Thursday, April 25, 2019

Jet Airways frequent flyer miles still valid, can be used for flights, hotels, fuel

Jet Airways may have shut operations, but its frequent flyer miles can still help you fly. All those holding JPMiles or Jet Privilege Miles need not worry as to what would happen to these now. As per a letter from Jet Privilege Pvt to all JP Miles holders, these frequent flyer miles are still valid and can be used for flights, hotel stays, fuel and merchandise options. The following information is also available on the Jet Airways website.
India's largest private airline, Jet Airways halted all flight operations indefinitely last Wednesday, April 17, 2019, evening after the State Bank of India (SBI) declined to extend more funds to keep the airline afloat. Jet Airways is currently in talks with the government and lenders to find a resolution for the current debt crisis.
However, while flight operations have shut down, Jet Airways will not exit from Jet Privilege Pvt which is a part of the Etihad Aviation Group. Jet Privilege runs a frequent flyer programme which provides JPMiles on booking Jet Airways flights to its frequent flyers.
As per the letter issued to its frequent flyers, who have Jet Privilege miles, Jet Privilege said, "As our airline partner, Jet Airways, navigates through these turbulent times, you may have concerns around the value and validity of your JPMiles."
In the letter, Jet Privilege Pvt reassures JP Miles holders that their JPMiles are secure and their value remains intact. "We know that you have earned and nurtured your JPMiles over the years and we consider it our foremost duty to safeguard the trust you and our partners have placed in us."
The letter states, "We have introduced our air reward offering, 'Select Flights', which allows you to redeem your JPMiles across more airlines, any destination in India and globally. You can even redeem your JPMiles for any seat available on the flight, starting with the same JPMiles requirement as before which was applicable on Jet Airways and its partner airlines. You can continue to use your JPMiles on hotel stays, fuel & 2500+ merchandise options at the JetPrivilege Reward Store. Today with over 150 programme partners, JetPrivilege offers you diverse JPMiles earning and redeeming opportunities."
25/04/19 Navneet Dubey/Economic Times

Jet Airways' Slots May Go Permanently to Rivals if Stake Sale Process Fails

New Delhi: Domestic carriers that have been temporarily awarded slots of Jet Airways (India) Ltd at India's busiest airports of New Delhi and Mumbai stand a chance to gain them permanently if the grounded airline fails to find a new buyer. InterGlobe Aviation Ltd's IndiGo and SpiceJet Ltd are among carriers that have already announced a slew of flights utilizing temporary slots at these two airports. Slots at the two airports are hard to come by for new airlines as most have already been used by legacy carriers.

"If Jet Airways is to revive and come back with its fleet of 119 aircraft--that it operated during its peak--all the slots that are temporarily given to other airlines will be returned to them," said a senior civil aviation ministry official, requesting anonymity.

"The airlines already holding slots get preference at the time of reallocation. If Jet Airways doesn't revive, the airlines, which are holding these temporary slots (at New Delhi and Mumbai), will get preference during reallocation of slots after three months," the official said, adding that the situation would be reviewed if Jet resumed operations.

Jet Airways, which was until recently India's second-largest airline, suspended flights last Wednesday under the weight of high debt and a severe cash crunch. The carrier operated about 106 departure and arrival slots each, daily at Mumbai. In New Delhi, it operated about 79 departure and arrival slots each daily.

Slots are allocated to airlines, based on factors including the number of aircraft they operate. Airports in Mumbai and Delhi together handled 61.4% of India's domestic traffic in 2018. Mumbai handled 24.5% of air traffic, while Delhi handled 36.9% last year.
24/04/19 AviationPros

Jet Airways debacle: Satyam-style model worked with Tech Mahindra but will not be answer to cash-strapped airline's fortunes

It is believed with a huge sliver of naiveté that the Satyam-style rescue is the template or panacea for putting back every ailing company on its legs especially if it happens to be of the too-big-to-fall genre. The truth is Satyam rescue was a one-off phenomenon.
Read the article in full >>

Jet Airways stake sale process may hit SOEC hurdle

New Delhi: The stake sale process for the grounded Jet Airways could hit the "substantial ownership and effective control" clause of the official civil aviation rules (CAR) and cast a shadow on public sector banks' (PSBs) efforts to fully recover their dues from the debt-laden airline, according to analysts.
"Now, if Etihad teams up with foreign private equity firms or fund houses it will have to ensure that effective control of airline still rests in Indian hands. This will be difficult. Clarity is needed on this," an aviation policy expert said.
The present rules allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) into an Indian carrier but the stake ownership of foreign airlines has been capped at 49 per cent.
Besides, the investors have to also comply with the clause of substantial ownership and effective control (SOEC).
Air Asia India, a joint venture of Tata Sons and Malaysian carrier Air Asia, had come under scrutiny for alleged violation of the SOEC clause and had to fight legal battles to prove its Indian control.
Qatar Airways was once keen to set up a local unit in India but could not do so due to the restrictive FDI rules.
25/04/19 IANS/Business Standard

IndiGo increases salaries of employees after three years

It is appraisal season for pilots of market leader IndiGo after a gap of three years. The airline has increased salaries of all flight crew, cabin crew and “eligible non-crew” with effect from April 1, 2019.

“As you probably know, this past year has been a challenging year for the company. Our profitability in the first few quarters was significantly impacted because of escalating oil prices and a weaker rupee. We, however, went through a high growth spurt inducting new aircraft and opening newer international and domestic stations,” the appraisal mail to employees read.

“Through all this expansion pressure and profit pressure, our employees stretched themselves to a high level of performance. In recognition of this contribution to the company, I am pleased to announce salary increments for both our crew and non-crew employees effective Apr 1, 2019,” the mail added.

The good news for IndiGo pilots comes at a time when the airline has been struggling to maintain its commander strength in line with capacity induction. The airline had to operate a curtailed flight schedule for nearly two months due to the shortage of senior pilots. Pilots across industry and especially at IndiGo have often complained of long and strenuous duty hours, leaving them exhausted.

This move from 6E also comes at a time when the industry has been going through a whirlwind with the suspension of operations at Jet Airways and unprecedented rate of expansion at SpiceJet.

While all cockpit and cabin crew who are line released or line ready will receive an upwards revision in their pay via individualised salary letters, in the case of non-crew employees,  all eligible employees will receive a merit increase based on their performance and market benchmarks, IndiGo said in a communication to employees.
25/04/19 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18

Jet Airways Crisis: Plea on Consumer Redressal Deferred to May 1

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday adjourned hearing on a plea seeking prompt redressal of consumer complaints in the wake of the ongoing Jet Airways crisis. The court said that it will hear the plea on May 1.
Several employees staged a protest in New Delhi and Mumbai, accusing Jet Airways management of leaving their staffs in the dark about the airline's crisis.
See some pictures of the protest >>

More opportunities in Indian market after Jet suspension

Dubai: A top executive at Emirates said on Wednesday that there are “more opportunities left on the table” in the Indian aviation market now that Jet Airways has suspended all its fights.

Thierry Antinori, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Emirates Airline, said the Dubai-based carrier “would love” to add more flights into India, but is currently already at the limit of the capacity allowed by Indian regulators.

He said there is a lack of seats in the market compared to the number of passengers, and that Emirates’ latest codeshare deal, with SpiceJet, will help increase connectivity within India.

Emirates on Monday announced it has signed a codeshare agreement with India’s SpiceJet, a deal that will provide it with an additional 67 weekly connections between Dubai and six of what it described as “fast growing destinations in India.”

Besides India, Antinori also said Emirates is focusing on Africa where it sees opportunities for growth.
24/04/19 Sarah Diaa/Gulf News

Gulf NRIs offer funds for Jet Airways to fly again

A group of Gulf-based NRIs are ready to raise emergency funding to enable debt-ridden and cash-strapped Jet Airways fly again, said a potential investor on Wednesday.
"We are ready to secure emergency funds from NRIs based in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Gulf investors to meet Jet's operational needs and fly again in 10 days," said Saudi-based Gold Tower Group's chief executive Mohammed Nagaman Lateef.
The Dammam-headquartered Gold Tower Group is a major construction firm in the Arabian kingdom.
The other Gulf-based Indian expats ready to raise fund and invest in the airline are Dubai-based Indian Economic Trade Organisation president Asif Iqbal, Saudi-based Icon World and Sandalwood director Aftab Khan and Aryan Hospitality and Aleef Aviation chief executive Mazhar Nawaz, he said.
"Though I have tweeted on April 19 to Jet's official handle asking its founder-chairman Naresh Goyal and its chief executive Vinay Dube to contact me for emergency funding, there is no response yet from either even after five days," said Lateef.
Expressing surprise that a 25-year-old largest private airline with 16,500 employees had to suspend operations since April 17 after a consortium of lenders led by the State Bank of India (SBI) rejected its plea for emergency funding, Lateef said the NRIs and potential investors have no other vested interest than to get Jet off the ground.
"We fail to understand how a successful and profitable airline could suddenly incur losses and accumulate over Rs 8,000 crore debt. What went wrong, how and why. We want Goyal and Dube to explain for due diligence before raising funds," he said.
25/04/19 IANS/CNBC TV18

Boeing Junks Order For 210 Planes After Jet Airways Stops Flying

Boeing Co removed 210 aircraft from its order backlog and took an impairment charge over customer financing losses on Wednesday following the near-collapse of India's Jet Airways.
The adjustment pushed the world's largest planemaker behind European rival Airbus in the race for business this year as both companies grappled with cancellations that outweighed new orders in the first quarter.
Under recent changes in accounting rules, Boeing hives off orders that no longer meet its criteria for recognising revenue into a separate category, while defending contractual claims.
As a result, Boeing net orders for the first quarter slid into negative territory, with a total of minus 119 net orders after cancellations, despite a slew of new wide-body sales.
Airbus posted a negative total of 58 net orders over the same period.
Boeing finance director Greg Smith confirmed the adjustment was related to financial problems at Jet Airways, which halted all flight operations indefinitely on April 17 after its lenders rejected a plea for emergency funds.
24/04/19 NDTV

How rising star Jet airways fell victim to a cut-throat, competitive aviation market

Singapore: The airline business has long had a glamorous mystique. Promotional images of globe-trotting travellers, exotic destinations, jet-setting flight crews and the sleek lines of modern aircraft have helped underpin this impression.
But despite soaring demand for air travel, especially in Asia, the aviation business is rarely a lucrative one. Competition is fierce and margins are often razor-thin.
Read Jochen Wirtz's commentary in full >>

Jet tells travel agents it will validate ticket refund claims in 45 days

Jet Airways will validate ticket refund claims within 45 days, the airline informed travel agents on Tuesday. Jet Airways stopped operations last week disrupting travel plans of thousands of passengers. For a majority of them the only recourse is refunds.
The airline said a web interface has been created and agents have been asked to submit claims till May 20. “All refund claims will be validated by Jet Airways within 45 days as per International Air Transport Association (IATA) procedure. IATA will settle the monies post closure of Jet’s refund claim review period against the deposit held by IATA. IATA will raise a demand from Jet should there be a shortfall in refund claim and the deposit held by IATA,” Jet said in a circular to agents.
A similar format has been devised for ticket sales made with travel agency’s credit cards. “The refunds due to card members will be validated by Jet and cleared by card companies each Monday,” the airline said.
Jet has around Rs 800 crore held up with credit card companies and International Air Transport Association. The amount due from ticket sales was not being remitted to the airline given the possibility of a default.
24/04/19 Prime Time Media

Empty Air India flight catches fire during repair work at Delhi airport; airline calls it 'minor' incident

New Delhi: An engine of  of Air India Delhi-San Francisco flight ( Boeing 777) caught fire in Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) at the time of repair work at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Wednesday night.

The incident, which the airline termed as 'minor', occurred while the AC repair work was underway.

The aircraft was empty at the time of the repair work and the fire was doused immediately.
The airline, recently had approached State Bank of India to lease five Boeing 777 planes owned by Jet Airways, but 19 of its own aircraft, including four 777s, have been grounded for months due to lack of funds.

According to The Indian Express, Air India has 18 Boeing 777 aircraft, 27 Boeing 787s and four Boeing 747s.

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.
25/04/19 ANI/First Post

Jet Airways requests govt not to give its int'l flying rights to others till the end of sale process

New Delhi: The “temporary” suspension of operations by Jet Airways and SpiceJet taking many of its aircraft and slots is creating serious heartburn among other airlines. On Thursday, Jet requested the aviation ministry not to give away its international flying rights to other Indian carriers till the outcome of the sale process is known by May 10. Giving them away, Jet officials who attended the Thursday meeting, could impair the airline’s chance of successfully finding a buyer.
SpiceJet and Air India Express operate Boeing 737 aircraft, which were the mainstay of Jet’s fleet. SpiceJet is now planning to take up to 40 of ex-Jet B737s by June-end along with slots to operate them mainly on domestic routes. The aviation ministry had asked all Indian carriers to expedite aircraft induction as the Jet crisis has led to fares shooting up.
Some other airlines are opposing granting of slots to SpiceJet. For example, IndiGo COO Wolfgang Prock-Scahuer has written to the aviation ministry, saying: “Aircraft inductions are planned in advance by airlines and cannot be expedited at such short notice. This leaves virtually one airline with the ability to corner Jet Airways slots and entitlements since it is the only airline other than Air India Express to operate Boeing 737 aircraft.”
Other airlines say Jet’s slots are being given for three months only as of now. “This makes it commercially unviable for us to speedily take more planes on lease. Unless there is some medium to long term surety, how can an airline undertake such an expensive move like leasing planes when additional slots are being given for three months only,” said the official of another airline.
25/04/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Jet Airways’ grounded aircraft: Air India has a change of mind

National carrier Air India seems to have had a change of mind and is now understood to have decided against leasing five grounded aircraft of Jet Airways to fly on five international routes. Sources said that post the meeting between Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani and State Bank of India chairman Rajnish Kumar last week, the state-owned carrier went through the technical records of the five aircraft and found that they needed some repairs for which Air India will have to incur an expenditure.

Sources said that the preliminary view within Air India is that since the five aircraft are not technically in a condition in which they can be straightaway put in operations either through wet or dry lease, it’s best not to go ahead with the proposal which was first mooted by Lohani to the state-run bank’s chairman.
Jet owns 10 wide-body Boeing 777-300 ER planes, along with a few Airbus A330s, which it operated on medium- and long-haul international destinations. While an email query sent to SBI did not elicit response till the time of going to the press, an Air India spokesperson said, “Taking five aircraft on lease from Jet Airways is in initial phase. The process is going on. It will take another few weeks to reach any concluding position.”
Air India chairman and managing director Ashwini Lohani had last week offered to operate Jet’s five Boeing 777 aircraft on dry or wet lease for flying on established routes like Mumbai-London, Delhi-London, Mumbai-Dubai, Delhi-Dubai and Delhi-Singapore.
Sources pointed out that maintenance of these aircraft has taken a hit due to Jet facing a financial crisis since the last several months before it finally grounded all its operations on April 17. Before this it had stopped flying international destinations from April 12.
25/04/19 Arun Nayal/Financial Express

Merge Jet Airways with Air India: Subramanian Swamy

Mumbai: In a letter addressed to Suresh Prabhu, Civil Aviation minister, Subramanian Swamy, member of parliament recommended merging Jet Airways with Air India.

“The Ministry of Civil Aviation should strongly recommend to the cabinet that Jet Airways should be merged with Air India not only to ensure air services are not restricted but also to enable Air India to recover its former premier position,” said Swamy.

“Any other solution is likely to raise speculation about corruption at high places and will certainly invite litigation in court. Recommend to stop this plunder of national assets investment, and the infrastructure of Air India,” the member of parliament added.

Jet Airway’s several slots have been temporarily for a period of three months given to other airlines including Indigo, Spicejet and Vistara. “There is a serious effort going on by private airlines such as Spicejet and Vistara to benefit from this dismemberment of Jet Airways. This is being supported by some of your colleagues and officers whom I can name in a private meeting with you,” Swamy alleged.

According to Swamy, the closure of Jet Airways is adverse effects for passengers and domestic along with international air traffic with foreign airlines getting a higher share of the growing traffic which is not getting absorbed by the Indian carriers.
25/04/19 Business Line

64% flight diversions in 2018 were due to bad weather: Govt

Around 64 per cent of the flights that were diverted from four metro cities -- Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai --- last year were due to bad weather conditions, an official document stated.

According to estimates of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in 2018, the worst affected airport due to "bad weather" conditions was Delhi airport as 213 flights were diverted because of it.

In 2017, just 111 flights were diverted from Delhi airport due to bad weather.

The document shows that total 796 flights were diverted from the airports of aforementioned four metro cities due to various reasons last year. Out of 796, the number of flights that were diverted due to bad weather stood at 510.

A total of 727 flights were diverted from the aforesaid four airports in 2017 for various reasons. Out of this, 502 flights were diverted because of bad weather.

Flight diversions due to "overhead congestion", also known as air traffic congestion, have increased at Bengaluru airport and Mumbai airport in 2018.

According to the document, while 37 flights were diverted last year from Bengaluru airport due to overhead congestion, such diversions were just seven in 2017. In 2016, this number stood at four only.

The number of flights that were diverted from Mumbai airport due to air traffic congestion increased to 41 in 2018 from 28 in 2017. In 2016, this number stood at seven only.
25/04/19 PTI/IndiaTV

Delhi airport gets 5 display boards to warn travellers of illegal wildlife trade, poaching

In an endeavour to spread awareness about poaching and illegal wildlife trade, the customs department and WWF-India have set up five

life-sized, brightly lit standees displaying protected species at the international airport here.

The display boards show pictures of snow leopard (Panthera uncia), greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), pangolins and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) along with the message "Don't Buy Trouble (which lists prohibited wildlife species for possession or trade in India), a statement issued by NGO TRAFFIC, working globally on trade in wild animals and plants, said.

The boards have been set up in arrival area at the customs checkpoint at Terminal 3, it said.
25/04/19 PTI/Business Standard

SACON to study bird behaviour at SVPI

Ahmedabad: As part of its bird-control measures, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has commissioned the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) to study bird sightings at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport six months ago. The study was to span two years and will include observing bird behaviour.
A senior AAI official, said, “We received an interim report a week ago, with several recommendations. We are examining them and are trying to implement them. The final report will be out after six months.”

To avoid bird strikes at the city airport, the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation had been tasked with conducting bird counts at SVPI airport, one in January and before and after the monsoon.

That decision was taken during a meetings of the Airport Environment Management Committee (AEMC). However, state government sources confirmed that no such study has been conducted in the last year. No reasons were accorded for giving the task of conducting the census to SACON either.
25/04/19 Times of India

Soon, unwind with music while waiting at airport

Chennai: Forgot your earphones and bored at Chennai airport? The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has got you covered. Soon, you can relax with curated music from the public address systems while waiting for your flight. Part of a move to improve the ambience at the airport, the AAI has planned to play music, often anchored by an RJ, over speakers and the public address systems at the airport. The plan is set to take off in a few months.

The move is also aimed at offering a stress-free environment and is part of a bid to add more amenities for passengers at 29 airports run by the AAI.

Earlier, the airport would play instrumentals, but this was discontinued after the airport was declared a silent one, wherein airlines and other agencies would make an announcement over public address systems only when it is unavoidable.

A tender has been floated to identify an experienced broadcaster with radio license to curate music and broadcast it round-the-clock across terminals and passenger areas for three years. The contractor is also allowed to engage an RJ, who would select and play the music. A decision will be taken about awarding of contract on May 10.

The playlist will include Indian or international music and covers all genres from classical to contemporary music, including folk, film scores, regional, rock, pop and more.

In addition, 30-second pre-recorded audio capsules on the local culture, heritage, monuments, festivals and tourist spots would be played around eight to 10 times a day.
25/04/19 Times of India

Remains of Ethiopian Airlines Victims Still Scattered Around Crash Site

According to Ethiopian Airlines, contact with the Boeing 737 Max 8 was lost at 8:44 a.m. on March 10, just a few minutes after it took off. The plane crashed shortly afterwards, killing all 157 people from 35 nations onboard.
Families of the victims and a spokesperson for ZAKA, an emergency response organization in Israel, recently told the Times of Israel that the victims' human remains and personal belongings have been left exposed at the crash site.
"What I personally found on the crash site left me shocked. Among many things, I collected legible business cards, a vaccine booklet, and an agenda. Each of these had vividly readable names and surnames, and were just left on the surface, completely unattended," a family member of one of the victims, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Times of Israel. She decided to visit the crash site after becoming frustrated with responses from Ethiopian authorities to her inquiries about the accident and recovery.
"To my dismay, we also found what looked like remains of human bones, which were then handed over to the guardians in the military tent, just outside the site of the crash," she told the Times of Israel, also adding that the remains were "wrapped using some mere plastic found on the ground."
The plane crashed outside the Ethiopian town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, causing a 80-meter by 80-meter crater upon impact. Photographs of the crash site provided to the Times of Israel show the victims' belongings and plane fragments still scattered around the site, almost two months after the crash.
According to ZAKA chief Meshi Zahav, his organization even offered to purchase the crash site from Ethiopian authorities to speed up the recovery efforts. However, Ethiopian authorities turned down ZAKA's request. Zahav also speculated that Ethiopian authorities may be overwhelmed by the cost and effort required to carry out such a large operation. They may also not understand the importance of obtaining the victims' physical remains, which are required to hold proper religious funerals in Islam and Judaism, he added.
Furthermore, victims whose bodies are not recovered in Israel are listed in government files as "disappeared" instead of "dead," which can result in complications when it comes to administering inheritances or remarrying.
22/04/19 Sputnik

GoAir Offers Flight Tickets From 2,765 Rupees

GoAir is offering domestic and international flight tickets at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 2,765 and Rs. 7,000 respectively in a limited-period sale, according to the airline's official website - goair.in. Bookings under the offer can be made till May 1, 2019, said the private carrier. Under the offer, the cheapest flight ticket is offered by the airline on the Guwahati-Hyderabad route via Kolkata, according to GoAir's portal. Flights tickets are priced from Rs. 3,569 on the Ahmedabad-Ranchi route via Delhi.
On Wednesday, GoAir announced the launch of new domestic flights connecting Mumbai and Delhi with other cities. In a separate offer, the airline is offering domestic flight tickets at a starting all-inclusive price of Rs. 1,375, which is valid till April 25.
25/04/19 NDTV

Vistara-General Bakshi episode: The huge social media challenge airline managers face

Social media — an engagement tool — is based on the real-time flow of information. With 450 million smartphone users as of 2018 and the cheapest data rates in the world where 1GB of data only costs 20 cents, the reach and influence of social media has increased exponentially. A single post, a 30-second video clip or a single tweet can ignite a firestorm and lead to significant impacts on brand and demand.

Read how Vistara should have handled the situation created by one of its tweets featuring General GD Bakshi that ignited a firestorm >>

GoAir to expand network with 28 additional flights from April 26

Mumbai: Budget carrier GoAir Wednesday said it will launch 28 additional flights in its network, including eight services from its hub in Mumbai and another seven from New Delhi, starting April 26.
Its bigger rivals, IndiGoNSE 0.75 % and SpiceJet, have already announced the roll out of additional flights from the city following the temporary grounding of Jet AirwaysNSE -0.82 % and subsequently steep reduction in capacity, mainly in the domestic market amid peak demand season.
GoAir announced 28 flight options this summer in addition to our existing flights. There are two sectors that GoAir is launching for the first time, namely, Delhi-Nagpur-Delhi and Delhi-Kochi-Delhi," GoAir managing director Jeh Wadia said in a release.
The airline also announced fare as low as Rs 1,368 on select routes, he added.
As per the company, the roll out of 28 additional flights covering across airports will alleviate the shortage of flights and inconvenience caused to passengers due to the Jet Airways flight cancellations, the release said.
25/04/19 PTI/Economic Times

Air India puts off launch of Mumbai-Colombo flight

Air India has deferred the launch of its Mumbai-Colombo-Mumbai flight after the serial bomb blasts in the Sri Lankan capital on Sunday. The five-times a week non-stop flight was to be launched on May 1 using an Airbus aircraft.
In a communication to travel agents sent out on Wednesday, the state-owned airline said that in view of disruptions at Colombo, AI 275/276 Mumbai-Colombo Mumbai flight “stands cancelled” between May 1 and May 31. Over 350 people of various nationalities, including Indians, were killed in the blasts.
The airline’s daily connection between Delhi and Colombo continues to operate and on Thursday it was about 90 minutes late in leaving Delhi.
Sources in SpiceJet said that they will continue to operate their flights from Madurai and Chennai to Colombo adding that passenger load on these flights was doing okay. They declined to say how many passengers were travelling to Colombo.
Meanwhile, Indian carriers flying to Colombo have advised their passengers to report four hours early for check in. They have also advised passengers that all vehicles entering the airport in Colombo will be checked in front of the cargo terminal and that all passenger vehicles will be stopped at the outer lane.
24/04/19 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Jet Airways seeks SpiceJet benefits

Jet Airways has lobbied the Narendra Modi government for the same favours and benefits that were extended to SpiceJet when the low-cost airline was trying to extricate itself from a financial mess in 2014.

Jet Airways chief executive officer Vinay Dube told a television news channel that during a recent hour-long discussions with finance minister Arun Jaitley, he had made a strong pitch for government intercession to stave off the crisis that the full-service airline had flown into.

“We requested help from the government within the purview of what they have (done earlier). If you remember the SpiceJet case a little while ago, the government interceded by providing help with fuel companies, providing help with deferment of airport fees,” said Dube who took over the running of the faltering airline 18 months ago.

The oil companies had threatened to turn off the jet fuel spigots at least thrice in as many months after Jet Airways failed to pay its dues, sparking flight cancellations and severe reputational loss for a once-pedigreed airline.

“If you look at how healthy SpiceJet is today, one would think it was the right decision for the travelling public. All we are saying is that we deserve the same. We have a 25-year history; we had the capacity three times that of SpiceJet back then.

“I would say we deserve it; our people deserve it; the travelling public deserves a similar type of government help and intervention to be able to resurrect Jet Airways,” told the channel.

SpiceJet boss Ajay Singh is regarded in aviation circles as someone who is very close to the current dispensation and received a lot of help from it when he took control of the low-cost airline from the Marans.
24/04/19 Telegraph

Fleet expansion by carriers not to make up for Jet absence

New Delhi: Even as SpiceJet and Indigo are aggressively expanding their fleets, they are unlikely to bridge the entire demand-supply gap created by the temporary grounding of Jet Airways.

According to a report by Elara Capital, domestic carriers would potentially add 150 aircraft during the financial year 2020. The fleet size of SpiceJet would be up by 45-50 aircraft, that of IndiGo by 50, GoAir by 10- 15, Air India by 25, and Vistara and AirAsia by 15.

The report, however, says that the net fleet addition in the domestic sector would be only 40 aircraft following the grounding of the Jet Airways fleet, SpiceJet’s grounding of its Boeing 737Max, and deployment of 10 aircraft on international operations.

“If we were to assume 10 per cent domestic demand growth, the net fleet addition requirement would be 50 for domestic operations, which implies the supply would lag demand and result in higher PLF and a consequent higher margin at INR 0.40/seat-km,” the report said.

Jet Airways, till last year, had a fleet of 119 aircraft, but since it started grounding its aircraft over non-payment of dues to lessors, the industry has faced severe capacity constrains, which have pushed up airfares. Now, many of its grounded planes have been leased by SpiceJet, which had to ground a dozen of its Boeing 737 Max planes over safety concerns.
24/04/19 New Indian Express

SpiceJet, Emirates sign MoU for codeshare partnership

SpiceJet and Emirates have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enter into a reciprocal codeshare agreement, which is set to open new routes and destinations for passengers travelling between India and popular destinations across America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

SpiceJet passengers travelling from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangalore, Madurai, Kozhikode and 41 other domestic destinations that the airline operates to, will be able to access Emirates’ expansive network across the globe.

Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet, said: “I am delighted to announce that as part of SpiceJet’s international expansion strategy, we have signed a MoU for a codeshare agreement with Emirates. This new partnership should immensely benefit passengers travelling on both airlines. While SpiceJet passengers from across India will be able to enjoy seamless connectivity leveraging Emirates vast network across Europe, Africa, America and the Middle East those travelling to India on Emirates will be able to travel to 51 destinations across our domestic network.”

SpiceJet passengers travelling from India will have more choice to travel seamlessly with minimum connection times, when flying to destinations in Emirates’ Europe network such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Manchester and Amsterdam. Subject to regulatory approvals, the codeshare agreement will also open up flights for Indian travellers to North and South American destinations such as New York, Washington, Toronto, and Sao Paulo as well as Middle Eastern destinations such as Jeddah, Kuwait and Amman, operated by Emirates.
24/04/19 Indian Awaz

The Jet Airways lesson: Save Indian capitalism from Indian capitalists

The grounding of Jet Airways India Ltd., the country’s oldest private-sector carrier, isn’t just bad news for customers and its 23,000 employees. It raises yet again a question that’s puzzled two successive governments and will continue to bedevil whichever party takes power after elections conclude next month: What’s killing capitalism in India?>>



Jet Airways’ engineers to stage silent appeal on Thursday

Mumbai: Jet Airways’ engineers will make a silent appeal to save the airlines on Thursday. The protest has been planned at Terminal T2 in Mumbai.

There will be no sloganeering, no protest, no disturbance to the general public while making the appeal, a mail written to employees by the engineering team of Jet Airways said.

The letter has asked the engineers to be present for the silent protest in full uniform.
24/04/19 Business Line

Etihad concludes due diligence process for Jet Airways bid

Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways has concluded the due-diligence process before it places its financial bid for acquiring Jet Airways. The other two potential bidders- TPG Capital and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) have also started their respective processes and are expected to bid jointly with Etihad.

SBI Caps last week had opened the window for potential bidders to examine the books of Jet Airways. The lenders now have set May 10 deadline for submitting the binding financial bids, the Hindu Business Line reported.
"Jet Airways has provided a data room where all the necessary documents, information and data related to the airline's assets, debt, costs, governance information and information on employee strength among other things have been opened up for the bidders," a source told the news daily. The bidding process according to the source is going ahead and none of the shortlisted companies (Etihad, TPG Capital and NIIF) as yet have said that they are withdrawing from it.
This comes at a time when the Civil Aviation Ministry is trying to calm the frayed nerves of potential bidders by saying that the vacated slots would be allocated to other airlines on an interim basis for three months and would be turned about once Jet Airways resumes operations.
24/04/19 Business Today

The flight steward who wants to buy grounded Jet Airways

Amid concerns being raised by four shortlisted suitors over the viability of investments into the now-grounded Jet Airways, an unknown British entrepreneur claims to have reached out to bankers to take a controlling stake in the cash-strapped airline.

Jason Unsworth, describing himself as the founder and CEO of Atmosphere Intercontinental Airline on social media, has claimed to have submitted a bid for Jet Airways on his Twitter page.

Unsworth's LinkedIn page shows that he has previously worked as a customer service assistant at Asda Walmart in Essex in UK, then as cabin crew at Ryanair Airline, passenger service agent at Servisair and Swissport, a "team member" at a small Asian restaurant at London Stansted Airport, cabin crew at Oyster Training Group, a retail operative at Primark Stores in London, and as a passenger service agent at Jet2.com where he assisted guests with check-ins and baggage drops until 2018.
His LinkedIn profile further shows he founded Atmosphere Intercontinental Airlines UK in 2005, but the airline is yet to take flight. The company website shows it plans to start flights to Bangkok, Dubai and India and has invited applications for its board and other senior positions. Some of the senior management is made up on family members, as is seen on the airline website.
Unsworth told CNBC-TV18 that he would like to have a controlling stake in Jet Airways and wants to position the company as a premium airline.

"I have been starting an airline in UK for the last 4 years; registered our airline in the UK in 2017 and have been looking for investors to work with. I believe we can save Jet Airways and save some costs of operations for them" he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.
"I contacted Vinay Dube, CEO of Jet, and got a positive response. I would like to have the opportunity to become a shareholder, possibly controlling shareholder of Jet Airways.
"I am inspired by Jet Airways' employees and believe that it's worth putting time and effort to make it a leading airline. I believe in premium products, and believe that low cost airlines can't make profits", he added.
24/04/19 Ritu Singh/CNBC TV18

None will go to jail for funding Air India

After Government of India nationalised Air India by acquiring majority stake from Tata Sons and formed Indian Airlines by taking over and amalgamating the other domestically operating carriers in India we had the domestical Indian Airlines and international Air India since 1953. Initially, they had done very well with JRD Tata at the helm of affairs of Air India as Chairman till 1977 and also as a Director on the board of Indian Airlines. As is the case with most of the public sector enterprises, deterioration started in these enterprises as well with undue political interference, inefficiency and corruption. In 90s, once the Indian government started opening up the economy to private sector, aviation sector was also one among them.
Thus in early 90s came number of private airlines Modi Luft , Damania ,NEPC and the Jet Airways. Most of them folded up within few years . Out of the early birds it is Jet Airways which kept on flying till a few days back when all its flights were grounded when lenders were not willing to pump in extra money to keep it flying.
Read the article in full>>

Air India grounds 4 B-777s for lack of funds, looks to lease five of Jet’s

Debt-laden Air India has approached State Bank of India to lease five Boeing 777 wide-bodied planes owned by Jet Airways, but 19 of its own aircraft, including at least four 777s, have been grounded for months due to lack of funds for maintenance of these planes.
An Air India official told The Indian Express that the airline was in the process of releasing Rs 500 crore to make these planes airworthy. “There are 19 aircraft grounded and these include Boeing 777, Boeing 787, Boeing 747 and Airbus A320s. Some of these aircraft are expected to be back in service by August,” the official said.

An official with Air India Engineering Services Ltd, the airline’s maintenance, repair and overhaul subsidiary, said the company has been cannibalising some of its new aircraft for parts to keep some of the older aircraft airworthy.

“We do not have funds to acquire parts for these planes, so we are taking them from newly delivered planes,” the official said, adding that the parts in question were small ones such as the microphone used by pilots for in-flight announcements.
24/04/19 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

How Vistara Could Become A Dominant Carrier In India

After the demise of Jet Airways, low-cost carriers such as SpiceJet have capitalized on the situation and sought a rapid expansion plan. However, there’s one full-service carrier that could soon become a dominant carrier in India.
Though small as of now, Vistara could soon become a force to be reckoned with.
Read how >>

Jet Air rescue delayed till next month

Lenders of Jet Airways seem to be running out of options to revive the ailing full-service carrier, which has a debt of Rs 8,400 crore. In a meeting on Tuesday, the bankers, led by State Bank of India (SBI), decided to wait till May 10 to scrutinise the binding financial bids of the four investors – Etihad, NIIF, TPG Capital and Indigo Partners – who had submitted their Expression of Interest (EoIs). In the Tuesday meeting, the bankers have decided to take a call on the haircut and other operational issues after scrutinising the financial bids that will be submitted by the investors. "The bidders are yet to approach us for haircuts or write-offs," said a banker in the consortium.

Lenders are pinning their hopes on Etihad Airways coming up with a plan. It also needs to be seen how much of investment would be required to restart the operations. With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is yet to come out on pricing formula to convert debt into equity and the share price tumbling, bankers have little choice but to wait for the binding financial bids. Bankers will decide on the haircut and the write-offs after seeing the investments that the new bidders intend to make in the airline.
"None of the bidders have approached us for any haircut. When we see their financial plan we can negotiate on the haircut and the write-offs.," said the official. "Some of the banks have a charge on 10 to 13 aircraft. So depending on how much will be the recovery and the financial plan of the bidder, we will decide on the haircut," the official said. But it looks difficult for the airline to resume operations considering the investment that would be required to put its flights back on air.

Meanwhile, the share price of Jet Airways has tumbled 45% in the last few trading sessions. But on Tuesday the airline's shares gained as much 13.08% to hit an intra-day high of Rs 174.95 on the National Stock Exchange over the previous close. But analysts said this was only a speculative move.
24/04/19 Manju AB/DNA

SpiceJet chairman on Jet Airways crisis: Absorbed nearly 1,000 employees, will add more

Even as Jet Airways struggles to revive its operations, SpiceJet tries to absorb as many Jet Airways’ employees as possible, Ajay Singh, Chairman of SpiceJet says. The airline has already absorbed nearly 1,000 employees of the struggling airline, he also tells ET Now in an interview. The airline has added 5 aircraft recently and about 40 more would be added to the fleet in the coming weeks, he adds.

Reflecting on problem with the India’s aviation sector, SpiceJet Chairman says it’s time for all the stakeholders to pause and reflect on why this is happening repeatedly in the India’s aviation sector. The industry must come up with a longer-term solution that impacts the aviation sector, he says, adding the ‘temporary’ closure of operations is extremely sad for the sector.

Since the airline owes it to the industry, it plans work towards reducing inconvenience of passengers and Jet employees during the challenging times, he expresses.
The revival of the cash-strapped airline is an uphill task and a much slimmer version of Jet Airways may take to the skies, he adds. The Indian aviation sector has been mired with various challenges and with ATF being taxed as high as 40 per cent, the highest in the world, makes matters more complex, Ajay Singh notes.
The aviation sector veteran was also all praise for the national carrier Air India which has absorbed some of the wide bodied planes of the struggling airline.
On being asked about his plans to offer expression of interest (EoI) for Jet Airways, Ajay Singh says that it’s tough for a small airline like SpiceJet to run a large airline like Jet Airways as they estimated a need of Rs 11,000 crore to remain viable.
24/04/19 Financial Express

SpiceJet got nothing other than moral support from government in 2014: Ajay Singh

Ajay Singh, Chairman & MD, SpiceJet broke his silence and gave an exclusive interview to ET Now on the aftermath of India’s oldest private airlines Jet Airways temporarily shutting down.

The temporary shutdown in Jet Airways brings opportunities for Spicejet. You are looking to take over some of the Jet Airways fleet as well as some of the slots. How big an opportunity is it for Spicejet?

Firstly, I would like to reiterate that it is an extremely sad moment for the entire aviation sector and a brand that India was so proud of. Jet Airways is one of the finest global brands in aviation. For that airline to suspend operations after 25 years of being in business must give us all pause. We must reflect on why this is happening repeatedly in our country. This happened to Kingfisher, it has happened to numerous smaller airlines.
Read the interview in  full >>

Long wait to land force Air India flight to declare May Day in Hong Kong

New Delhi: An Air India flight approaching to land in Hong Kong recently had to declare May Day after hovering for a long time and unavailability of diversion airports — where it would have gone after waiting to land at the destination — due to bad weather. Then in the interest of flight safety, the crew of this Boeing 787 Dreamliner issued the stress call to finally get clearance to land in Hong Kong.

The scare happened on March 20 when AI 315 was operating from Osaka to Hong Kong with over 170 people on board, before flying back to India. “The aircraft had to hold for very long time before landing and hence due (to) critical fuel, the pilot declared May Day. It was no fault of AI,” said an airline spokesman.

Airline officials say the flight had been hovering, waiting for its turn to land at Hong Kong airport. “During this long wait, the aircraft hit diversion fuel. Hong Kong ATC told the flight that the diversion airports were unavailable due to bad weather. At that point in the interest of flight safety the crew declared May Day,” said an AI official.

Fuel uplift for a flight is decided by adding these factors: fuel required for going from origin to destination; hovering fuel at destination; fuel to go to a diversion airport in case the destination is not available for some reason like some aircraft getting stuck on its single runway and finally hovering fuel at alternate/diversion airport.
24/04/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Downfall of Jet Airways: Banks had seen writing on the wall with over a billion dollars to be paid back, but yet acted too late

It has been roughly a week now that Jet Airways has not had even a single plane up in the air. With every passing day, it looks like the management is losing the plot about having an airline which was supposed to be revived and is being disintegrated instead. Let there be no mincing of words: The airline, although one of India’s finest brand ambassadors abroad, was being run by just one person alone, Naresh Goyal.

On the downfall of Jet Airways and the path ahead for the cash-strapped airline >>

Government will preserve slots for Jet Airways; we need one good investor: Vinay Dube

Like in the SpiceJet case a little while ago, the government interceded to provide help with fuel companies and by deferment of airport fees and exception from an open offer, Jet AirwaysNSE 0.82 % also deserves a chance, said Vinay Dube, CEO, Jet Airways, in an interview with ETNOW.

Edited excerpts>>:

Delhi High Court To Hear Application On Relief To Jet Passengers With Tickets On May 1

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that it would hear an application seeking relief to Jet Airways' passengers who bought tickets in advance on May 1, reported news agency ANI (Asian News International). The court observed that the petition was filed for publicity. It asked the petitioner as to why the contents of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) were published in newspapers before the matter came up for hearing. The application was filed on Monday by consumer rights activist Bejon K Misra, whose earlier plea seeking capping of airfares charged by various airlines in the country is still pending before the court.
In his application, Mr Misra claimed that passengers had been severely affected owing to the sudden suspension of Jet Airways services and sought directions to the government to allow them a full refund on their tickets with a reasonable compensation, or to arrange for alternative travel for them to reach their destinations. He said that in the absence of any effective aviation sector regulator, a major crisis was looming over the country.
Meanwhile, Jet Airways is expected to make another plea for an interim funding of at least Rs. 250 crore to its lenders to restart bare minimum operations till May 10, according to news agency IANS.
The lenders, who had called for binding bids from potential investors by May 10, have been unwilling to extend any further fund infusion into the airline.
24/04/19 NDTV

Eight new daily flights between Bengaluru and Mumbai by May 1

Bengaluru: While nine Jet Airways services between Bengaluru and Mumbai have been cancelled, eight new daily flights between the two cities offered by other airlines will start operations from Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) by May 1.
Vistara will operate five new services between Bengaluru and Mumbai starting April 30 and AirAsia India will operate three new services from April 30. Operations of IndiGo’s new service between the two state capitals were kicked off on April 15.
A total of nine services each from Bengaluru to Mumbai and Mumbai to Bengaluru operated by Jet Airways were cancelled by the airlines, which has now temporarily suspended all its operations.

Connectivity between Delhi and Bengaluru is also set to be enhanced with SpiceJet starting a new daily flight between the two cities from April 26. Meanwhile, city-based Star Air kicked off a service between Bengaluru and Belagavi on March 31, while another service between the two cities will begin from May 1.
24/04/19 Times of India

SpiceJet becomes second carrier to link Kozhikode and Jeddah

SpiceJet launched its latest international route on 20 April, commencing a daily service between Kozhikode (CCJ) and Jeddah (JED). The carrier will serve the 4,088-kilometre route using its fleet of 737-800s. It becomes the second airline to offer services between the Indian and Saudi Arabian cities, joining Saudi Arabian Airlines on the sector. It presently serves the route six times weekly using its fleet of A330-300s. Jeddah becomes SpiceJet’s second international route from Kozhikode, with it already offering a daily service to Dubai, while it also provides domestic links to Bengaluru and Chennai. For Jeddah, Kozhikode becomes the second destination flown to by the LCC, adding to the carrier’s existing route to Hyderabad, a connection which is also flown daily this summer, again on 737-800s, of which the airline presently operates 28 according to Flightradar24.com data.
24/04/19 anna.aero

Aviation failure in every 5 years is a worrying signal: Ajay Singh, Spicejet Chairman

Aviation companies going belly up every 5 years in India is a worrying signal. The sector is a huge contributor to the Indian economy so tax needs to be relaxed, says Ajay Singh.
See video >>


AirAsia offer: Now, grab discount of up to 70% on flight tickets

AirAsia on Wednesday announced a discount of up to 70 per cent on flight tickets on all destinations. The customers can make bookings under the offer for travel are valid between October 1, 2019 and June 2, 2019, the airline’s official website said. The customer can booking flight tickets until April 28, 2019, the airline added.

The discount offer is, however, available on select fare classes and non-peak periods only. The interested flyers must book flight tickets in advance to avail the offer, the airline also said.
The airline also mentioned on the website that a customer would either get up to 70 per cent discount on base fare or 20 per cent off on premium flatbed category. The airline also said that the value pack and premium flex bundled category DJ carrier code flights and QZ carried code domestic flights are not included under the given offer.

Recently, low-budget carrier GoAir also came up with a special price plan offering tickets at a highly discounted rates  on select domestic routes. The tickets could be availed at an all-inclusive price of Rs 1,375 in a limited-period sale. The sale offer is valid for travel until August 31, 2019. The booking could be made till April 25, 2019.
24/04/19 Financial Express

Vistara tenders apology to G D Bakshi over tweet controversy

Two senior executives of Vistara tendered an apology to retired Major General G D Bakshi following a controversy over the airline tweeting, and later deleting, a photo of him with its crew members inside a plane.

The full service carrier, on Sunday, tweeted the photo saying it was honoured to have Bakshi onboard. The tweet attracted criticism, with many citing allegedly controversial comments made by him on various occasions.
Following criticism on the social media platform, the carrier deleted the tweet and issued a statement saying that it does not want its platform to be disrespectful to anyone. However, the deletion of the tweet also attracted the ire of various Twitter users.
Against this backdrop, Vistara executives met Bakshi and tendered an apology.
"It was very nice of Vistara airlines to send two senior officials to my house to tender an apology over the tweeting incident. It was a thoughtful gesture of consideration for the feelings of an old solider," Bakshi said in a Facebook post Monday evening.
24/04/19 PTI/moneycontrol

Scoot flight from Bengaluru to Singapore delayed due false security threat, 173 passengers affected

Singapore – A Singapore-bound Scoot flight from Bengaluru, India, was delayed for almost 14 hours after a false security report was released.
Flight TR573 was supposed to depart from the south Indian city of Bengaluru at 1:20 am local time on April 23 (Tuesday), but due to a verbal security threat, the flight was tentatively rescheduled for take-off 14 hours later.
“Due to a verbal security threat, a passenger had to be removed from the flight by airport security,” said a Scoot spokesperson.
“All passengers were required to undergo security screening and immigration clearance again, and no suspicious items were found. As a result of the additional security procedures, flight time limits of the operating crew were exceeded,” added the spokesperson.
Netizen Haresh Kumar posted a video showing passengers arguing with an airport staff member. He expressed his concern for the lack of communication on the part of the airlines as his parents and niece were among the affected passengers. They were stranded for hours with little information on the cause of delay.
24/04/19 Hana Otsuka/Independent

Nagpur airport privatization after AAI clears lease papers

Nagpur: Last month as chief minister Devendra Fadnavis addressed a function to inaugurate commercial run of the Metro rail, he also announced that bid for privatizing Nagpur airport has been cleared. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is now in the process of finalizing lease documents with GMR, which had emerged as the highest bidder in the tender process. AAI is a joint venture partner in Mihan India Limited (MIL) — the current airport operator along with state government’s Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC).
AAI owns over 500 hectares of land in the airport which it will be leasing out to GMR after it takes over. Sources say MADC is following up the matter with AAI and the process is expected to be over any time. However, at the same time if AAI chooses to get the decision on leasing the land cleared from the central cabinet, the privatization process may have to wait till new government takes over after elections.

Sources said now it is up to the AAI to clear the case at its own level or put up the proposal before the incoming central cabinet.

GMR, which had emerged as the higher bidder as against GVK — the other participant in the tender, had earlier offered to share 5.73% of the revenue with MIL. As against it, the company has now agreed to part with over 14%. This happened in post-bid negotiations following which the deal was cleared. The announcement was made when the Metro rail was being flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through teleconferencing.

A source involved in the process said the final takeover by GMR may happen by September. This is because once AAI board finalizes the lease documents, the matter would be further put up before the central cabinet, to be formed only after the elections.

24/04/19 Times of India

AAI’s ambitious ‘Project Runway’ drags on

Tiruchi: The good news coming out of Tiruchi International Airport is that Airports Authority of India is making big investments in developing the facility despite a dip in international passenger traffic during 2018-19.

The bad news: tardy progress in land acquisition is stalling the runway extension, an important component of the expansion plans.

At the root of the problem lies the fact that while a new terminal is coming up adjacent to the existing building on AAI’s own land, expansion of the runway and other infrastructure at the airport involves land acquisition.

After the first phase of expansion of the runway from 6,000 to about 8,000 feet, carried out over a decade ago, AAI drew up plans to expand it further to 12,000 feet in phases to facilitate operation of bigger and wide-bodied aircrafts.
It sought about a total of 683.32 acres, which included about 337.70 acres of defence land. Last year, the State government accorded administrative sanction to acquire about 345.62 acres, including wetlands, located mostly at the rear of the airport, mainly for expansion of the runway.
A team of revenue officials, headed by a Special Tahsildhar, was formed to carry out the acquisition, but the task is yet to be completed. A section of land owners opposed acquisition of their properties, but district authorities said they had agreed to accept alternative residential sites.
23/04/19 R. Rajaram and S. Ganesan/The Hindu

Chennai has fewer flights this summer

Chennai: The crisis at Jet Airways and the grounding of B737 Max 8 planes by SpiceJet have hit Chennai airport during peak summer season.
A senior official said the number of flights handled by the airport has come down by 70 a day because of these crises.

“The total number of flights handled by the airport has come down from 500 to 430 a day. This reduction in capacity has hit summer travel. We usually see a lot of domestic passengers during the summer, forcing us to introduce arrangements to prevent congestion at the terminals. This time the crowd has shrunk,” he added.

Jet Airways has grounded seven planes — five ATR planes, one B-777 and one B737 — at Chennai after the company suspended operations. SpiceJet has grounded two of its B737 Max 8 planes in Chennai following an instruction from aviation regulator DGCA, due to a safety concern after the Ethiopian plane crash.
Peak hour travel is most affected by the cut in services. Jet Airways had early morning slots connecting Chennai with Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru — the popular metro routes for business travellers and also gateway airports to nearby tourist destinations. This is in addition to flights to small towns.

Withdrawal of services by the third largest airline in terms of routes flown in Chennai has affected availability of seats and has pushed up the air fare.
24/04/19 Times of India

Aamir Khan surprises fans by flying 'economy class'

Bollywood actor Aamir Khan is making headlines for a pretty heartening reason.

While people like singer Mika Singh are really out there booking an entire first class cabin for himself, the 54-year-old actor was seen traveling in a flight in economy class, much to the surprise of his fellow passengers.
The video, which was posted by paparazzi Instagram account 'viralbhayani', has several comments lauding Khan for his humility.

"It's actual class of simplicity," wrote one Instagram user. "Amir bhai masha allah u are real hero economy class," commented another.

Well, since Khan was in an IndiGo aircraft, which has class-less cabins, he technically wasn't flying economy, he was just not flying business class.
24/04/19 Siddhant Pandey/NewsBytes

Mangaluru: Gold worth Rs 35.52 lac seized at airport from 2 passengers

Mangaluru: Customs officials at the international airport here, on Sunday, seized 1.10 kg gold that was being smuggled into the country by two passengers. The gold so recovered is estimated to be worth Rs 35.52 lac.

During the checking of passengers who arrived by Air India Express flight from Doha, the customs officials found 462.97 grams of gold with a passenger that was not backed by any documents. 641 grams of gold worth Rs 20.51 lac was found in the possession of another passenger.
In both the cases, the gold was turned into paste and stuffed into the anus. Both the accused stand arrested.
24/04/19 daijiworld

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube breaks silence on Jet crisis

No last word from lenders on interim funding yet. But, we believe in Jet and will leave no stone unturned to resurrect Jet.
See video: We are in constant touch with lenders: Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube >>

Amid Jet crisis, IndiGo comes through with flying colours

The financial crisis at Jet Airways, and SpiceJet’s troubles due to the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, have benefited IndiGo Airlines the most.

IndiGo further consolidated its leadership position in the domestic market in terms of passengers carried, as its market share expanded to 47 per cent in March, against 44 per cent a month ago.

While India’s domestic passenger traffic grew a marginal 0.1 per cent to 11.6 million, IndiGo reported a 19 per cent growth in passengers to 5.4 million, according to data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

“With the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX in the middle of March, SpiceJet saw a marginal blip in its market share. Go Air, Vistara and AirAsia India gained market share at Jet’s expense and reported a share of 10 per cent, 4 per cent and 6 per cent respectively,” said a report by analysts at Prabhudas Lilladher.

IndiGo has been taking multiple steps to ensure it emerges stronger in the ongoing crisis in the sector. It temporarily added approximately 20 new departures each from Mumbai and Delhi in a phased manner from April 15. It also launched three new international flights.

This comes even as domestic available seat kilometers (ASK), a measure of passenger carrying capacity, slowed down to 5 per cent in March 2019 compared to March 2018. This is the lowest in the past 16 months as the industry continued to witness capacity pull-out.

IndiGo, however, continues to aggressively add capacity, reporting a 26 per cent YoY increase in ASK last month. SpiceJet reported a 13 per cent YoY growth in ASK. However, Jet, with only a handful of aircraft operating due to the ongoing financial crisis, saw its ASK decline 66 per cent YoY.
23/04/19 Forum Gandhi/Business Line

Seamless passenger transfer as Emirates, SpiceJet enters code sharing deal

Mumbai: The passenger transfers at Dubai airport and service differentiation will not be an issue, said Dubai-based airline Emirates as it entered into a code share agreement with SpiceJet on Monday.

Emirates is the largest foreign airline operating to India and its home base, Dubai, is the largest overseas hub for Indian travellers.

Emirates and SpiceJet signed a memorandum of understanding for code shares which will allow passengers from India more travel options.

At present, Emirates operates from Terminal 3 while Spice Jet works from Terminal 1 in Dubai. Also, Emirates is a full service airline with first class and business cabins and full fledged loyalty programme while SpiceJet offers no frills and charges passengers for meals.

An Emirates spokesperson, however, said these issues will not impact passengers.

"There will be no change to the current transfer process between terminals at Dubai international airport. Passengers are transported via an inter terminal shuttle bus which operates between terminals every 20 minutes," Emirates said in a statement.

"It is not uncommon in codeshare partnerships to have mixed cabin itineraries and customers are not averse with this as a seamless connectivity and quicker overall journey takes priority. The codeshare partnership will enable Spicejet customers to experience Emirates’ renowned product and service," the airline added.
23/04/19 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

Emirates - SpiceJet codeshare agreement to help flyers from Mangaluru

Dubai / New Delhi: Emirates Airlines has announced the signing of an initial pact of codeshare with India's budget airlines SpiceJet. This new arrangement could help Indian passengers from various airports and Indian airports to Europe, Africa, America, Middle East and other destinations. The announcement could bring some relief to fliers to and from Indian airports who are disappointed after the closure of Jet Airways.

Passengers traveling from and to Mangaluru airport had Jet airways that connected to USA, Canada, Europe and other popular destinations. But new codeshare agreement between Emirates and SpiceJet will bring huge relief to passengers as SpiceJet will issue boarding pass from Mangaluru to any destinations in the world where Emirates airlines connect. Travelers from Mangaluru can now take SpiceJet flight to Bengaluru, Mumbai or Dubai to take-up onward journey to world's popular destinations via Emirates airlines, under single PNR or reservation. The inconvenience of shifting luggage from one point to other is also solved.
According to Khaleej Times, UAE English daily, the partnership will enable Emirates' passengers to enjoy seamless connectivity on flights to India, leveraging SpiceJet's strong domestic presence and adding six new destinations: Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangaluru, Madurai and Kozhikode - to the nine existing cities in India served by Emirates.

This will bolster Emirates' already-extensive network adding a total of 67 weekly connections between Emirates' hub in Dubai to these six fast-growing destinations in India.
23/04/19 daijoworld

Jet Airways waits for buyer as rivals muscle in on territory

A revival of Jet Airways India Ltd., once the nation's biggest carrier by market value, is at risk as days roll by since its operations were completely halted.

While the cash-strapped carrier awaits potential investors to pump in money, rivals are aggressively going after its most prized assets. A government desperate to limit public backlash after flight ticket prices escalated is parceling off landing and parking slots at congested airports. Lessors are also adding to the woes by allocating grounded aircraft to competitors.

"It appears to me that lenders are not very confident of getting any serious bid," said Harsh Vardhan, chairman of New Delhi-based Starair Consulting. "You can not hold on to slots, and planes are not Jet Airways' property. They have to find a buyer as soon as possible."

Jet Airways, the oldest surviving private airline which broke into a monopoly of Air India Ltd., had a fleet of 124 and flew profitable routes like connecting India, the fastest growing aviation market in the world, with London and Toronto. With nearly 23,000 jobs at stake, its collapse last week couldn't have come at a worse time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who's seeking a second term based on his business-friendly image.

While the arrangement to give Jet's landing slots and aircraft to rivals is temporary, the process to swap them again is complicated and is the domain of airports. It may get more difficult once rivals start new flights and sell tickets in advance, and that could potentially leave close to nothing for a potential new owner.
23/04/19 Bloomberg/Gulf News

Jet Airways union says over 400 pilots left airline in past seven months

More than 400 co-pilots and captains have resigned from the embattled Jet Airways in the past seven months. National Aviators' Guild (NAG), the airline's pilots union, reportedly told its members that 410 pilots have left Jet Airways between September last year and March 31, 2019, which has left the airline with 1,527 pilots on its payroll.
In the communique, the NAG also told its members about several airlines planning to wet lease Jet Airways' grounded aircraft, The Times of India reported. Under a wet lease agreement, the aircraft is provided with the complete crew, maintenance and insurance. So far Air India, AI Express and SpiceJet have evinced interest in leasing Boeing 737s and Boeing 777s from Jet.
Rival airlines wet leasing Jet Airways' aircraft could help employ some of the staff that became unemployed after the debt-laden carrier suspended operations last week. "Wet lease plans are being looked at and clarity will be provided when modalities will be worked out and a concrete plan is available," the report quoted NAG's communication.
Jet Airways temporarily grounded operations last week after lenders refused to infuse Rs 400 crore the airline requested to operate flights. This led to uncertainty about the future of the airline's 16,000 employees.
23/04/19 Business Today

Jet freefall hits domestic air pax volume

Mumbai: Even with the month of March posting the lowest growth rate in many years, domestic air passenger volume grew 14.25 per cent to 171.25 million in fiscal 2019 over the previous year, according to data from the DGCA. In FY18, the passenger volume was at 146.84 million.

In March, air traffic though stayed flat at 0.14 per cent to 11.59 million passengers up from 11.58 million a year ago. Data from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) showed that the low numbers were largely due to the huge capacity reduction following the troubles at Jet Airways in the month.

Budget carrier IndiGo continued to be the largest player with a market share of 46.9 per cent ferrying 54 lakh passengers during the month, while its closest rival SpiceJet was a distant second with 13.6 per cent traffic pie as its ferried 15.81 lakh passengers in the reporting month.

The flat growth in traffic is a setback for the industry which had been clipping at over 20 per cent for more than four years in a row. Significantly, betting on the double-digits growth in the past four years, the government in its vision document released this January, has pegged the traffic volume to 1.1 billion by 2040.
23/04/19 News Today

Firm To Refund Cancellation Amount Due From Jet Airways To "Armed Forces"

Pune: A Pune-based travel firm catering to personal travel needs of armed forces, paramilitary forces and their family members, today said it will refund its customers the amount due from Jet Airways flight cancellations, without waiting for the airline to do the same.
The company did not disclose the quantum of the amount but sources said it would be around Rs. six crore.

The firm, udChalo, is a portal founded by wards of Army men and it provides for personal travel needs of armed forces, paramilitary forces and their family members.

Its employees comprise military veterans, wards of serving and retired military personnel, and paraplegic and quadriplegic veterans.

"With the global lobbying body, International Air Transport Association (IATA), suspending all ticketing activities and transactions of Jet Airways via its clearing house, the uncertainty over refund of lakhs of customers has only increased," the firm's vice president Col (Retd) D B Tingre said.
23/04/19 PTI/NDTV

SpiceJet to start 28 daily flights from April 26

New Delhi: SpiceJet said Tuesday it will start 28 daily flights connecting Mumbai and Delhi with other cities on its domestic network from April 26.
Cash-starved Jet Airways suspended operations last week and the government authorities are in the process of allocating the airport slots vacated by the full-service carrier to other airlines, including SpiceJet, amid efforts to increase capacity to meet peak season traffic.
SpiceJet said Tuesday the new flights from Mumbai are on the Mumbai-Jaipur-Mumbai, Mumbai-Amritsar-Mumbai, Mumbai-Mangalore-Mumbai and Mumbai-Coimbatore-Mumbai sectors.
Moreover, the budget carrier has also enhanced operations with additional frequencies from the city on the routes of Mumbai-Patna-Mumbai, Mumbai-Hyderabad-Mumbai and Mumbai-Kolkata-Mumbai.
"SpiceJet will also introduce two new frequencies each from Delhi to Patna and Bengaluru besides three additional frequencies on the Mumbai-Delhi-Mumbai sector," SpiceJet said.
23/04/19 PTI/Economic Times

AAI set to sue Dutch airline after Indian team misses Archery WC

The Archery Association of India (AAI) has said that it is considering legal action against Dutch airlines KLM, whose “failure to transport the Indian archery team to Colombia” for the World Cup Stage I in Medellin prevented the archers from competing in the major event.

After the selection trials in Bhubaneswar on March 18, the AAI said that it got the sanction of financial assistance from the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for the tour and got the visa for all 23 members of the Indian side.
AAI said the travel agent, Balmer Lawrie and Co., booked ‘confirmed’ tickets on KLM airlines, which told the archers that they could not get the connecting flight from Amsterdam to Medellin due to the delay in an incoming flight and expressed its helplessness in making alternative arrangement.

“The AAI officials, senior SAI officers and the travel agents worked very hard during the weekend to book the team through some other route but could not succeed as the flights were full for Easter weekend…Hence the trip was abandoned informing World Archery and local organisers of World Cup in Columbia,” said AAI in a statement.
23/04/19 YB Sarangi/Sportstar

Air India SPV approaches banks seeking lower interest rates on loans

The government's special purpose vehicle Air India Assets Holding (AIAHL) will soon ask banks to slash interest rates, from 10.5-11 percent at present to nearly 8.5 percent, on the Rs 29,464-crore working capital debt of Air India that it took over.
The loan of Air India was shifted to the SPV back in 2018 to make the airline attractive to potential buyers during the airline's divestment process. An official source told The Financial Express on condition of anonymity that AIAHL will negotiate restructuring and refinancing of the debt.

If this is approved, AIAHL will be free of interest burden of nearly Rs 300-400 crore per year, as nearly Rs 15,000 crore of the expensive debt would be recast. It is unclear whether this would be approved as banks, which includes the State Bank of India, are not obligated to cut the rates.

The decision will largely depend on the banks' management and the central government's persuasion.
On February 28, the Cabinet approved the transfer of Air India's accumulated working capital loan over to AIAHL without the backing of any asset, as a part of the strategic divestment process of the state-run airline. The airline's non-core assets like artefacts and paintings were also kept with the AIAHL, and the entity has a mandate to monetise them. Air India's total debt is reportedly at Rs 55,308 crore.
23/04/19 Moneycontrol.com

Jaipur airport: Australian arrested for carrying satellite phone; 2nd foreigner this month

Jaipur: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) arrested a foreign resident identified as Paul for carrying a satellite phone at Jaipur International airport on Monday.

Paul is a resident of Australia and was travelling to Delhi from Jaipur airport in an Indigo flight.

According to the CISF officials, the accused was caught when the scanning machine during Indigo airlines check-in baggage gave an odd signal. The scanner belt was stopped and the officials found a satellite phone in one of baggage that belonged to Paul. The accused was immediately taken into the custody.
The CISF officials handed over the accused to the police for further investigation after the necessary paperwork.

The accused did not inform anyone that he was carrying a satellite phone. Only during the security check, the matter came to light, added officials.
23/04/19 Rimjhim Jethani/PinkCityPost

Chennai airport customs officials seize gold worth Rs 13 lakh concealed in cavities of passenger’s chappals

Chennai: Customs officials at Anna International Airport here on Tuesday seized gold worth Rs 13 lakh which a passenger had concealed in the cavities of his chappals.
Based on specific intelligence, customs officials intercepted Shamsudeen Mohamed, 47, of Chennai at the exit of the arrival hall. He arrived here from Singapore in an Air India flight.
He was questioned, but his replies were evasive. When he was searched, four gold bars -- each weighing 100 gram and of 24 k purity -- were found concealed in special cavities of his chappals. They were seized.
23/04/19 Siddharth Prabhakar/Times of India