndiGo trend on Twitter. IndiGo, which was flying the passengers to Istanbul, left behind the luggage of the entire aircraft back in Delhi.

Twitter user Chinmay Dabke, who was on this Delhi-Istanbul flight, took to his account to share the details of the incident.

Chinmay wrote, "Just flew in on @IndiGo6E flight 6E 11 from Delhi to Istanbul last evening. We received this piece of paper when we were waiting for our luggage at the belt. The airline did not load the luggage of the ENTIRE FLIGHT. Not a single passenger got their luggage (1/n) #shameonindigo," as he shared a picture of the apology note handed to the passengers.
He continued by saying, "How can an airline as big as @IndiGo6E 'forget' or 'miss out' on loading luggage. I get you forgot the luggage for a few people on the flight. But the ENTIRE flight? What are Indian operations in Delhi doing? (2/n) #shameonindigo."
That was not all, he wrote all the problems that this created for the passengers. He tweeted, "My father has his necessary medication in his luggage. He is a diabetes patient who needs his daily dose. Some other travelers were on connecting flights to their end destinations in different countries. What do these folks do? (3/n) #shameonindigo @IndiGo6E."

Finally, while praising the ground staff at the Istanbul airport, Chinmay wrote, "However, the only positive from this ordeal is that the ground staff at Istanbul airport was extremely cooperative and helped everyone fill out requisite forms so they can identify luggage and give it back to us. It is not easy dealing with 130+ angry Indians."
16/09/19 India Today

IAF's Golden Arrows squadron to be revived for Rafale

The Indian Air Force on Tuesday is expected to resurrect its ‘Golden Arrows‘ 17 Squadron which will be the first unit to fly the multi-role Rafale fighter jets.

IAF chief B S Dhanoa will resurrect the 17 squadron at an event on Tuesday at the Ambala Air Force Station as it prepares to receive the Rafale jets, official sources said.

The ‘Golden Arrows‘ 17 Squadron was commanded by Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa during the Kargil war in 1999.

The squadron, which operated from Bhatinda air base, was disbanded in 2016 after the IAF started gradual phasing out of Russian-origin Mig 21 jets.

The squadron was formed in 1951, and initially it flew de Havilland Vampire F Mk 52 fighters.

India is expected to receive the first Rafale jet by end of this month.
The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft.
The sources said the first squadron of the aircraft will be deployed at the Ambala Air Force Station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF.
16/09/19 Spring Hill Contributor/Rawlins Review

Kial says no to CAG audit, triggers controversy

Kannur: The decision of the Kannur International Airport Limited (Kial) authorities not to let comptroller and auditor general (CAG) to conduct an audit of the airport has led to controversy.
Though the CAG used to audit Kial accounts till 2016 and the general impression was that it was a company controlled by the government, the company claims that it is a public-private partnership firm with a 35% government stake and hence the CAG need not audit it.

“The CAG does not audit the airports that are not under the Airports Authority of India and we all know that the accounts of the airports, including Cial, are not audited by CAG, and this airport is also functioning in the same model,” said an official, who said this is a private company as per the Companies Act.

The official said that this decision was made after legal opinion was sought.

The managing director was not available to comment on the issue.

But there is something fishy about it and the civil aviation department should probe the irregularities associated with this, demanded the Congress.

“We suspect something dubious because the company which was registered as a private limited company was converted into a public limited one and auditing was held till 2016, but the CAG has been denied permission since 2017, and we suspect it was after the intervention of the chief minister,” alleged DCC president Satheesan Pacheni, who said that this was against the Companies Act.

The BJP had also earlier raised similar allegations.
16/09/19 Times of India

Security at Indian airports to be on par with US soon

New Delhi: New changes are coming to the Indian airports and very soon, the screening would be on par with US standards. There is a tie-up between the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the US Transport Security Administration for this purpose.
Training for the second batch of 50 Indian officials has begun. The training for the first batch of 50 Indian officials was completed recently and the move aims at making India more travel secure.
The officials were trained on how to study body language. This means that security officials would mingle with people in the waiting areas to interpret body language. Another level of security personnel would also converse with passengers.
Further, the movement of staff of other agencies who operate in the airport would be restricted. In the US, additional layers of security for persons working within the airport were introduced. These staffs include airlines staff, luggage loaders, vendors and service support personnel.
16/09/19 Vikash Aiyappa/One India

In mock drill, plane ‘crashes’ in Mumbai's Juhu

Mumbai: An A320 aircraft , with 150 passengers and crew on board, flying in from Ahmedabad had an engine failure during approach into Mumbai airport and “crashed” into the grounds of SNDT University at Juhu on Sunday morning. If you didn’t hear about this crash yesterday, it’s because it didn’t happen in reality. It was a mock exercise organised by Mumbai airport.

The three-hour exercise ‘Aircraft Accident off the Airport’ began at 10 am with about 500 participants. In the exercise, a domestic aircraft carrying 150 passengers and crew on board from Ahmedabad to Mumbai was supposed to have developed an engine failure, after which it descended rapidly, crashed and went up in flames. The incident was assumed to have resulted in 75 passenger fatalities and 75 injuries.
“To make the mock exercise realistic, a dummy aircraft was created and partially set on fire to execute the magnitude of the situation. Similarly, the local police were actively involved for panchnama of ‘deceased’ passengers, allowing for movement of the deceased to Cooper Hospital for post-mortem,” said a release issued by MIAL which claimed that it was the first time that “an airport of this stature had conducted an emergency response exercise outside the premises”.
16/09/19 Times of India

SIA Partners With Condé Nast & Himalayan India’s Top Restaurant Awards 2019

Singapore Airlines has collaborated exclusively with the Condé Nast Traveller and Himalayan India’s Top Restaurant Awards 2019 to bring India’s finest gastronomy to its First and Business Class passengers.

The results of the 3rd edition of the Top Restaurant Awards will be announced in November. At the same time, one restaurant from the Top 50 list will be chosen to work with Singapore Airlines in Singapore to recreate a dish to be served in-flight from April 2020.

A special jury will select the winner from the Top 50 list. On the panel are: Senior management of Singapore Airlines, Sanjeev Kapoor, celebrity chef, part of Singapore Airlines’ International Culinary Panel, Divia Thani, Editor, Condé Nast Traveller India, Kuttiah KS, Vice-President & Head of Marketing, NourishCo Beverages

The chef and team of the winning restaurant will have the exciting opportunity to travel to Singapore and experience the state-of-the-art in-flight kitchen facilities used by the airline, to understand the challenges and nuances of cooking for air travel, and to recreate a signature dish in this environment. The dish will be served to First and Business Class passengers for one month starting April 2020.

Singapore Airlines has tied up with eight world-renowned chefs to create new dishes inspired by their cultures and experiences. These award-winning chefs of global stature form the airline’s International Culinary Panel. Set up in 1998, the panel works closely with the carrier’s own chefs to specially create the unique selection that is available for Singapore Airlines passengers.
16/09/19 T3

Vistara announces a daily direct flight between Delhi and Indore with fares starting at Rs 3,399

Vistara airlines has added Indore as its 30th destination by launching its daily direct flight between Delhi and Indore from 26th October, 2019. The one-way all-inclusive fares start at INR 3,399. Being the biggest industrial city in Madhya Pradesh, Indore is known as the financial capital and heart of the state.

Bookings for these flights are now being opened progressively on all channels, including www.airvistara.com, Vistara’s iOS and Android mobile apps, and through Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and travel agents.

The airline currently connects 27 destinations, operates over 1200 flights a week served by a fleet of 23 Airbus A320 and seven Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, and has flown more than 16 million customers since starting operations in 2015.
16/09/19 Scroll.in

Airline held responsible for baggage lost on Haj

Mohammed Ayub Tonk had applied to the Haj Committee of India through the Rajasthan State Haj Committee to undertake a Haj pilgrimage. After completion of all formalities, he went for Haj.
On the way back, Tonk was carrying 13 bags which he deposited at the check-in counter of Al Wafeer Airlines. When he landed in India, four bags were missing. He lodged a complaint, but the bags could not be traced.
Tonk file a complaint before the District Forum against the airlines as well as the National and Rajasthan State Haj committees and its officials.
Neither the airline nor the Haj committees bothered to file a reply or to contest the case. So the forum allowed the complaint and held the airline as well as the Haj committees jointly and severally liable.
The National Haj Committee challenged this order before the Rajasthan State Commission. However, it did not make the airline party to the appeal. The State Commission dismissed the appeal and upheld the forum’s order.
The National Haj Committee filed a revision petition questioning the orders holding it to be liable, and contended that it could not be held liable.
16/09/19 Jehangir B Gai/Times of India

With a bit of patience and luck, fly for less

Hyderabad:  Imagine flying to the US with your spouse in premium business class for as little as Rs 350 even though actual tickets cost a steep Rs 10 lakh. Or how about paying Rs 14,000 to fly from Hong Kong to London, Oslo to Minneapolis, and Seattle to Taipei all under Rs 14,000 even if the actual price comes to Rs 5 lakh?

That’s possible if you are a frequent flyer and have diligently accumulated air miles from your past travels.
Unfortunately, though Indians are flying frequently on domestic routes these days, they are less lucky than foreign travellers. It’s because unlike foreign carriers, who credit loyalty points to passengers for every flight they take, few of our domestic carriers have attractive air mile programmes.

Take for instance IndiGo, which runs no such loyalty programme and yet manages to get repeat customers. While SpiceJet has SpiceClub membership to reward customers with points, it has stopped adding new entries. Jet Airways’ JetPrivilege was an exception, rewarding flyers handsomely with points or miles, while Vistara’s frequent flyer programme Club Vistara has miles to go.

National carrier Air India too runs a frequent flyer programme, which is part good and part bad. Good because it allows members access to 27 other airlines that are part of the Star Alliance programme. Bad because, it takes years to accumulate sizeable points as Air India’s tickets are often steep, forcing passengers to fly other low-cost carriers.

In short, even if you fly frequently on domestic routes, you rarely are compensated for your loyalty. In contrast, foreign carriers like American Airlines or British Airways sell miles, not just air tickets, through special sales. So, you buy air miles and get bonus miles as a reward.

But don’t lose hope. Here are some ingenious ways to accumulate air miles and with a bit of smartness, patience and luck, you too can travel at a fraction of the cost. Some credit cards allow you to accumulate air miles every time you swipe your card for groceries and goods. Air India has tied up with SBI to offer an Air India SBI Signature Credit Card, which lets you earn 4 miles for every Rs 100 spent.

As a bonus, if you spend Rs 100 to book Air India tickets, you get 30 miles. Similarly, Vistara too offers co-branded credit cards, but experts say such co-branded cards make customers captive to one airline.
16/09/19 Sunitha Natti/New Indian Express

Two batches of Hajis arrive at RGIA

Nampally: Two batches consisting of 684 Haj pilgrims hailing from AP, Telangana and Karnataka arrived at the Haj Terminal of Shamshabad International Airport on Saturday.
The first flight Al-5404 with 342 Haj pilgrims of Andhra Pradesh arrived at 2.45 pm, and the second flight Al-5398 with 342 Haj pilgrims, including 213 Haj pilgrims of Karnataka, 117 of Andhra Pradesh and 12 of Telangana State, arrived at 5.25 pm.
According to Haj Committee, Chairman at Telangana State Haj Committee Md Masiullah Khan, along with B Shafiullah, executive officer at TS Haj Committee, received the Haj pilgrims at the airport and congratulated them on fulfilling their lifetime desire of performing Haj.
16/09/19 Hans India

IndiGo defers Aurangabad service launch to year-end

Aurangabad: In contrast to claims of IndiGo launching its flight services from Aurangabad and Nashik by October-end, the budget airline has shot internal communication to its employees — informing them that the launch at these destinations has been postponed to the end of the year.
The airline instead told its staffers that operations from Shirdi airport would start by October-end. “The launch of Aurangabad and Nashik has been deferred to the end of 2019. Shirdi will be launched in October 2019,” the communication said.

The airline had started its office in Aurangabad and had also hired staff. The airline’s communication, however, said that the staff in Aurangabad and Nashik will be transferred to their respective base locations as soon as the stations are launched. The employees recruited for these two destinations have been given the option to take a permanent transfer to Shirdi.

An insider said: “Since the deputation period at Pune has been prolonged, the employees have been asked to find accommodation around the Pune airport. During this time, they will be paid a deputation allowance.”
IndiGo’s decision to prioritize Shirdi operations — over Aurangabad, which is the tourism capital of Maharashtra and is also an industrial, medical, administrative and educational hub of the region — has stunned many in the tourism and hospitality industry. In fact, the authorities and the Travel Agents’ Association of Aurangabad had been claiming that IndiGo’s Aurangabad service will take off by end of October. However, it is also acknowledged that the airline had not officially declared the dates for the Aurangabad service.
16/09/19 Mohammed Akhef/Times of India

International in name, but no overseas flights

Vijayawada: The State government is exploring all possible ways to have the much-needed international connectivity to the Vijayawada International Airport in Gannavaram.

According to officials, proposals were sent to several international and domestic airlines highlighting the projected patronage and demand for direct flights between the city airport and various international destinations.
“Letters have been sent to international and domestic airlines like Air India, Indigo, SpiceJet, Emirates and Etihad Airways through the State government a week ago. The airlines are yet to respond,” said airport Director G. Madhusudhan Rao.

It may be recalled that the only international flight from the city airport to Singapore by IndiGo had been withdrawn recently following the State government’s decision not to renew the six-month agreement between IndiGo and the AP Airports Development Corporation, a special purpose vehicle.

The State reportedly incurred losses and paid crores of rupees to IndiGo towards Viability Gap Funding as per the State’s aviation policy.

On the other hand, the State government is pursuing with the Centre to get the city airport designated as a Point of Call (PoC) destination.
16/09/19 Tharun Boda/The Hindu

Skies Getting Darker But There Is A Ray Of Hope!

The skies are getting darker as the economic downturn is making people cautious when it comes to travel. According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation data, about 82.56 million passengers travelled on domestic routes in January to July 2019 as against 80.04 million passengers a year earlier. This shows that there is a slump in the travel industry.

Second, the results of travel companies in the first quarter (April-June 2019), indicated that the growth in travel is in the higher single digits. The commentary that we hear from people in the industry is that there is a slowdown and this is getting even more obvious with each passing day.  Third, the Rupee continues to weaken against major currencies, though a global phenomena but this is not a good sign for the Indian traveler. Fourth, the recent economic data that has been splashed across media indicates the beginning of a slowdown and we have to brace for it.

While the signs are not good, we need to brace for it and arrive at solutions.

The nascent Indian outbound travel industry, which is not more than 30 years old, has experienced such shocks in the past. We have come out of such cycles, more fitter with the support of all the stakeholders contributing to this turnaround so therein lies the opportunity as well.

So, what are the opportunities for the travel industry? First, short-haul travel will be the new flavor and this should be lapped up by the closer destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Dubai, Thailand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka amongst others. These destinations have products that attract the Indian travelers with a mix of nature and First World attractions. Second, they are well connected by air from the metros and mini-metros. This provides the traveler the luxury of travelling on a budget but and a value for money holiday.
16/09/19 Murari Mohan Jha/T3

Poor visibility disrupts flight movement at Bhopal airport

Bhopal: Poor visibility due to rain disrupted flight operations at the Raja Bhoj Airport on Sunday morning giving passengers a tough time. The poor weather affected arrival as well as departures of all airlines operating at Bhopal airport, delaying most of the flights.
The worst affected were the flights in the morning hours. Poor visibility made landing difficult. IndiGo Delhi-Bhopal flight 6E-2035, scheduled to arrive at 8 am, had to be diverted back to Delhi after the pilot could not land the aircraft.

IndiGo Mumbai-Bhopal flight 6E-5301 had to be diverted after it could not land. The flight was diverted to Indore. Haj flight was also affected due to the poor visibility at the airport. Air India flight 5461 had to be diverted to Nagpur. Later, all flights reached Bhopal airport after a delay of 2 to 3 hours.

The disruption of flights due to poor visibility has brought to fore the need for higher version of Instrument Landing System (ILS). Passengers who faced the delays also raised the demand for technological upgrade at the airport.

The Raja Bhoj airport is equipped with ILS CAT 1 facility. It is a basic system of precision instrument for approach and landing with a decision height not lower than 60m (200ft) and with either a visibility not less than 800m or a runway visual range not less than 550m.

In simple terms, it provides precision guidance to an aircraft approaching and landing on a runway, using a combination of radio signals to enable a safe landing during instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), such as low ceilings or reduced visibility due to fog or rain.
16/09/19 Times of India

Flydubai eyes new India routes

Flydubai has plans to launch new direct services to several airports in India and is currently awaiting regulatory approvals to begin these services, a senior executive of the airline has said.

“We are looking at a number of airports in India that we can potentially operate to. Announcements will be made only when the necessary approvals are obtained,” Sudhir Sreedharan, vice president, commercial operations of Flydubai, told Arabian Business.

Aviation industry sources in India said Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh is among the new destinations Flydubai is looking at to commence operations in the near future and that it has held discussions with India’s aviation ministry and regulatory officials concerning the new route.

Flydubai executives, however, did not comment on any specific route plan.

“We continuously look at opportunities to ?expand our operations in the market (in India). Any discussions regarding bilateral agreements are done at a government level,” Sreedharan said.

“We remain committed to opening up underserved markets that had no or very little direct connections to the UAE. We will continue to look at more opportunities to strengthen the air links in the region and provide more passengers with more options to travel whether on business or economy,” he added.
Restrictions on flying rights and passenger seat capacities under the bilateral air services pact between India and the UAE have been  hampering airlines the launch of new and additional services between Dubai and India.
With the capacity under the bilateral rights almost exhausted, aviation authorities and airlines in the UAE have been asking for a review of the existing bilateral rights to expand capacities between the two regions.
16/09/19 James Mathew/Arabian Business

Air India Assets Holdings' maiden bond issue fully subscribed, raises Rs 7,000 cr

New Delhi: Air India Assets Holdings Ltd (AIAHL) on Monday raised Rs 7,000 crore through bonds issue, which was oversubscribed.
AIAHL is a special purpose vehicle of national carrier Air India.
As part of efforts to clean up the balance sheet of Air India, which has a debt burden of more than Rs 58,000 crore, little over half of the amount is to be repaid by way of proceeds from the issuance of bonds by AIAHL.
An Air India spokesperson on Monday said AIAHL's bond issue with a three-year tenure of Rs 1,000 crore with a green shoe option of Rs 6,000 crore has been fully subscribed at 6.99 per cent.
"The company received bids worth Rs 20,830 crore, which is the highest in the yield based bond market in the history of BSE. The company has decided to accept the entire issue of Rs 7,000 crore," the spokesperson said.
16/09/19 PTI/India Today

Air India signs test deal with BCCI for South Africa series, eyes annual pact

New Delhi:  With Jet Airways under insolvency, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to give Air India a try as they have signed a deal with the national carrier for the ongoing series against South Africa. If things go well and the board is happy with the services, it could be an annual deal between the two parties.

Speaking to IANS, sources in the Air India management confirmed the development and said that the as of now, arrangements are on for the South Africa series. "We have joined hands with the BCCI and the Indian team travelled by Air India to Dharamsala and will be using the services through the series. Post that, we will sit and assess how to move forward," the source said.

A BCCI functionary said that with Jet out of the market, the board looked at working with Air India and if things go well, the one-series agreement has the potential to turn into an annual contract.

"We are doing the current South Africa series with Air India since Jet is no longer flying. We had a contract with them (Jet) when it came to the team travelling in India. But we had to look at options at the start of this home season and we decided to give this a go and if all goes well, we move to a longer contract, say an annual one," the functionary explained.
16/09/19 IANS/New Indian Express

Hilton Mumbai International Airport Appoints Grace Pavaskar as their Learning and Development Manager

Hilton Mumbai International Airport has appointed Grace Pavaskar as its new Learning and Development Manager, who comes over with 7 years of notable experience in working with varied hotels in India.
In her new role at Hilton Mumbai International Airport, Grace Pavaskar will be responsible to develop and implement strategies & programs for the employees. Her expertise lies in providing the team members with appropriate training and a skilful approach in order to elevate the guest relations and feedback.
Sudhir Babu, Director of Human Resources, Hilton Mumbai International Airport said, “We are delighted to have Grace Pavaskar on board with us. She is a talented resource and an important factor in ensuring our team members are well trained, guest-focused and contribute to the success of our company by growing within the brand.”
16/09/19 BW Hotelier

Aviation Sector: Bangalore International Airport profit after tax falls 22.5 pct

The Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) posted 22.5% year-on-year decline in profit after tax (PAT) to Rs 656 crore for the financial year 2018-19 due to lower user development fee (UDF). The airport operator had reported Rs 846 crore profit in FY18, according to the data available with the ministry of corporate affairs. While passenger footfall at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) jumped 23.8% y-o-y in FY19, operating revenues were down 3% y-o-y to Rs 1,505 crore as Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) slashed UDF for domestic and international passengers by 67% in August 2018.
The UDF for domestic passengers came down to Rs 100 from Rs 306, and to Rs 400 from Rs 1,226 for international passengers. While GMR-owned Delhi International Airport reported Rs 112-crore loss for the year ended March 31, 2019 against PAT of Rs 38.3-crore in FY18 due to sharp reduction in aeronautical revenues, GVK’s Mumbai International Airport more than doubled its PAT to Rs 96 crore in FY19 on the back of higher passenger count. Delhi and Mumbai airports witnessed passenger traffic growth at 5.4% y-o-y and 1% y-o-y, respectively, in FY19.
16/09/19 Arun Nayal/Financial Express

Godavari boat tragedy: Indian Navy helicopter finds no survivors or bodies

Devipatnam: An Indian Navy helicopter on Monday completed a search mission and found no survivors or bodies in the aftermath of the Godavari boat tragedy. Even the debris of the boat was not sighted, the Navy said.

"A UH 3H helicopter took off from Rajmundary Airport at 7.30 am. It carried out multiple searches from the accident site at Devipatnam to Pollavaram for 3 hours and 15 minutes. No survivors or bodies were sighted as well as no debris of the boat was sighted. UH-3H landed back at 1100 hrs," the Indian Navy said.

"Chetak helicopter has now taken off for next search," it added.

In a major tragedy, 11 people died on Sunday afternoon when a tourist boat carrying 61 persons on board capsized in the Godavari River near Devipatnam in Andhra Pradesh, the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) said.
16/09/19 ANI/India Today

Occupancy rate picks up well in commercial flights to Mysuru

Mysuru: In a boost for both domestic and tourists air travel, occupancy rates increased from the Mysuru airport with more destination flights connected to other cities under UDAN 3 scheme.
The occupancy rates of both incoming and outgoing flights from Mysuru have reached a new high triggering interest among private airlines scouting to operate more schedules from and to the ‘City of Palaces.’
15/09/19 B S Prabhurajan/UNI

Goa Survives A Turbulent First Half Of 2019

First half of (January to June) 2019 has been a tough period for Goa, wherein room night demand dropped by 4.4% as compared to the corresponding period in 2018. Major contributors to this slowdown have been the grounding of Jet Airways in April, grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft, a long drawn general election and reduced international charters primarily from Russia due to the weakening of the Russian Ruble. Another factor that contributed to the drop in the occupancy of branded hotels in Goa is the rise of a variety of affordable lodging formats such as Airbnb and private villas/holiday homes, which has gained popularity among the domestic clientele.

International air passenger traffic in Goa declined from 0.48 mn in H1 of 2018 to 0.46 mn in H1 2019 according to Airports Authority of India (AAI) in their monthly passenger traffic reports. International charter flights during the season months (October to May) of 2018-19 dropped by 17% as compared to 2017-18 to 813 flights with the number of passengers dropping by 12% in the same period to 0.21 mn. On the other hand domestic air passenger traffic in goa has continued to grow almost touching 4 mn passengers in H1 2019, which has proved as the only silver lining in the hotel demand landscape.

Despite the dip in demand, Goa’s hospitality market performance remains stable primarily on the back of room rates. This is evident from the 1.9% growth in ADR in H1 2019 over H1 2018. Goa ranks second in ADR next only to Mumbai. With increasing Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) business and growing domestic tourism due to a rise in disposable income, the market is expected to remain stable in the short term.

In the medium to long term, development of Mopa Airport will be a game-changer for the leisure market. It will enable a larger inflow of tourists, both foreign and domestic with an expected handling capacity of 5 million passengers annually. On completion, this development will benefit the entire Goa tourism industry and in particular, will help develop the hospitality market in North Goa and even Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra.
16/09/19 Accomodation Times

Make-up artist Billu Barber who helped Gujarati man impersonate 80-year-old arrested

Delhi: A make-up artist who helped a 32-year-old Gujarati man impersonate an 80-year-old was arrested this weekend. The make-up artist, who goes by the name of Billu Barber, was arrested after the Gujarati man revealed how a make-up artist from Patel Nagar in Delhi helped modify his appearance.

The 32-year-old Jayesh Patel was caught by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on September 9 at Delhi airport. Patel was caught for impersonating 80-year-old Amrik Singh in order to travel to New York, US.

During interrogation, Jayesh Patel revealed that a make-up artist in Patel Nagar had helped him modify his appearance in order to conceal his real identity.

The make-up artist, known as Billu Barber, was arrested on Sunday. Cosmetics and material used for dying hair colour into grey were recovered from his shop.

Accused Billu Barber's real name is Shamsher Singh and he is being interrogated by the police.
16/09/19 Chirag Gothi/India Today

Man held at Delhi airport with smuggled gold

New Delhi:  An Indian has been arrested at the Delhi airport on his arrival from Saudi Arabia for allegedly smuggling gold worth over Rs 27 lakh by concealing it in speakers and bucket handle, customs officials said on Monday.

The passenger, who landed at Terminal-3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday from Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah city via Bahrain, was intercepted by the customs officers after he had crossed the ‘green channel’, the officials said.

A personal and baggage search resulted in the recovery of two gold rods and two circular gold disks, weighing 780 gm, concealed inside bucket handle and speakers, the officials said.
16/09/19 India Post

Kasaragod resident booked for trespass at airport

Mangaluru: The Bajpe Police arrested Arif Kothikkal, a resident of Kasaragod in Kerala, for alleged criminal trespass into the international airport here on Saturday night.

According to a press release, Central Industrial Security Force personnel found Kothikkal using a fake e-ticket to gain entry to the departure gate of the airport.

Kothikkal reportedly fabricated the e-ticket of a SpiceJet flight to Dubai and entered his name along with four of his family members who were to board the flight. He produced the fabricated e-ticket to enter the departure gate and was caught by CISF personnel while he was exiting, the release said.
16/09/19 The Hindu

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Air India posts Rs 4,600 cr operating loss in 2018-19; aims operating profit this fiscal

New Delhi: Air India posted an operating loss of around Rs 4,600 crore in the last financial year mainly due to higher oil prices and foreign exchange losses but the debt-laden carrier expects to turn operationally profitable in 2019-20, according to senior officials.
Reflecting tough business conditions, the airline's net loss stood at about Rs 8,400 crore while total revenues touched around Rs 26,400 crore in 2018-19, one of the senior officials told PTI.
Another senior official said the airline is projected to post an operating profit of Rs 700 to 800 crore in 2019-20, provided oil prices do not shoot up significantly and there is no steep fluctuation in foreign exchange rates.
However, the airline incurred an operating loss of Rs 175 to 200 crore in the three months ended June as closure of Pakistan airspace for Indian carriers resulted in higher costs and caused a daily loss of Rs 3 to 4 crore when the restrictions were in place, the official said.
Air India had a loss of Rs 430 crore in the four-month period when Pakistan closed its airspace after the Balakot air strikes.
The official noted that load factor and yields are improving for Air India, which currently flies to 41 international and 72 domestic destinations. Load factor is a measure of seat occupancy and yield refers to average fare paid per passenger.
15/09/19 PTI/Economic Times

Air India to serve low-fat diet to their crew

New Delhi: National Carrier Air India (AI) has decided to serve special low-fat diet meals for its crew members.
"Taking into consideration the health factor of the crew, an initiative has been taken by the Director (Operations) to revise the in-flight food menu for the crew members. In view of the above, special low-fat diet meal crew has been worked out on day-wise basis in order to provide light and healthy meal with a home (Indian) touch," read an Air India letter.
The letter further stated, "As per GM catering initially the changed menu will be introduced only on Ex- Delhi/Mumbai flights September 15 midnight on all domestic and international flights."
Taking consideration of the health of cabin crew, the letter further said that, "The above same low diet food is applicable for all flying crew i.e cockpit (pilot) and cabin crew."
For breakfast, the crew will be offered dishes like Nutri Peas Bhurji, Besan Chilla, Idli-Sambar and oats for vegetarians. In addition Mushroom Egg White Omelette, Oats Frittata of Egg white, Asparagus Egg White Frittata will be available in the non-vegetarian menu.
15/09/19 ANI/Economic Times

Agartala-bound Air India flight delayed by 2 hours after a swarm of bees attacks plane at Kolkata airport

Kolkata: In a bizarre incident, a Kolkata-Agartala Air India flight was delayed after a swarm of bees attacked the aircraft on the runway at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata on Sunday.
The Air India flight - AI 743 – was delayed for almost two hours after a swarm of bees was noticed in front of the cockpit window when the aircraft was taxing towards the main runway.
136 passengers and crew members were on board the Airbus A319 which was scheduled to take off from Kolkata for Agartala at 9:40 am today.
However, the pilots noticed the bees in front of the aircraft when it was being taken to the main runway for departure. The pilots immediately informed the Air Traffic Control (ATC) about the situation.
The aircraft was brought to a standstill as further movement could have damaged the plane and even harmed the passengers if the bees would have entered the aircraft through its engines, an Air India spokesperson was quoted as saying by a news agency.
Meanwhile, the fire department had to use water jets to remove the bees from the windowpane of the cockpit.
Upon further investigation, officials found that the bees had not entered the aircraft and that the plane had not been damaged in the incident.
15/09/19 TimesNowNews.com

New flight services from Vijayawada soon

Vijayawada: The Vijayawada International Airport is going to have more daily flights to various destinations, including Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and Hyderabad, starting from September 25.

SpiceJet, which withdrew a few services recently, is restoring two daily flights between Vijayawada and Hyderabad, according to Airport Director G. Madhusudhan Rao.

Each of the two flights will be available in the morning and evening from September 25 and bookings have already been opened. Further, SpiceJet is bringing back its Kochi-Tirupati-Vijayawada daily two-way flight from October 27, thus increasing the frequency to Tirupati and providing a direct link to Kochi from the city, Mr. Rao said.

It is also scheduled to operate a flight connecting Chennai-Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam from October 27. SpiceJet is also likely to restore its service to New Delhi from the city and add a new one to Mumbai.
15/09/19 Tharun Boda/The Hindu