Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Vistara may not get to fly overseas just yet, says report

Tata-Singapore airline joint venture Vistara may not get approval to fly overseas as it is yet to complete five years in the aviation industry, The Economic Times reported.
The aviation ministry is not keen on giving permission to the airline as there is an inquiry into the relaxation of overseas flying norms by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), reported ET on Tuesday.
“We are trying to understand as to how would a CBI inquiry into the relaxation of 5/20 impact any move to allow airlines to fly internationally under the 0/20 rule,” sources told the paper.
The norms stated earlier allowed Indian airlines to fly overseas only after a domestic flying experience of five years and after attaining a fleet of 20 aircraft. However, these norms were relaxed in June 2016 to just 20 aircraft fleet.
The source told the paper that the bigger concern is that the agency is also inquiring about the procedure followed by this government. The CBI is inquiring into the AirAsia India’s case where alleged pay-offs to government officials and lobbyists had been done to do away the older norms.
18/09/18 CNBC-TV18

More Indians Are Taking To The Skies Than Ever Before

More Indians are taking to the skies revealed the World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) 2017 published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to the report, India ranked third among passenger traffic by nationality, with United States of America (US) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) bagging the top two positions, respectively. The fourth and fifth positions were bagged by United Kingdom (UK) and Germany, respectively.
However, India (161.5 million or 4.7 per cent of all passengers) was significantly behind the US (632 million representing 18.6 per cent of all passengers) and PRC (555 million or 16.3 per cent of all passengers) but better off compared to the UK (147 million or 4.3 per cent of all passengers) and Germany (114.4 million or 3.4 per cent of all passengers).
This is the first time that ranking of passenger traffic by nationality, for international and domestic travel, was undertaken, WATS said in its report. Nationality here refers to the passenger’s citizenship as opposed to the country of residence.
18/09/18 Uttara Gangopadhyay/Outlook

Firm launches shared services in India with copters, planes

Mumbai: It is something like the Uber moment for the Indian skies as SkyShuttle, a new and differentiated product by private charter aviation company JetSetGo, on Monday launched shared air car services operating both inter and intra-city rides deploying helicopters and private jets.

The company that started operations in 2014 as a private charter planes operator is seeing its recent move as a precursor to getting the vertical take off and landing machines, or VTOLs, in India and also giving to its clients the electric plane experience where it sees itself expanding in the future.

“SkyShuttle product is a totally different product from the core product at JetSetGo. It is basically replicating cars with flying devices something that will take India be VTOL ready,” said Kanika Tekriwal, co-founder and CEO at JetSetGo. “There are 19 companies that offer the VTOL but there is not anyone in Asia and India as the infrastructure supporting this is still a challenge here,” she said.
The whole concept works on sharing economy basis with the idea being to seamlessly transport people. “Traffic on Indian roads is bad; as operators, we do not have the fastest possible mobility from one point to another in shortest possible time. With these air car services, we aim to enable that eco-system to get the country ready,” she said, a reason why Mumbai is picked to kickstart operations.
18/09/18 Manisha Singhal/Financial Express

Elderly Couple Alleges Apathy On Board Jet Airways Flight

Mumbai: An elderly couple travelling from Kolkata to Delhi onboard Jet Airways 9W-964 on September 6 fretted, shouted and then finally gave up as they settled onto their seats convinced that nobody will come to their rescue. As I was travelling on board the same flight, I went up to them and asked what transpired while boarding the flight.

Mr. MC Nath who, along with his wife who suffers from a paralytic condition, is a frequent traveller, was highly disappointed with the kind of behaviour meted out to them by Jet Airways staff members. The elderly couple, owing to the medical condition, had requested for wheelchair assistance and also to be boarded first. The Jet Airways staff readily agreed but it’s the execution of assistance that had upset the couple so much that the couple almost choked while controlling their tears and narrating the ordeal to me.

‘My wife is paralysed for 20 years now. We wanted to be boarded first as we have to keep our bags with medicines and other necessary items nearby. Sometimes the compartment above the seats get filled up immediately and one has to keep the bags far away in other compartments overhead. This is what happened with us. Firstly the assistant assigned to us arrived late without any valid reason then we didn’t find a nearby compartment to keep our bags and then I had to shout to make them understand that treat us with respect. I will never travel via Jet Airways ever,’ narrated Mr. MC Nath.
17/09/18 Shantasree Sarkar/Republic World

Explainer: How weak rupee hurts airline profits

A weaker rupee makes imports expensive and exports cheaper in dollar terms. Indian airlines, which imports jet fuel from other countries, are therefore likely to face the heat of slump in local currency.

For an airline with international operations such as Air India and Jet Airways, the need to translate cash flows into different currencies, and the uncertainty surrounding the level of future exchange rates, gives rise to the top risk. The size of the foreign exchange risk varies, depending on the nature and
scope of an airline’s operations, as well as its corporate strategy.

For airlines, the main foreign currency exposure is often to the US dollar because key cost items, notably fuel, maintenance, and overhaul costs, along with aircraft purchase and lease payments, are typically priced in US dollar terms.

How do forex changes affect airlines?

i) It affects consumer decisions when making travel plans. Lets take US-India travel route: With the current depreciation in rupee, a tourist planning to travel to India from the US will have to shell out less compared to what he/she might have ended up paying in January.

ii) Changes in exchange rates can also influence airline supply decisions. Airlines may be able to respond to relative price shifts by changing the gauge of aircraft on a particular route or via strategic cancellations. Again we'll take the top example: Now since more tourists based out of the US would be interested in travelling to India, airlines will have to ramp-up their capacity to accommodate more travelers.

iii) Exchange rate fluctuations can also impact airline finances, both day-to-day operating activities (profitability) and balance sheet valuations
18/09/18 CNBC-TV18

SpiceJet launches SpiceClub loyalty programme

Chennai: SpiceJet has launched a new graded loyalty programme -- SpiceClub -- which offers a plethora of benefits to customers.
SpiceClub, which is segregated into four tiers (Classic, Silver, Gold and Platinum), can be availed by customers at no extra cost. They can get the reward points on every Rs 100 spent on booking flight tickets, upgrades, meals and other add-ons.

As a member of the SpiceClub programme, customers can earn reward points starting from eight which can go up to earning free flights, free upgrades, free meals and free change and cancellations.

A member can earn additional up to 200 points for booking tickets directly on SpiceJet’s website and mobile app. Members also have the option of redeeming point balance of as low as 100 points.
18/09/18 Times of India

84 stranded people, including tourists, airlifted in Sikkim

Gangtok: Over 80 people, including tourists, who were stranded in North Sikkim due to incessant rains and landslides, were airlifted by the armed forces Monday, district administration officials said.
A total of 84 people, including tourists and locals, were airlifted by helicopters. Forty two people were flown from Chungtang to Gangtok, 22 from Chungthang to Bagdogra, 11 from Mangan to Gangtok, two from Chaten to Gangtok and seven people from Mangan to Chungthang, they said.
Five helicopters did the sorties from 6.30 am to airlift the stranded people and the whole operation was carried out by the 112 Mountain Brigade of the Indian Army posted in North Sikkim and the Indian Air Force.
On Sunday, over 100 tourists, including a pregnant woman, stranded in North Sikkim due to incessant rains and landslides, were evacuated by the armed forces.
17/09/18 PTI/News Nation

Indigo to start daily flight service from Amritsar to Dubai

Amritsar: The Indian carrier Indigo will start its first international daily flight from
Sri Guru Ram Das Jee (SGRDJ) International airport, Amritsar to Dubai form October, 28.
Fly Amritsar Initiative Convener and Secretary Overseas, Amritsar Vikas Manch Sameep Singh
Gumtala said here on Tuesday that this will be the third direct flight by the Indian carriers from
Amritsar Airport for Dubai.
SpiceJet and Air India Express are successfully running their flights from here for the past few
years.18/09/18 UNI

Air Tanzania to soon resume direct flights to India

Air Tanzania will soon resume services to India with direct flights to Mumbai from Tanzanian city Dar Es Salaam, an official said Monday. Air India and Air Tanzania had direct flights between the two countries but the operations were stopped in mid-1990s due to commercial reasons. “Air Tanzania has recently received permission to operate into India from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA),” Zanzibar Tourism Promotion Centre (Mumbai) Jilesh Babla told PTI here. The DGCA is India’s aviation regulator.

He aid the African carrier would operate four direct flights per week to Mumbai from Dar Es Salaam with a Boeing 787 aircraft. Talking to PTI on the sidelines of the first convention of the Global Tourism Council that began here Sunday, Babla said that due to commercial reasons, direct flights were stopped by Air India and Air Tanzania.

Zanzibar Tourism Promotion Centre also promotes Tanzanian tourism. New Delhi-based Bird Group has been appointed as the general sales agent for the airline. Stating that both Tanzania and Zanzibar Island offer huge potential to Indian tourists, Babla said an equally big potential lies for the Tanzanian tourists into India.
17/09/18 PTI/Financial Express

How Air India pilots & ATC saved day on this 9/11

New Delhi: We’re really, you know, stuck and there’s no fuel.” Air India’s senior commander Rustom Palia told New York JFK Airport’s air traffic control (ATC) with a steely voice on final approach to land there on September 11. Palia and Captain Sushant Singh, second-in-command, were flying a Boeing 777 as AI 101 Delhi-JFK nonstop when the aircraft — with 370 passengers — on final approach suffered a string of multiple instrument failures.

The instrument landing system (ILS) failed at the last minute due to which Captains Palia and Singh had to abort touching down at JFK and then they spent close to one half an hour in air trying to figure out — in coordination with JFK ATC — an airport in NYC or a nearby city with good visibility.

Running low on fuel, they quickly needed a decent chance of sighting a runway early enough to make a visual approach due to the failed ILS. The transcript of conversation between the cockpit of AI 101 and JFK ATC shows how the two captains showed nerves of steel and how a JFK controller ensured the plane lands safely in severe adversity. AI 101 was behind an Embraer in landing sequence for JFK when the “master caution sound” went off in the cockpit. The plane then did a go-around and was expecting to return to land at JFK in second attempt. Then the system failure started extending to other instruments as well.
18/09/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Seaplane Row: Puri Cops Seize Baijayant Panda’s Chopper

In a dramatic development tonight, the Puri Police have seized the hangar and IMFA helicopter being flown by former MP Baijayant Panda accusing him of flying over the Chilika Lake on September 15 by flouting the guidelines.

Earlier, the media reports said a Seaplane landed on Chilika Lake on September 15, 2018. Later, the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) filed a hand written FIR saying a white coloured chopper flew over the “eco sensitive zone” in Chilika Lake at 1:30 PM.

Later, Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi told the media that the IMFA Hangar and the helicopter flown by Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda was seized by the cops on the basis of a report filed by DGCA. He also said two more people were with him inside the chopper and an investigation has been launched against Mr. Panda and a case has been filed.
However, some netizens have raised questions saying when the Airport Director confirmed that the chopper landed in Bhubaneswar at 1:26 PM, how it’s possible for it to fly over Chilika Lake at 1:30 PM as mentioned in the FIR copy.
18/09/18 Odisha News Insight

CBI put it in writing: ‘Inform us discreetly… detention of (Vijay Mallya) not required’

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last week explained, according to a news agency, that the downgrade of the Look Out Circular (LOC) for Vijay Mallya — from his detention to merely being informed about his entry/exit — was an “error of judgment.”
But confidential correspondence accessed by The Indian Express shows that the agency, in writing, argued to the Mumbai Police that its first LOC was, in fact, an error.
It put on record that Mallya’s detention was “not required.”
In its first LOC dated October 16, 2015, the CBI filled out the LOC form checking the box “prevent subject from leaving India.”
The second LOC was dated November 24, 2015, the very night Mallya landed in Delhi. It had a covering letter sent to the Special Branch of the Mumbai Police. The box in this second LOC form that was ticked was: “inform originator of arrival/departure of subject.”
Four months later, Mallya left the country on March 2, 2016, and proceedings to extradite him from the UK are now on. On February 28, Mallya’s lenders SBI got legal advice to move the apex court to stop his exit but they did not act on it.
18/09/18 Ritu Sarin/Indian Express

GMR Infra looks to monetise land near Hyderabad airport

Bengaluru: GMR Infrastructure is looking to monetise land parcels around the Hyderabad international airport, which it owns and operates.

“The company has formed a strategy to develop logistics parks, a commercial centre and a retail hub on the airport city land,” said Aman Kapoor, chief executive of airport land development at GMR Airports.

GMR has 1,400 acres of land around the airport. While the business park is being developed on 800,000 sq ft, the warehouse development will be spread over 3.5 million sq ft and retail will cover 550,000 sq ft.

“The business park is already under development. The next in line is the warehouse hub that will take us two-and-a-half years to develop,” he said. Industry sources said GMR is in talks with several logistics players to form joint ventures for developing the warehouse hub. They include e-Shang Redwood, a developer backed by equity firm Warburg Pincus. Kapoor refused to comment on this topic.
18/09/19 Sobia Khan/Economic Times

Strategic move: AAI to develop Palaly airport in Sri Lanka

New Delhi: State-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) will now develop airports abroad, like its private counterparts GMR and GVK. AAI will develop an airport in Sri Lanka’s Palaly Airport in Sri Lanka, a strategic area for India.

“AAI has signed an agreement with (Indian) ministry of external affairs for preparation of detailed project report for development of Palaly Airport in Sri Lanka. Considering AAI’s expertise and capabilities in airport development and operation management, the authority wants to go global. AAI has developed more than 60 airports in metros and non metros in India and now wants to leverage its expertise to other countries on a bigger scale,” an AAI official said.

“Palaly is in Jaffna in the north — Tamil territory. India had earlier promised to develop Palaly airport which has been a demand by the northern province for some time. The airport will be Sri Lanka's first in the north, give the northern people direct connectivity with places like south India, Malaysia and Thailand. India has also offered to develop the Kankesanthurai airport also in the north, as well as the Mattala international airport in south Sri Lanka, abutting the Chinese developed Hambantota port,” said a person in the know.
17/09/18 Indrani Bagchi and Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Indigo to pay Rs 60,000 to family left at airport

New Delhi: The country’s apex consumer commission, NCDRC, has asked Indigo Airlines to pay Rs 20,000 in addition to the compensation of Rs 41,000 to a family that had complained its flight from Kolkata to Agartala had left without informing them while they were waiting to board at the airport.
Dismissing a review petition by the airline, a bench of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, comprising president Justice R K Agrawal and and member M Shreesha also held the airline accountable for its failure to contact the passengers. It cited the terms and conditions mentioned in the website, which says, “IndiGo’s preferred method of contact is via mobile phone and it is mandatory to provide your mobile number at the time of flight booking.”
The bench observed, “It is clear a contact number has to be given to the airlines at the time of flight booking. Therefore, it is not understood as to why there is complete silence on behalf of the revision petitioner regarding the availability of the contact number of anyone of the family members and the reasons as to why there was no call made.”
18/09/18 Dipak K Dash/Times of India

No bidder for recarpeting of Darbhanga airport runway

Patna: Even as neighbouring Jharkhand got Bokaro airport functional on Saturday under the Udan scheme of Union civil aviation ministry, Bihar will have to wait a little longer for getting airstrip operational under the same scheme.

Sources in the civil aviation ministry said the project hit a roadblock owing to non-availability of bidders for re-carpeting of the runway at Darbhanga. Consequently, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials said flights operation from Darbhanga, which was to commence from January next year, will be delayed.

Earlier in January this year, SpiceJet was given a letter of award to operate flights from Darbhanga to Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports with fares capped at Rs2,500 for one-hour flights.
18/09/18 Clayton Caller

IndiGo asked to pay Rs 20,000 to passengers left behind at Kolkata airport in 2017

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked IndiGo to pay Rs 20,000 in compensation to a family of four who were left behind by the airline at the Kolkata airport last year, PTI reported on Monday. The commission said the airline should have provided meals and overnight accommodation to the passengers.

Kalpana Rani Debbarma and her family were travelling from Kolkata to Agartala on an Indigo flight in 2017. Debbarma claimed that the flight left the airport without informing them even though they were issued boarding passes and were present in the airport.

The passenger also claimed that airport staff snatched her tickets when she sought to file a complaint. She said her family had to stay in a hotel overnight and purchase new tickets the next day.

“The basic duty of care for a passenger who has been left behind despite issuance of the boarding passes, when admittedly boarding passes were issued well ahead of the boarding time and the baggage was also boarded on to the airlines, is to provide meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation in cases where stay of one more night is necessary and the operating carrier should also pay particular attention to the needs of the accompanying family,” the commission said.
17/09/18 Scroll

Book domestic flight tickets for as low as Rs 799

Indian low-cost airline GoAir has announced a latest sale under which flight tickets can be booked for as low as Rs 799. The 2-day sale started yesterday, and ends today. The travel period under the offer must be between 1st and 20th October. “Long weekends just got better with great deals! Fly Smart with GoAir at fares starting at ₹799. Also, become a GoStar member and avail Rs 225 off as convenience fee on your next flight. RuPay members can also enjoy 10% off on the next booking on GoAir. In or app,” GoAir said on its website.

According to the airline’s website, in order to avail the special fares offered under the sale, bookings are required to be made in advance. GoAir website showed that flights running out from Bagdogra had the cheapest airfare of Rs 799. This was followed by Ahmedabad and Jammu at Rs 999 each.
18/09/18 Financial Express

People should know what happened to Netaji after crash: West Bengal chief minister

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Tuesday people have the right to know the truth on what happened to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose after the Taihoku air crash in 1945.
Remembering that on this day in 2015 her government had declassified files related to Netaji, she said the common people deserve to know what happened to their beloved leader, after the crash.
"On this day in 2015 our government declassified the #NetajiFiles. What happened to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose after the air crash at Taihoku? People deserve to know the truth," Banerjee said in a tweet.
On September 18, 2015, the West Bengal government had declassified 64 files related to Netaji.
18/09/18 PTI/Times of India

Big aircraft to land in Kozhikode soon

Kozhikode: The Calicut International Airport is gearing up to resume operation of wide-bodied aircraft, with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) giving approval to Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) to operate Boeing 777-200 Extended Range and Airbus 330-300 under Code E.

“At any time, airline companies can begin operation of flights after getting the schedule. Saudia has already got approval from the DGCA after meeting the safety assessment and mitigation measures for the operation of wide-bodied aircraft,” airport director K. Srinivasa Rao told The Hindu on Monday.

Director of Operations (aero standards) D.C. Sharma had issued a No-Objection Certificate on August 8 to Saudia for the operation of two types of wide-bodied aircraft subject to compliance with the specified mitigation measures. The airline company is readying to operate flights possibly from next month, it is learnt.
17/09/18 The Hindu

IATA launches EasyPay scheme, aims to ease cash flows for airlines

Mumbai: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has rolled out a new payment model for travel agents which aims to ease cash flows for airlines.

Currently, travel agents in India receive seven-day credit to pay airlines for ticket bookings under the IATA's billing and settlement plan. Agents are required to furnish a bank guarantee to avail credit.

Under the EasyPay scheme announced today, agents will be able to make payments using a debit card. IATA has tied up with Yes Bank to implement the scheme.

The EasyPay is a component of the new generation settlement system (NewGen ISS) launched by IATA which represents over 250 airlines around the world.
17/09/18 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

Salem-Chennai evening flight service likely from next month

Salem: Residents of Salem and surrounding districts will get an evening flight service to Chennai from here soon. It is expected to come into operation next month

Trujet, the Hyderabad-based Turbo Megha Airways, already operates a morning service in the Salem–Chennai sector since from March 25. The Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami inaugurated the service introduced under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik).

Turbo Megha Airways Private Limited, the holding company of Trujet, is a promoter of RCS routes and encouraging connectivity of unserved sectors.

Though the Salem–Chennai morning service has been enjoying good patronage ever since its inception, people have been demanding an evening service to take flights to the North Indian cities and foreign countries.
18/09/18 Syed Muthahar Saqaf/The Hindu

Barodian drone expert soars high in America

Vadodara: A young aeronautical engineer from Vadodara is making her presence felt in the US, and that too in otherwise male-dominated field of unmanned aircraft system (UAS), popularly called the drones.

Sonal Baid, 28, who had finished her Bachelors in Engineering from SVIT, Vasad, has become the first Indian to feature in the 2018 list of ‘Women to Watch in UAS’ awards. Sonal, who handles product development for a US-based startup Kittyhawk, bagged the award on September 6 for her focus on safety, compliance and maintenance along with a vision for how unmanned aerial vehicle operations need to be managed at scale.

“The unmanned vehicles industry has an immense potential and I see myself being a part of the revolution this technology is bringing to the world. By being part of the teams developing innovative products, I can help to shape this new and upcoming industry,” said Sonal, who completed her master of technology management program from University of California’s Santa Barbara campus.

Although she had initially joined as an intern with Kittyhawk after finishing her graduation in June 2017, Sonal soon took up the leading role in product development and strategic operations.
17/09/18 Prashant Rupera/Times of India

Delhi's IGI Airport most punctual among top 20 global airports: OAG report

New Delhi: Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport emerged as the most punctual airport in the world among the top 20 airports in the world in August 2018.

The Delhi airport has beaten much bigger rivals like Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Illinois (USA), Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia (USA) and Haneda International Airport, Tokyo to clinch the first position in on-time performance in August 2018.

Accessed exclusively by Zeenews.com, the report has been published by OAG Punctuality League – a UK-based air travel intelligence firm. “On-Time is percentage of flights that depart or arrive within 15 minutes of schedule,” explained OAG Punctuality League.
A total of 19,748 planes took off from IGI Airport this August, with a departure rate of 82.9 per cent and a cancellation percentage of just 0.3.
18/09/18 Zee News

Delhi airport gets Airport Service Quality award

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in the national capital has won an award for "becoming the world's number one airport in the highest category of handling over 40 million passengers per annum".
The airport has bagged the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Award 2017, aerodrome operator DIAL said in a release Monday.
The award was given by the Airports Council International (ACI).
"For IGI Airport, 2017 has been a remarkable year with 63.5 million passengers and surpassing Changi, Incheon and Bangkok airports in terms of passenger growth.
18/09/18 PTI/ZeeBiz

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visits new airport to review arrangements ahead of inauguration by PM Modi

Jharsuguda: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan along with Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram on Monday visited the newly constructed Jharsuguda airport and reviewed the preparedness ahead of its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22.

They also visited Amlipali Ground here where the Prime Minister will address a public meeting. Pradhan discussed the security arrangements with the district administration and airport authorities.Expressing his satisfaction over the construction work, Pradhan said all arrangements have been made for inauguration of the airport by the Prime Minister on September 22.

It’s a memorable gift from the Prime Minister to people of Odisha and it will expedite the development process of the western region of the State, he added.While hailing the Prime Minister for his vision to develop the eastern part of India, including Odisha, he termed the upcoming inauguration of Jharsuguda airport as part of ‘Mission Purvodaya’.
18/09/18 New Indian Express

Airlines cut UAE fares to as low as Dh185

Dubai: Airlines have again slashed their fares and this time, travellers from UAE can score tickets to select destinations for as low as Dh185 or just a little over Dh2,000.
Carriers catering to the UAE market, such as Air Arabia, Emirates and flydubai, have just announced discounted fares that are up for grabs for a very limited time. The  budget fares apply to trips to Georgia, Armenia and India, and to other select cities in Europe , the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
The latest price cuts are in a bid to stimulate air travel demand during the lean season. According to an industry source, airlines tend to lower their fares in September and early October, when fewer UAE residents fly out.
At Air Arabia, passengers from UAE can book tickets from Sharjah to Delhi, Jaipur, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mumbai and Thiruvananthrapuram in India for Dh169.  Flights to Bahrain, Karachi, Kuwait, Muscat and Salalah are available for Dh199.
18/09/18 Cleofe Maceda/Gulf News

Govt keeps private body off paragliding c’ship

Palampur: The government will not involve any private agencies in the organisation of the International Paragliding World Cup Championship. The government has not allowed the Billing Paragliding Association (BPA) to hold the event. Sudhir Sharma, former Congress minister, was the patron of the association.
Earlier, the BPA, a private body, was authorised to conduct the paragliding events and funds were also transferred to the account of the body. Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that the government had directed the Special Area Development Authority (SADA), Bir, a government agency, to conduct the championship in collaboration with the Tourism Department in the last week of October. Representatives of SADA will hold a meeting with Ram Subhag Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism and Civil Aviation, on September 21 in Shimla for the arrangements of the event.
SDM, Baijnath, Vikas Shukla, who is also the chairman of SADA, said as per directions of the state government, it had started preparations for the championship. He said 200 local paragliding pilots would assist SADA in the holding of the event. SADA had applied for the completion of formalities like permission from the Aero Club of India and the PWCA, global agency in Paris, which is the key organisation for the holding of global adventurous events.
17/09/18 Ravinder Sood/Tribune

AION leads race to acquire InterGlobe Tech for Rs 1,800cr

Bengaluru: AION Capital, a joint venture between global buyout investor Apollo and ICICI Venture, has emerged as the front-runner to acquire InterGlobe Technologies, the IT and back-office arm of travel conglomerate InterGlobe Enterprises, people directly aware of the matter said.

AION has entered exclusive discussions with InterGlobe, which could lead to a buyout of the latter for around $225-250 million, or Rs 1,800 crore. Diversified conglomerate InterGlobe — also the parent of India’s largest airline IndiGo — has a presence in aviation, hospitality, technology and real estate.

InterGlobe Technologies has expertise across more than 30 travel processes, queue management, baggage claim & in-flight points-of-sale (PoS) and over 100 travel technologies. The company clocked a Rs 712-crore revenue in the 2016-17 financial year compared to Rs 720 crore in the previous year.

TOI first reported about InterGlobe appointing investment banks to sell the travel-focused IT services business in March this year. The sale process had also attracted the interest of Tech Mahindra and French BPO company WebHelp, among others.
18/09/18 Shilpa Phadnis and Boby Kurian/Times of India

SC adjourns hearing on Rafale deal PIL to October 10

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday adjourned hearing on a plea seeking a stay on the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph adjourned the matter till October 10 after petitioner advocate M L Sharma told the bench that he wanted to file some additional documents in the case and sought adjournment in the matter.
"You yourself circulated a letter seeking adjournment on the ground of ill health. Now you are saying that you want to file additional documents. We are simply adjourning the matter to October 10," the bench said.
In his petition, Sharma has alleged discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and sought a stay on it.
Sharma has said in his plea that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an "outcome of corruption" and not ratified by Parliament under Article 253 (Parliament has power to make any law for implementing any inter-government agreement) of the Constitution.
18/09/18 PTI/Economic Times

Mumbai airport gears for repairs, expect flight delays in 2019

If you’re flying to/from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport between February 16 and April 3 next year, brace to face delays. According to a Hindustan Times report, re-carpeting and overlay work of the runway intersection could lead to disruptions in the flight schedule during this period.

The report, quoting an Airports Authority of India official, stated that the runways will be shut for six hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11am to 5pm. All flights scheduled during this period will be cancelled until the intersection work is completed. The runway repair work of this scale is done every seven years and was last taken up in 2011-2012.
18/09/18 Conde Nast Traveller

Separate entry, exit at Chennai airport may be introduced next month

Chennai:Flyers are likely to face fewer hassles on the ground soon, with the Chennai airport to get separate entry and exit points for its international and domestic terminals. The plan, behind schedule by five months, could be implemented within 20 days after Airports Authority of India appoints a new parking contractor.
The plan was scheduled to be implemented in April and a trial was conducted and kiosks and boom barriers were installed at the new entry routes but the plan got stuck after the car parking contract ran into trouble. AAI issued termination notice to the contractor who also manages the entry/exit points because he submitted a fake bank guarantee. In an attempt to annul the termination, he has submitted a fresh bank guarantee following a direction from Madras High Court.

As per new traffic pattern, the vehicles that come to domestic and international departures will enter the airport using two entries from GST Road and will be routed to the terminals via two new ramps. Cars dropping off passengers at these two terminals will have separate exits.
18/09/18 Times of India

Unclaimed gold worth about Rs 2.80 crore recovered from aircraft

Chennai: Unclaimed gold weighing eight kg and valued at around Rs 2.80 crore was recovered from a New Delhi bound flight here Tuesday, airport officials said. The gold bullion worth about Rs 2.80 crore, was found wrapped in a plastic bag and recovered from under a seat inside the aeroplane by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), airport officials said.
The flight, operated by a national carrier, had earlier arrived from Singapore.
18/09/18 PTI/Indian Express

Afghan man caught at Delhi airport with saffron worth over Rs 36 lakh

New Delhi: An Afghanistan national has been arrested by customs officials for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country saffron worth about Rs 36 lakh at Delhi airport, according to an official statement issued Monday.
The man, in his mid 30s, was intercepted by the officials after his arrival from Kabul on Saturday.
His baggage and personal search resulted in recovery of 40 packets of saffron, in total weighing 45.8 kg, the customs department said.
17/09/18 Outlook

Monday, September 17, 2018

Air India plans to sell four subsidiaries; headquarter building in Delhi, other land assets

New Delhi: The government plans to soon initiate the strategic sale process for at least four subsidiaries of loss-making Air India, including Airline Allied Services Ltd (AASL) and Hotel Corporation of India (HCI), according to officials.

Besides, plans are on the anvil for selling the headquarter building of Air India in the national capital as well as various other land assets and buildings of the airline in different parts of the country.

The government has prepared a list of the airline's assets that could be hived off as part of the strategic sale plan for Air India and its subsidiaries, officials said.
According to them, the disinvestment process is likely to be initiated soon for four Air India subsidiaries —AASL, HCI, Air India Air Transport Service Ltd (AIATSL) and Air India Engineering Service Ltd (AIESL).

While AASL, under the name Alliance Air, provides regional air connectivity, HCI owns and operates two hotels in Delhi and Srinagar, among others.

AIATSL provides ground handling and cargo handling services. AIESL is mainly into maintenance, repair and overhaul of engines.
17/09/18 PTI/First Post

More turbulence ahead for country's airlines

India's domestic air passenger traffic growth has come on the back of fiercely competitive pricing among Indian airlines to ensure tickets remain affordable. This has whittled revenue, a double whammy for the airlines at a time of rising operating costs because of increasing fuel costs and a depreciating rupee that has hit an all-time low of more than 72 rupees against the US dollar.

Aircraft fuel expenses have jumped more than 44 per cent from last year, in a country where aviation fuel is among the costliest in Asia because of high taxes.

A report on the Indian aviation industry released last month by the International Air Transport Association said Indian airlines have yet to match the financial improvements recorded by the global airline industry in the past three years. "This remains a work in progress for the industry and its key stakeholders, including policymakers," it added.

There are concerns that there could be more turbulence ahead. Indian airlines are expected to post combined losses of up to US$1.9 billion (S$2.6 billion) in 2018-19, said aviation consulting firm Capa India.
17/09/18 Debarshi Dasgupta/Straits Times


Expat pilot winning desi hearts in flight with announcements in Hindi

New Delhi: “Is udaan mein aapka swagat hai”. Each time GoAir’s Captain Behzad Rajabi greets passengers with this line, they are pleasantly surprised. What follows the heavily accented welcoming line makes things clear. “Main is udaan ka Captain Rajabi bol raha hoon.” By now passengers know the Airbus A-320 they are flying in is being piloted by an expat pilot.
While the German-origin American national is one of the 290 expat pilots working with Indian carriers, he is a rarity in terms of learning the local language and addressing passengers in it. “As an expat if you come here with a closed mind and try to change Indians to where you are from, then good luck to you. The English came and see what happened. But if you change yourself; see, accept and respect them (Indians) the way they are, you are accepted as one of them and treated as their guest,” Rajabi, in his late 40s, said.
17/09/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Ravi Venkatesan's secret tip to beating jet lag

Business leader Ravi Venkatesan spends not just hours, but days on planes. The former Microsoft India chairman, who hops across time zones, has now become a pro at beating jet lag.

In a recent LinkedIn interview the frequent flier revealed some easy hacks to get one's body to work as per different clocks. And while he does follow the basics - staying hydrated, adjusting the clock to the destination - there's also a secret technique that has kept him flying, literally!
"I learned one tip many years ago which is great," the tycoon, says, of beating jet lag.

He goes on to reveal, "It turns out that the cells that reset your body clock are disproportionately concentrated around your knees, so one of the things I do when I land at a place is, weather permitting, wear shorts and go out."

He's quick to add that while this would mean going for a long run now in the the old days, now it has changed to a long walk. But the 'magic' still works he claims.
17/09/18 Economic Times

Tariff determination for airports: Skepticism greets government’s proposal

New Delhi: Since 2006 when the aviation sector was liberalised, tariff fixation has been fraught with delays and disputes, with airport operators and airlines even slugging it out in legal battles to ensure fair tariffs from the regulator. To pre-empt such disputes and push private investment, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) has proposed under the NABH (NextGen Airports for BHarat) Nirman initiative, a new transaction system for greenfield airports built under the public private partnership (PPP) model.
This offers predictability of tariffs to concessionaires and other stakeholders, with a pre-determined structure setting rates for services like parking and landing airlines and passenger service fee. Thus, airport tariffs would be set before the rollout of the bid document for construction of airports, a significant shift from the present practice of choosing the bidder which offers the highest revenue share to the government. At present, five PPP airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi – operate under the revenue-sharing system, with tariffs being set by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) for five years.
In the existing system, AERA considers both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues to arrive at charges for airport use. The new model offers developers freedom to earn returns from non-aeronautical sources. The government thinks a longer concession period of 40 years and liberalised norms for real-estate development could help attract foreign investment.
17/09/18 Arun Nayal/Financial Express

TaxiBots to undergo trial at IGI for three months

New Delhi: The IGI airport now has special taxiing machines called ‘TaxiBot’ to help reduce congestion, emission and fuel consumption for airlines.
Currently, two machines have been installed at the airport with the calibration work likely to be completed by next week. The trial runs would be conducted for three months, following which more machines would be introduced, an official said.

TaxiBot is a semi-robotic equipment that can be attached to the nose of an aircraft, allowing it to taxi without using the engine.

The technology has been developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and has recently conducted its certification trials at the Frankfurt Airport in association with Lufthansa Airlines. The machines are being introduced at the Delhi airport in association with KSU Aviation Pvt Ltd. The trial phase will have three airlines — IndiGo, SpiceJet and Jet Airways, the official said.
17/09/18 Jasjeev Gandhiok/Times of India

India to fine pilots for something they can’t do: Dump excreta from air

New Delhi: Giving in to pressure from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Directorate General of Civil Aviation late last month ordered airlines that they would have to pay a fine of Rs 50,000 if they dump human waste mid-flight.

This was a follow-up of a 2016 NGT order to penalise airlines releasing such waste in the air.

But here’s the catch: Airlines, aircraft manufacturers, aviation experts and the DGCA itself all agree that it is practically not possible to drop human waste from aircraft — whether while flying, landing or taking off.

In January this year, an incident like this had come to light when a heavy ball of ice, suspected to be frozen waste from an aircraft, landed in the village of Fazilpur Badli in Haryana.

DGCA chief B.S. Bhullar refused to comment on the issue since the matter is sub-judice, but all other experts said it could only have been an accidental leak — it just isn’t possible to release waste manually.

But hearings at the NGT are set to go on — the next one is set for Monday, 17 September.
17/09/18 Ifrah Mufti/The Print

Indian Air Force plans to make Andhra Pradesh 'Strategic Base'

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has come up with major plans for Andhra Pradesh to make it a 'strategic base'.
Prime among them are IAF's plans to set up a major helicopter training facility at Donakonda in Prakasam district.
The other plans put forth before the AP government are establishing a drone manufacturing facility in Anantapur district, a cyber security centre in Amaravati and making Rajahmundry and Vijayawada airports asset positioning bases, top bureaucratic sources said.
"On our part, we have constituted a task team to coordinate with the IAF on these projects. A preliminary ground survey has also been done to identify suitable locations and we have asked the IAF to submit detailed project reports," a top bureaucrat involved in the process told PTI.
The IAF, as part of its strategy to strengthen vigil along the east coast, has proposed the use of existing civilian airports at Rajahmundry and Vijayawada for positioning its assets -- fighter and other aircraft.
IAF currently has a base at Arakkonam near Chennai, while the Navy has INS Dega in Visakhapatnam.
16/09/18 PTI/DNA

GoAir. AirAsia, Jet Aiways offering exciting discount on flight tickets

New Delhi: Airlines are offering exciting offers to customers amid rising airfares. GoAir is offering tickets starting at just Rs 799 for the travel period of October 1 to October 20, 2018. Jet Airways is also offering 15 per cent discount on all flights within India. Budget airline AirAsia is offering lowest ever fares on all its routes to 21 destinations starting from Rs 500 in its latest promotional sale.GoAir is offering flight tickets starting at just Rs 799 under its promotional weekend sale. The discount will be available on tickets booked on September 17 and 18. Customer will enjoy the discount on travel commencing on or after October 1 to October 20, 2018. GoStar members will also enjoy Rs 225 off as convenience fee. Customer booking their tickets using RuPay card on GoAir website or app will get 10 per cent discount.
Jet Airways is offering 15 per cent off on all flights within India. Customers can book their tickets on Jet Airways website or app using promocode '9WVISAECO' for economy and '9WVISAPRE' for premiere seats to avail the discount. The offer is valid on payments made through Visa debit and credit cards. The discount is available on tickets booked between September 12 and September 18, 2018. For travel in premiere class, tickets must be booked 4 days prior departure and for travel in economy, tickets must be booked 7 days prior departure.
Low-cost carrier AirAsia is offering lowest ever fares in all its routes to 21 destinations starting at just Rs 500. The discount will be valid on tickets booked from September 17 to September 23, 2018, for travel between September 17 to November 30, 2018. Customers can book one-way travel tickets at a low of Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500. AirAsia India has a fleet of 19 A-320 aircraft and it operates to destinations like Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata and more.
17/09/18 ERNowNews

AI Hyderabad flight lands in Pune sans luggage, passengers vent ire

Passengers of the Air India’s Hyderabad to Pune flight were stranded at the city airport for hours on Saturday over delay in receiving their baggage. The Pune-bound flight — 9I867F — failed to deliver their luggage on time with the airline citing operational glitches.
The plane left from Hyderabad at 6.40 pm and reached Pune airport at 8 pm. Following this, 32 irate passengers waited for an entire hour to pick up their bags. Panic ensued as they were not informed about this delay before taking off.
Fliers then reported the irregularity to the Air India officials, who could not provide a concrete reason for the error. The officials also weren’t able to track their baggage for many more hours.
Talking to Mirror about the incident, Sourabh Deo, one of the passengers on the plane, said, “I got anxious when I did not get my bags on time. Also, the airline staff weren’t communicating with us properly. They failed to provide details for the delay.”
17/09/18 Supriya Dedgaonkar/Pune Mirror

AMP Capital eyes stake in GVK’s airport biz; Lone Star may invest in GMR airport holding co

AMP Capital is in advanced talks with the GVK Group to pick up a strategic stake in Mumbai airport’s holding company at a valuation of about Rs 3,000-3,500 crore, according to a report by The Economic Times.
Mumbai International Airport Pvt (MIAL), which operates the airport in India’s financial hub, is owned by GVK Group’s GVK Power & Infrastructure through GVK Airports Holdings Pvt.
Similarly, Lone Star, a Texas-based company, is negotiating to invest in GMR Group’s Delhi airport holding entity at a valuation of about Rs 4,500 crore, the report said.
Both GVK Group and GMR are debt heavy. GVK Power's total debt stood at Rs 12,855 crore in FY18 while GMR has a debt of around Rs 4,600 crore. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are managing the stake sale for GVK and GMR, respectively, the report stated.
17/09/18 Moneycontrol.com

Bengalureans start campaign for improved rail infra between airport and city

Bengaluru: With Namma Metro’s airport connectivity project making slow progress, Bengalureans have started a campaign for upgrading rail infrastructure between the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) near Devanahalli and the city. Their demand for a better transport link comes at a time when the airport operator is estimating passenger traffic to almost double in the next ten years.
“Around 75,000 people either arrive or depart from Bengaluru airport daily. This figure is set to grow in the future. The government or the airport operator has done nothing to improve connectivity to the airport in the past ten years,” said Rajkumar Dugar, a resident of Vasanthnagar, who has now started an online campaign “Bengaluru Needs Trains to Airport - And Fast” on Change.org.
The campaign demanding suburban train to the airport, Dugar said, is intended to create awareness among citizens because many do not know about the rail track that passes next to the airport. “It would take not less than five years for the metro to start operations on the airport line. Suburban rail infrastructure costs less and is quick to implement,” he added.
17/09/18 Naveen Menezes/Economic Times

Hyderabad's RGIA becomes first airport to initiate facial recognition in India

GMR-operated Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) has successfully tested facial recognition for staff entry at the passenger terminal building.
Once GHIAL obtains clearance from regulatory agencies to extend the facility for passengers, it will start live trials for passengers. It is expected to initiate this by end of 2018.
Following a simple one-time enrollment process, passengers can avail seamless and non-intrusive pass through across all the touch points for all future departures from the Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport.
For enrollment, a registration kiosk will be placed at the terminal entry for registering the passenger's Face ID along with specified government-issued photo Identification proof.
17/09/18 Ashish Pandey/India Today

CM’s aircraft arrives in Nov, pilot, engineer re-employed

Chandigarh: Anticipating the delivery of a 10-seater aircraft worth Rs 41 crore for use of Governor, Chief Minister and other dignitaries by November, Haryana has offered re-employment to a pilot and an aeronautical engineer whom it had shown the door nearly three years back.
The Tribune has learnt that the state government has entered into an out-of-the-court settlement with pilot Capt Dinesh Bansal and engineer Harpreet Singh Saini that they would not claim salary etc for the period they were out of the job as their petitions against removal are pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
A senior officer of the Haryana Civil Aviation Department confirmed the development and said while Bansal has joined duty, Saini was expected to join very soon.
“They have given government affidavit to us with regard to the terms of settlement,” he added.
The officer, however, did not divulge details of the terms of the settlement.
16/09/18 Sushil Manav/Tribune

Seaplane lands on Chilika lake; locals panick over loud noise

Bhubaneswar: Even after cancellation of the proposed water aerodrome project at Chilika, a seaplane landed on the lake water on Saturday leaving everyone in the locality confused and stunned.
The villagers around the lake were panicked after hearing a loud noise coming out from the seaplane flying in the sky and then landing on the water of the lake at its Nanganashi sea mouth in afternoon. Arakhkuda and Sanapatna villagers and fishermen were frightened after the plane landed. Sources said that neither the local administration nor police had been informed about the seaplane landing and te purpose behind it.
Tourism Minister Ashok Panda told reporters on Sunday that he learnt about the seaplane landing only from the media reports. He would talk to the Forests and Environment Department about it. Seaplane landing in the Chilika must be stopped to protect the lake’s biodiversity, he added.
“The seaplane landed at 1.30 pm and it was creating loud noise,” said Rabi Narayan Behera and Pradip Behera, residents of Arakhkuda.
However, the plane took off after 10 to 15 minutes of staying on water in a floating position, they added.
17/09/18 Pioneer

After floods, Kerala welcomes first chartered flight with International tourists

The money-spinning Kerala tourism industry celebrated quietly on Sunday after receiving the first chartered flight of tourists this season following the devastating floods.

The flight with 46 tourists from Australia landed at the Cochin International Airport on Saturday night.

The heavy rains and unprecedented floods that shattered the state, leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless and causing widespread destruction, led to numerous cancellations by tourists.

"Our efforts have already started paying off. Most of our tourist destinations are ready to welcome the visitors from India and abroad. The state government has accorded top priority to restoring roads leading to tourist places," said Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran.

Earlier, on September 4, the tourist hotspot of Kumarakom had welcomed a batch of foreigners who were seen taking a trip on the houseboat.
17/09/18 News Minute

1.9 kg gold paste seized from air passenger

Kakinada: Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have spotted gold paste weighing 1,900 grams, which could be converted into pure gold of 1,269.85 grams, from a commuter at the Rajamahendravaram airport on September 14. During the preliminary inquiry, the officials found that the passenger was entrusted the job of retrieving the gold paste during the domestic run of the flight and the gold paste was smuggled from Colombo and concealed in the aircraft by his associate on its international run from Colombo to Madurai.
 The value of the gold paste was estimated as ₹39.73 lakh and it was seized as per the provisions of the Customs Act 1962.
According to a press release issued by the DRI, the officials intercepted a passenger who arrived by SpiceJet flight from Hyderabad at the arrival hall and during the examination they found that the passenger was carrying gold paste concealed inside the innerwear.
17/09/18 The Hindu

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Domestic airfares rise 7.5% ahead of Diwali, ticket prices to Goa soar 30%

Mumbai: Domestic airfares have jumped by 7.5 per cent year-on-year for Diwali holidays, compared to last year, as airlines cash in on holiday demand.
The highest increase of over 30 per cent is seen on the Delhi-Goa and the Mumbai-Goa routes for travel during the Diwali week in November, according to data compiled by booking portal Cleartrip. Other routes with a significant fare increase are Pune-Delhi and Delhi-Mumbai showing 19 per cent and 18 per cent rise, respectively. The average growth in fares across domestic network is 7.5 per cent.
Analysts expect holiday fares to inch up further closer to the travel dates, but airlines may still not be able to fully recover higher costs as fuel costs remain elevated.
Bookings are steady and expected to pick up closer to Diwali. “The final demand is not predictable yet but despite the higher pricing, demand being at same level (to last year) two months in advance is a good sign,” said Balu Ramachandran, head of air and distribution at Cleartrip.
16/09/18 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

Spice Jet ordered to compensate passengers after fight delay

Ahmedabad: A consumer court ordered Spice Jet to pay for four tickets from Delhi to Srinagar to a family after they missed their Delhi to Srinagar flight due to a delayed flight from Ahmedabad in 2010.

Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission ordered the airline company to pay Rs 34,648 with 9% interest since 2010 to Praful Thakkar and his family, residents of Vastrapur. It also awarded Rs 5,000 as compensation for mental harassment.

According to case details, Thakkar and his friends planned a trip to Kashmir and booked tickets for 12 persons from Ahmedabad to Delhi. From Delhi, the group was to fly by two different flights. When they went to the airport on May 8, 2010, Spice Jet did not allow five of them to board saying that five tickets had been cancelled by Thakkar.

The group took another to Delhi, but four of them missed the flight to Srinagar. The family had to buy four new tickets for Rs 37,512.
16/09/18 Times of India

Tempers fly as Goa flight delayed by five hours

Ahmedabad: A ruckus broke out at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport on Saturday evening after the Ahmedabad-Goa GoAir flight G8913 failed to take off for more than five hours.
The flight was scheduled to depart at 6 pm on Saturday but pending technical clearance kept it grounded even hours after the scheduled departure time. The passengers were fatigued and angry. The flight reportedly flew with nearly 125 passengers only after 11 pm.
Gopaldas Chapla, a businessman, who was among the flight’s passengers told TOI: “We were told that the flight was delayed due to a technical snag and the flight would take off at 7 pm.” He said the flight remained stranded even after 10 pm. “Naturally, most passengers got restless as there was no official updates,” Chapla said.
16/09/18 Times of India

Vistara, Jet Airways, GoAir Offer Discount On Flight Tickets

Amid high competition, airlines are offering flight tickets at discounted rates on select routes.
Jet Airways is offering 15 per cent discount on domestic flights tickets in premiere and economy classes. The discount offer is applicable on bookings done via Visa debit and credit cards. This offer is valid for booking on airline's official website and mobile app. In order to avail the offer, passengers must book tickets till September 18, 2018. For travel in premiere classes, tickets must be purchased a minimum of 4 days prior departure and for travel in economy classes, tickets must be purchased a minimum of 7 days prior departure under this offer, said Jet Airways.

GoAir is offering flight tickets at a starting price of Rs. 974 under its promotional 'Weekend Sale. The booking period of the offer ends on September 16, 2018. The travel period of the scheme is applicable till March 31, 2019. Additionally, the airline is also offering smart savings of up to Rs. 2,000 on flight bookings.

Vistara has announced better connectivity between Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Port Blair and Kochi at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 2,322. The carrier is offering fourteen weekly flights from Chennai to Delhi and to Kolkata. The airline has also increased connectivity to Port Blair with seven direct weekly flights. The connectivity to Kochi has been increased with six weekly flights.
16/09/18 NDTV

6 Indian airports get international awards

New Delhi: Six airports of the Airports Authority of India have been conferred with seven international awards. The Airports Council International (ACI) presented the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards 2017 at Customer Excellence Global Summit at Halifax, Canada, on September 12.
"Airports Authority of India's (AAI) six airports have bagged seven awards in various categories," a release said. The winning airports include Lucknow, Indore, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune.
Based on the results of the survey carried out by the ACI, a global non-profit organisation of Airport Operators on ASQ, Lucknow Airport has been rated as the world's top airport in the 'Best Airport by Size' category, among the airports handling two to five million passengers per year. It has also bagged the award for "Best airport by size and Region" among the airports handling two to five million passengers per year in the whole Asia Pacific region.
15/09/18 ANI/Business Standard

‘Vistara is awaiting approval to fly abroad’

Vistara, a joint venture between the Tata group and Singapore Airlines, that started its operations in 2015, is soon going to launch its international operations. On the sidelines of the airlines’ preparation for the launch, Leslie Thng, CEO, Vistara, spoke exclusively to The Sunday Guardian about the aims and vision of the airlines in India. Excerpts:

Q: Vistara got its 21st fleet recently, making it eligible for international operations. How soon can we expect an announcement for the airlines to take up international operations and what are the preferred destinations that you are looking to start?

A: We recently added the 22nd aircraft to our fleet, and are awaiting necessary approvals to start international operations by the end of this year. We will start with destinations within the range of our existing Airbus A320neo aircraft. We will share more details at an appropriate time.

Q: Vistara has placed orders for 13 Airbus A320neo and six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to add to its existing fleet. How do you think it would boost the airlines and its operations?

A: A total of 50 new narrow-body aircraft from Airbus (including 37 aircraft on lease) are scheduled for delivery to us between 2019 and 2023, and the six wide-body 787-9 Boeing Dreamliner will be delivered between 2020 and 2021. We will use the Airbus A320neo family aircraft, which includes the A321neo, to densify our domestic network and fly to other international destinations within the range of 3-6 hours. The six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft are intended for use on medium-haul and long-haul international routes.
15/09/18 Dibyendu Mondal/Sunday Guardian Live

Airports now have sharper vision, thanks to desi Drishti

Bengaluru:  Descending from the puffy clouds as the runway slowly looms into sight, the first-time flyers in the aircraft cabin and pilots in the cockpit would be silently praying for a perfect weather and safe landing.For, poor weather has been the cause of many accidents in the aviation sector. The visibility haze is still a main issue. However, aircraft turning back due to bad weather is a thing of the past. Even in dense fog, pounding rain or raging sandstorm, when visibility in an airport dips to as low as 50 metres, pilots with the help of ‘Drishti’ and Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) are able to land the aircraft safely on the tarmac.

What will surely warm the hearts of many is that ‘Drishti’, a transmissometer for precise reporting of visual range at airports, is a desi product. Drishti system was developed in the workshop of city-based CSIR-NAL (National Aerospace Laboratories). “Drishti is installed in all categories of airports and Air Force bases across the country has crossed a century,’’ declares V Shubha, a distinguished scientist, CSIR (Airport Instrumentation) -NAL and also a cricket buff.
The sophisticated instruments helping pilots while flying out of or approaching airports with an accurate runway visual range, cost just one-third of the price of systems imported from other countries.
16/09/18 New Indian Express

Indore gets new flight to Hyderabad today

Indore: IndiGo has started its fourth flight on Indore-Hyderabad route from Saturday. It is a non-stop flight, for which A 320 aircraft is deployed.
City’s frequent flyers will have more choice to fly to Hyderabad from October 1 as AirAsia is going to roll out two flights on this sector. The airline is going to introduce a direct flight for Kolkata on same day.
Ever since Devi Ahilyabai Holkar airport became operational 24×7 from March 25, more airlines have introduced flights from the city. TK Jose, chairman, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) MP-CG region, said consent for more flights to Hyderabad has been obtained from Airport Authority of India and Bureau of Civil Aviation Safety.
 After AirAsia’s flight, there will be 14 flights on the sector, seven each from Indore and Hyderabad.  Air Asia would be the third operator on the sector after IndiGo and Jet Airways.
16/09/18 Free Press Journal

Flights from Jammu cut, airfares remain high

Jammu: Keeping the demand-supply principle in mind, two airlines have withdrawn four flights in the past six months from the Jammu airport to keep the airfares towards higher side.
On an average, the airport got 21 flights daily during this time last year. Now, it has 17 flights per day.
Though the airlines gave no reason for their decision, experts claimed that it was a strategy to keep the airfares on the higher side.
“If the passengers have limited flights from any place, they will have to shell out more for travel. Just to sell tickets at higher rates, airlines have withdrawn the flights,” said sources at the airport.
While Indigo Airlines has cancelled three flights, SpiceJet has withdrawn one flight from the Jammu airport. In March this year, Indigo withdrew the flights on the Bengaluru-Delhi-Amritsar-Jammu route. On August 16, it cancelled the regular flight from Hyderabad-Jaipur-Jammu and back. On September 1, it withdrew its flight between Jammu-Delhi, which was the first morning flight from Jammu to Delhi departing.
16/09/18 Amit Khajuria/Tribune

DoT awaits clarification from Shipping Ministry on in-flight connectivity norms

New Delhi: The Telecom Department is awaiting clarification from the Shipping Ministry over the area to be covered in the sea for mobile services under in-flight connectivity service before releasing the final rules. In-flight connectivity norms will also cover maritime transport.

“DoT is in final stage of issuing in-flight connectivity rules. The Shipping Ministry has to clarify whether the coverage for mobile services in water vessels is to be provided till territorial waters or EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” an official source told PTI.

Territorial water extends up to 12 nautical miles (around 22 kilometers) from coastal line of the country, while EEZ of the country covers up to 200 nautical miles.

“The framework will be issued as soon as the DoT receives clarification from the Shipping Ministry. It is expected to be completed very soon,” the source said.
16/09/18 PTI/Business Line

7 out of 10 seats sold on flights to smaller cities under UDAN scheme

New Delhi: For every 10 seats available under the government’s low-cost flying scheme, as many as seven were grabbed by passengers since its launch last year, according to data accessed under the RTI (Right to Information) Act.
Seat occupancy, also known as passenger load factor, is an indicator of demand on a particular route.
Extrapolation of data sought by The Hindu through a RTI application shows that as many 7.5 lakh seats were made available for sale by eight airline operators, of which 5.24 lakh seats were sold. These figures are for a period of 16 months between the first flight under the scheme in April last year and until August 1, 2018.
So far, two rounds of bidding have taken place for routes under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) or UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), which aims to take flying to the masses and enhance air connectivity to Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities. A total of 428 routes were awarded to 17 airline and helicopter operators. Of these, eight airlines have started flights on 96 routes, while helicopter services are yet to commence.
16/09/18 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu

Consumer panel asks airlines to pay ₹1.6 lakh

New Delhi: A district consumer disputes redressal forum here has directed Air India and Air Canada to jointly compensate two passengers by paying over ₹1.6 lakh after holding the airlines guilty for not communicating a change in the itinerary to the passengers.
Holding the airlines’ guilty of deficiency in service, the consumer forum held, “None of the opposite parties [airlines] has placed any document showing the intimation to the complainants regarding change in schedule before or after the alleged complainants’ request for advancing the date of travel was declined.”
Further, the consumer panel observed that it was admitted by the airlines that there had been an “error in the booking software allowing incorrect fare for the ticket”.
15/09/18 The Hindu

AirAsia India offers lowest fares from Monday

AirAsia India is offering lowest air fares on all its routes to 21 destinations across the country from Monday for over a year, the budget carrier on Sunday.
"Passengers can book tickets for one-way travel at a low of Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 on all our flights from Monday to September 23 to travel from September 17 to November 30, 2019," said the city-based airline in a statement here.
With a fleet of 19 A-320 aircraft, the airline operates service to Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Kochi, Nagpur, New Delhi, Panaji, Pune, Ranchi, Srinagar, Surat and Visakhapatnam.
"Through promotional fares, we want to encourage even first-time flyers to experience the joy of flying at an affordable cost," said AirAsia India marketing head Rajkumar Paranthaman.
16/09/18 IANS/Economic Times

SpiceJet MoU with Afghanistan for cargo imports and exports

Pune: SpiceJet has signed an MoU with Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) in connection with international cargo operations, the airline officials have announced.
The officials said that in a bid to promote trade via the Indo-Afghan air corridor, the airlines intended to transport 1500 tons of cargo every month. The MoU was signed by Manjiv Singh, Chief Project Officer, SpiceJet and Atiqullah Nusrat, Chief Executive Director, ACCI along with Ajmal Ahmady, Senior Advisor of the President of Afghanistan in banking and Financial Affairs.
"In collaboration with ACCI, SpiceJet will transport fresh fruits and dry fruits, carpets and other commodities from Kabul to different states of India at competitive prices, which will be subsidized by the Afghan government," an airline official said. The airline operates dedicated air cargo services under the brand name SpiceXpress. SpiceJet will transport the commodities from Kabul using its freighter aircraft to Indian metro cities and through its passenger flight network across 47 cities.
16/09/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

AI discontinues Bangkok flight

Mohali: Around nine months after starting its direct flight to Bangkok, the Air India has discontinued its operations from the Chandigarh international airport here.
MR Jindal, station manager of Air India here, told Chandigarh Tribune that the flight to Bangkok had been permanently discontinued. “I have received a communiqué in this regard from the higher authorities,” said Jindal.
A decision in this regard was said to be taken during a meeting held at Delhi recently.
Notably, the Chandigarh-Bangkok flight was suspended in mid-July and the aircraft (A320neo) was being used for Haj flights.
Earlier, the airline had planned to resume the flight operations (Chandigarh-Bangkok) on October 1.
16/09/18 Akash Ghai/Tribune

Bengaluru airport users to pay lesser UDF from Sunday

Bengaluru: Beginning Sunday, passengers will have to pay lesser User Development Fee (UDF) for air tickets booked to and from Kempegowda International Airport (KIA).
UDF is collected directly from passengers while booking and handed over to the airport operator. The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) slashed UDF for international and domestic passengers at KIA by 67% as per an August 31 order, which will come into effect from Sunday.
UDF for international passengers has been reduced from Rs 1,226 to Rs 400 and for domestic passengers from Rs 306 to to Rs 100. AERA has also reduced the landing, parking and housing charges imposed by Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) on airlines by up to 60%.
However, airlines are unlikely to shift the benefits to the passengers. Many airlines in the country are struggling due to a huge financial crunch.
15/09/18 Christin Mathew Philip/Times of India

Business to ride high on Kishangarh-Delhi flight

The Kishangarh-Delhi flight which will commence from October 8 will give fillip to the  marble traders as SpiceJet will start the flight connecting the capital  city with the marble mandi of the region. The route will aid buyers from all over the world who are interested in  buying marble stone and artifacts from Kishangarh.

The flight will take merely an hour to reach Delhi from Kishangarh as it will take off  from Kishangarh at 17:30 hours and will reach Delhi’s  terminal T2 at 18:30 hours.

Similarly,  from Delhi T2 terminal the flight will depart at 16:05 hours and will reach Kishangarh at 17:10 hours. The schedule has been planned in a manner so that the buyer can reach Kishngarh during evening and can go about his business  and fly back the very next day after completing work in the evening time.
16/09/18 DNA

Woman tries to jump off airport ramp

Chennai: A 37-year-old woman from Puducherry created a flutter at the airport on Saturday when she tried to jump from the parapet of the ramp leading to the international departure terminal.
The woman was to board a Chennai-Coimbatore flight at 1.30pm, an airport official said. She had a boarding pass in her handbag but she walked up to the international departure terminal along the ramp.
“The woman was drowsy and almost fainted,” the official said. “She could not explain why she did not board the flight. She was later moved to Chromepet Government Hospital. We suspect that some medication she took caused her to suddenly feel sleepy.”
16/09/18 Times of India

CISF nabs duo with 176 9 gms of gold at Kolkata Airport

New Delhi/Kolkata: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Sunday nabbed two people involved in smuggling of gold worth 5.
50 lakh at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport, an official statement said here. According to CISF, around 0631 hrs, a CCTV observer of CISF noticed suspicious movement of a
passenger near customs locked Gate (Glass Door) located between International arrival conveyer belt no 15 and 16 of Airport.
The passenger was seen nervous and trying to hide his action and thereafter stealthily placed some items from beneath the locked glass door which was picked up by a visitor who was standing outside the glass door.
16/09/18 UNI

Bangladeshi with Indian passport held

Alert immigration officials at the Kempegowda International Airport caught a 28-year-old Bangladeshi who went to Dubai in the UAE two years ago using an Indian passport to work as a technician.

The accused was caught by officials when he landed at the KIA from Dubai on Thursday and submitted documents for immigration clearance.

A detailed probe revealed that the original name of the accused was Mohammed Moshikul Islam and he is from Bangaldesh. He had crossed the border illegally in 2012 and entered West Bengal. After working as casual labourer for some time, he managed to get a fake birth certificate in Kolkata through a tout, using which he obtained an Indian passport in 2015 in the name of Mondal Mohammed Moshikul, according to officials.
15/09/18 The Hindu