Tuesday, March 02, 2021

New promoters plan to restart Jet Airways with 25 aircraft in the first year

The new promoters of Jet Airways plans to connect regional cities to international destinations, and are exploring the possibility of starting the airline with 25 aircraft in the first year.

The UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan along with Kalrock Capital had emerged as the winning bidder for acquiring the Jet Airways under a debt resolution process.

The bid has been approved by Jet’s bankers and is awaiting final approvals from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the Indian government.

“We plan to start international routes within the first year itself. Our vision is to connect regional cities to 5-6 international destinations. It could include Dubai, Thailand, and Singapore. We see potential in small places like Patna, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow etc for short-haul outbound air travel, and we wish to tap that,” Jalan told The Hindu BusinessLine.

“Our plan is to restart the airline within four months of the NCLT approving our plan. We want to keep the legacy and glory of Jet Airways, and thus, it will be a full-service carrier.”

Instead of Mumbai, the airline’s hub will be Delhi /NCR, he added.

The new promoters had initially said that they planned to restart the airline’s operation by April 2021, but the proceedings at NCLT has been delayed.

According to reports, there is no clarity regarding Jet Airways’ slots. The insolvency court had sent the notice to the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) and ministry of civil aviation (MOCA) seeking clarity over Jet Airways’ slots.

02/03/21 Eastern Eye

IndiGo Sharjah-Lucknow Flight Makes Emergency Karachi Landing; Ailing Passenger Succumbs

IndiGo Airlines on Tuesday informed that its flight 6E 1412 while on its way from Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) to Lucknow (India) was diverted to Karachi (Pakistan) due to a medical emergency. Unfortunately, the ailing passenger's life could not be saved and he was declared dead by the airport medical team. The airline also expressed condolences to the family of the passenger. 

An official statement issued by IndiGo Airlines stated "IndiGo flight 6E 1412 from Sharjah to Lucknow was diverted to Karachi due to a medical emergency. Unfortunately, the passenger could not be revived and was declared dead on arrival by the airport medical team."

02/03/21 Srishti Goel/Republic World

UAE: Family forgets Covid info form; barred from boarding India flight

Dubai: An Indian citizen and his aged parents missed their Dubai to Mumbai flight on Tuesday morning as they didn't fill the Air Suvidha self-declaration form, Khaleej Times has learnt.

Media professional Aakash Chaturvedi and his parents, aged 63 and 58 respectively, were not allowed to board the Air India flight AI1948, which departed from Dubai at 11.30am to Mumbai, Maharashtra. The family was in Dubai for a month to visit their relatives.

Chaturvedi said he and his parents, and at least eight other passengers, were not allowed to board the flight since they had not registered on the Air Suvidha portal and were not carrying copies of the mandatory self-declaration form.

Meanwhile, top Air India officials pointed out that as per the new travel regulations set by the government of India, which came into force on February 22, passengers will not be allowed to board the flight if they are not carrying the required documents.

An official in Dubai told Khaleej Times: “We are following the practice set out by the national carriers in the UAE. It is mandatory that all passengers carry two copies of the self-declaration form and the RT PCR report.”

Though Chaturvedi tried to register on the website while he was at the airport with the help of airport staff, the site kept crashing causing the family to miss their flight. “We arrived at the airport at 9am. At the check-in counter, we were told we cannot board the flight unless we have the form. I tried to register at the airport, but unfortunately, the site kept crashing. We could not even reach the immigration check counter,” said a distressed Chaturvedi.

When he requested for help, ticketing officials at the airport directed him to a counter where the staff were offering to fill the form and provide copies for Dh35 per passenger. “I paid the money as well, however, due to technical glitches on the website, we ended up missing our flight,” he said.

02/03/21 Dhanusha Gokulan/Khaleej Times

Driverless pod taxis to connect Jewar international airport with Greater Noida

Greater Noida: Uttar Pradesh government has decided to connect the upcoming international airport in Jewar with Greater Noida using pod taxis. A popular mode of transport in many western countries, pod taxis accommodate four to six people per car and are driverless.

The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) said that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will develop the pod taxi service connecting Greater Noida and Jewar. A Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be presented in this regard soon.

"We already have Metro connectivity till Greater Noida but Jewar is about 25 kilometers from Greater Noida city. To bridge this gap, pod taxis are being considered. Pod taxis are a revolutionary mode of transport widely being used in many western countries," said Dhirendra Singh, BJP MLA from Jewar in Greater Noida.

The estimated cost of the pod taxi project is an estimated Rs 50-60 crore per kilometer.

So far, the upcoming airport in Jewar is connected through two major expressways, the Yamuna Expressway and Eastern Peripheral Expressway, which connects northern and southern areas around the national capital region. In December of last year, the UP Cabinet had approved the bid by Zurich Airport International for the development of the Jewar airport.

02/03/21 Abhishek Anand/India Today

Coming in six weeks: JetSetGo's aircraft leasing arm, possibly India's first

Private charter provider JetSetGo's aircraft leasing unit will begin operating from GIFT City in the next six weeks, possibly making it the first Indian lessor.

The country, despite having the second largest aircraft order in the aviation industry, is yet to have its own aircraft leasing company.

"We are waiting for the final paper work to get over. Our aircraft acquisition programme is already underway," JetSetGo Founder Kanika Tekriwal told Moneycontrol.

The airline is in talks to buy six aircraft, at least two of which may be leased through the upcoming unit. "Charter services in the country have picked up very well ever since domestic flights resumed in May 2020. Right now, demand is higher than supply," Tekriwal said, pointing to the timing of the new initiative.

The private jet aggregator at present has a fleet of 12 planes and four helicopters.

That is a shot in the arm for the Indian government that has been pushing GIFT City as a global financial centre. JetSetGo is one among six companies who have shown initial interest in setting up leasing units in GIFT City. These include SpiceJet, Acumen Aviation, VMan Aero and Investec.

This is after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced tax benefits for aircraft lessors setting up base at GIFT City. Till now, Indian airlines lease aircraft from lessors in Ireland, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Earlier this week, IndiGo, which has among the largest fleet expansion plans in the world, signed an agreement with Singapore-based BOC Aviation, which is controlled by Bank of China, for eight new aircraft.

The leasing subsidiary is part of JetSetGo's long-term plans, which include expanding operations in India and other markets, including the Middle East.

The service provider plans to buy pre-owned aircraft in the US and Europe through its leasing subsidiary, which allows it the flexibility to tap customers both in India and overseas.

"There is an increasing preference for private charters among HNIs in India. Many more companies are opting for charters for their chief executives. Given the present disruption in flight services, charters give a high degree of flexibility," said Tekriwal.

02/03/21 Prince Mathews Thomas/Moneycontrol

Villagers put up stone plaque near airport to claim land

Ranchi: Over two dozen tribals installed a stone plaque at a plot of land near Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Sunday stating that the land belongs to the gram sabha and panchayati raj laws should be enforced there as per the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension of the Scheduled Areas Act), 1996.

The land, sources said, was handed over to spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s organisation, The Art of Living, by the former Raghubar Das-led government in Jharkhand. While some media reports claimed the members of the gram sabha performed Pathalgadi, an ancient tribal custom of erecting stone slabs in memory of ancestors, police clarified the tribals were only demanding their rights as per provisions of the law.

“What they did today (Sunday) was not Pathalgadi. They were demanding the right of gram sabha over the land under PESA,” said Ranchi SP Saurav, who goes by one name.

Pathalgadi, sources said, was a similar practice, but it was slightly different from what the gram sabha members did on Sunday near the largest airport in Jharkhand. In Pathalgadi, a tribal custom of installing stone plaques at the village borders, the activists claim that the land is beyond the executive powers of the state and that rules framed by tribal bodies must prevail there.

The Pathalgadi movement resurfaced this month in the state with some tribal groups attempting to erect stone plaques near the Jharkhand High Court and also handing over a memorandum to Governor Droupadi Murmu seeking her nod to perform the custom near the Vidhan Sabha as well. The tribal protesters claimed that 13 Jharkhand districts fell in Scheduled Areas and should be therefore beyond the executive powers of the government.

02/03/21 Telegraph

IndiGo Sells 8 Airbus A320neos To BOC Aviation For Leaseback

Indian low-cost giant IndiGo has signed a sale-and-leaseback agreement with BOC Aviation for eight new A320neos. The planes will be delivered in the second half of 2021 and feature CFM engines. Let’s find out more about this deal.

IndiGo is no stranger to leasing aircraft, with most of its 284 aircraft fleet acquired through leasing deals. The latest agreement with Singapore-based BOC Aviation signals a deeper partnership between the two aviation firms as IndiGo takes on more aircraft in the next few years.

The agreement includes sale-and-leaseback of eight new Airbus A320neos, set to be delivered in the second half of this year. The planes will also feature CFM LEAP-1A engines, IndiGo’s most recently ordered engine after the Pratt & Whitney engine debacle.

In a statement about the latest sale-and-leaseback, BOC Aviation CEO Robert Martin said, “We are delighted to partner once again with IndiGo, India’s largest passenger airline, as we continue to support our airline customers to finance their aircraft deliveries…This incremental capital expenditure also reflects our disciplined investment strategy throughout the cycle, focused on building a portfolio of latest technology aircraft.”

For those who may be unfamiliar, a sale-and-leaseback (SLB) is a financial method wherein airlines sell their aircraft to lessors and then lease the same plane back for use. Since many airlines order hundreds of aircraft at a time, they usually receive significant discounts on the list price.

With SLB deals, airlines receive a boost of cash from the profit they make while selling the plane to lessors. This way, airlines can operate dozens of aircraft with relatively lower upfront capital costs and continue expanding. Moreover, to keep fleets young, airlines can return their planes to the lessor after a fixed period.

The last year has seen a flurry of sale-and-leaseback agreements as airlines look to raise capital. Carriers like Air Canada, Air France, and Cathay Pacific have all opted to sell their owned planes and lease them back for a profit. BOC Aviation in particular  has been busy, signing deals with Wizz Air, United, Cathay, and many more.

02/03/21 Pranjal Pande/Simple Flying

Coming Up: Gujarat’s Largest Airport

The Airport Authority of India has released a Rs. 987 crore tender for Phase 1 of Dholera International Airport.

It will be aligned with a Fire-Station of Category 9 and will incorporate a runway with a length of 3200mts x 45mts which will be suitable for Type 4E Aircrafts. 

The Dholera Airport will be located in the north of the DSIR (Dholera Special Investment Region) and is expected to cater to not only DSIR and its hinterland, but also to traffic overflow from the Ahmadabad international airport.

Gujarat comprises three international airports, out of which Ahmedabad is the busiest one airport in Gujarat and the 7th busiest in India.

The lack of an international airport in the Saurashtra region and its vicinity will make Dholera international airport strategic and advantageous in many ways. The upcoming airport will be an advantage for the aerospace, defence and manufacturing industries who look forward to investing in the greenfield industrial smart city of Dholera and provide greater impetus to tourism and travel in Gujarat.

“The proposed Dholera International Airport project would serve the logistic requirement of upcoming Dholera SIR besides handling the spill over traffic from existing Ahmedabad Airport in future. This will propel an airport led economic growth in the entire region in line with other Aerotropolis worldwide. In the coming years this International Airport will help boost the entire Aerospace Ecosystem in the state of Gujarat” said Manoj Das, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) in Chief Minister’s office (CMO) and in charge ACS, industry and mines department. 

02/03/21 Outlook Traveller

India inks air bubble deal with Uzbekistan and Seychelles

India has inked air bubble agreements with Uzbekistan and Seychelles. Following this, India now shares bilateral travel arrangements with 27 countries including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, UAE, UK, and the US.

Indian carriers and carriers of Uzbekistan are now permitted to operate flights between India & Uzbekistan and India & Seychelles

See deatils >>

'Airlines continue to bring back stranded Indians from Saudi Arabia'

New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said India's airlines continue to bring back the stranded Indians from Saudi Arabia.

However, flights from India are not ferrying any passengers to Saudi Arabia due to entry restrictions imposed by the Middle Eastern country.

"Our citizens are travelling to & from 27 countries with whom we have air bubble arrangements," Puri tweeted.

"Some countries, including Saudi Arabia, have placed entry restrictions on Indian citizens among others. However, VBM flights continue to bring back Indians from Saudi Arabia."

In another tweet he said airlines will only be able to ferry passengers to Saudi Arabia, once entry restrictions to the Middle Eastern country are removed.

"Our planes are flying empty to Saudi Arabia & are bringing back our citizens stranded there."

"We will be able to carry Saudi Arabia bound passengers once the travel restrictions on Indians are eased by Saudi Arabia."

02/03/21 IANS/Sify

Flyers from 4 states seek clarity after ‘no check’ of RT-PCR reports at Kol airport

Kolkata: Heading towards Kolkata, flyers from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Telengana, who ran helter-skelter to get their Covid tests done during the weekend, were surprised when some airlines allowed them to proceed just on the basis of their Covid status on Arogya Setu app. This also included those flyers who failed to get their tests done and expected to be stopped at the airport.

“I didn’t know the need of a Covid test report to fly back home and by the time I was informed about the matter on Sunday, it was too late to undergo the test and get the report. I took a chance and reached the Mumbai airport where I was only asked to fill up an Arogya Setu form by airport officials and none asked me for any other report. As I reached the Kolkata airport, none sought any test report from me,” said Mangala Bala Sarkar, a 56-year-old homemaker who came back to her Rishra home on Monday.

Jayanta Maity, a resident of Howrah, on the other hand, had called up multiple private labs before heading to a government hospital in Mumbai last Saturday only to manage the RT-PCR report by Sunday evening for him, his wife and daughter. He even carried print-outs of all the test reports but he was disappointed as none asked for it while he was entering the airport. “I myself showed the print-outs to the officials both in Mumbai and Kolkata, though none had asked for it,” said Maity.

02/03/21 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

Air India Resumes Flights to Moscow

Air India resumed regular flights to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on February 27 on the Delhi – Moscow route. Flights to Moscow will operate on Saturdays, with arrival at 22:35 Moscow time. The flight to Delhi will operate on Sundays, departing at 18:50 Moscow time. Air India will serve the route on a modern Airbus A320neo aircraft. The flights will be operated from Terminal D.

The resumption of direct Air India flights from Delhi to Moscow will satisfy pent-up demand in both India and Russia. Statistics show that this route is popular with business travelers, students and tourists. The renewal of direct flights between Moscow and Delhi is also expected to encourage and create opportunities for tourism between Russia and India.

Air India customers will be able to appreciate the wide range of superior services available at Sheremetyevo Airport. The business class lounge in Terminal D is a winner of the prestigious Business Traveler Russia and CIS Awards in the category of business travel. It offers a buffet, a bar, the latest newspapers and TV, Wi-Fi, shower rooms, a children’s playroom and a meeting room.

An official celebration of the inaugural flight took place at Sheremetyevo when representatives of the airport management greeted the crew with flowers in a solemn atmosphere. Passengers departing Sheremetyevo for Delhi on February 28 were given a celebratory check-in experience.

02/03/21  Iuliia Tore/RusTourismNews

Air India likely to operate flights between Muscat & Vijayawada from May first week

Vijayawada:  Air India has reportedly sought permission from officials of Vijayawada International Airport to provide a slot for operating non-stop flights between Muscat and Vijayawada thrice a week for six months from March 28 to October 30.However, due to the ongoing expansion works of international terminal building taken up at an estimated cost of `1.5 crore, the proposal may get delayed by two months. 

“We are hoping the AAI will examine the proposals and okay the flight services between Muscat and Vijayawada from May first week,” Vijayawada airport director G Madhusudana Rao said. 

Sources said the airliner has come up with the proposal after examining the number of footfalls to Vijayawada from UAE through special flights operated under Vande Bharat Mission. In its proposal, the airliner has sought permission to provide a slot as part of its summer special services. As per the proposed schedule, the flights will be operated thrice a week from Muscat to Vijayawada and later proceed to Tiruchirapalli. 

Madhusudana Rao said in the past few years, the number of passengers travelling abroad from coastal districts have increased. During Covid-19, the airport handled special flights arriving from Dubai, Kuwait, Doha, Saudi Arabia, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi under Vande Bharat Mission. 

02/03/21 New Indian Express

1kg gold seized at airport

Coimbatore: Customs officials seized a 1kg gold bar valued at 47.65 lakh from a man at the Coimbatore International Airport on Monday.

Balu of Sivaganga had left for the Gulf on February 21 in search of job, an official said. “When he ran out of money there, someone asked him to smuggle the gold bar in return of 30,000 and free air ticket. Balu had landed here in an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah.”

02/03/21 Times of India

Monday, March 01, 2021

Air India cancels all pilots’ leaves to add flights as domestic travel touches new post-Covid high

New Delhi: In a sign that more flights, perhaps even international, could be allowed soon, Air India has cancelled leaves of its pilots with immediate effect. The airline sent an order to its pilots on Monday, saying “all leave for cockpit crew stands withdrawn with immediate effect. However, leave may be granted in extreme cases depending on the urgency on a case to case basis.”

Senior AI officials say the airline has taken this step as the number of flights operated by the divestment-bound Maharaja are going to increase soon. The government has allowed airlines to operate upto 80% of their pre-Covid levels of domestic flights and has indicated the cap may be removed in coming summer schedule if the Covid situation continues to remain in control overall.

Scheduled domestic air travel is reviving after being allowed to resume on May 25, 2020, following a two-month suspension. Aviation minister H S Puri said February 28, 2021, saw 3,13,668 domestic passengers on 2,353 flights — the highest single day number since resumption of domestic flights last May.

If this trend continues then the summer schedule that gets into force in March-end could see the 80% cap on domestic flights and fare bands go.

Scheduled international flights, that were suspended on March 23, 2020, continue to remain suspended. However, India has allowed international flights to and from air bubble countries and on Vande Bharat Mission operations. So far bubbles have been created with over 25 countries.

01/03/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Can you pay month's dues to pilots: Delhi High Court asks Air India

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed Air India to inform it whether the airline can, in an interim arrangement, pay a month's salary to the pilots who have challenged the termination of their contractual employment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justice Prathiba M Singh asked the lawyer appearing for the airline to seek instructions "for payment of one month's salary immediately, as an ad-interim arrangement, especially in view of the difficulties being faced by the petitioners (pilots) during the COVID-19 pandemic".

The court was hearing two pleas moved by the pilots, through advocate Lalit Bhardwaj, for quashing an April 2, 2020 order suspending their services and the subsequent order of August 7, 2020 by which they were all terminated.

Justice Singh, referring to the facts of the case, said that it was "prima facie clear that the suspension, which was issued in April 2020, was nothing but termination for which one month notice was to be issued as per the contract".

The court, however, said that it was leaving open for now the question of whether the contracts were rightly terminated or not and listed the matter for hearing on March 25.

Bhardwaj, during the hearing, said that Air India, on November 23, 2020, was asked by the court to take instructions on whether the terminated contractual pilots can be paid one month's salary as an interim arrangement.

The contention was refuted by Air India's lawyer who claimed the plea was not maintainable as the subject matter of the disputes are private contracts and there is no public function involved.

However, the lawyer appearing for the Ministry for Civil Aviation and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told the court that the airline had in fact been asked to seek instructions on paying one month's salary to the terminated pilots.

28/02/21 PTI/Business Standard

The Key to Cheaper Flights? It's In Your Baggage

Travelling within the country usually costs you an arm and leg. But here’s the loophole you have been looking for since forever. If you have light cabin baggage or no baggage at all, you can avail yourself discounts on your flight tickets as announced by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. All you need to do is let them know the weight of your cabin baggage when you purchase your tickets.

“As part of airline baggage policy, scheduled airlines will be allowed to offer free baggage allowance as well as ‘zero baggage/no check-in baggage fares.’ This will be subject to the condition that the passenger booking ticket under such fare scheme is made aware of the charges that shall be applicable if the passenger turns up with the baggage for check-in at the airline counter”, announced the DGCA recently.

In addition, a reasonable fee will be levied and the passengers will be notified of the same through messages and on the hard copies of their tickets.

Facilities such as preferential seating, drinks, snacks and meals, lounging areas might also see a new arrangement since the aviation industry suffered a great loss when the pandemic hit. DGCA also shared, “Considering the fact that unbundling of services and charges thereto has the potential to make basic fare more affordable and provide consumers an option of paying for the services which he/she wishes to avail, it has been decided to be unbundled and charged separately.” The airlines are in charge of deciding the rates.

01/03/21 Outlook Traveller

Hyderabad Airport adjudged as 'Best Airport by Size and Region' in Asia-Pacific region for 2020

Hyderabad: GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) has bagged Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) award for 2020. Hyderabad Airport has been adjudged as the 'Best Airport by Size and Region' in Asia-Pacific region for 2020, in its category of 15-25 Million Passengers Per Annum (MPPA).

Airport Service Quality is the world's leading airport passenger service and benchmarking programme measuring passengers' satisfaction while they are travelling through an airport, GHIAL said in a statement on Monday.

"This achievement is a testament to the untiring efforts of our stakeholders including DGCA, CISF, BCAS, AAI, Immigration, Customs, Airlines; our employees and all business partners/vendors, who have worked unnerved during the testing times of the Covid pandemic," said Pradeep Panicker, CEO - GHIAL.

"In terms of passenger experience, Covid-19 has taught us many lessons. We adopted the best in-house technology to make flying more safe and provide a superior customer experience and the ACI ASQ Award is a testimony to our efforts. This award is a collaborative effort of engagement by all stakeholders who exhibited unflinching courage in the face of the pandemic," said SGK Kishore, ED-South and Chief Innovation Officer, GMR Airports.

01/03/21 IANS/India TV

Noida airport signs state support agreement with UP govt

Mumbai: Noida International Airport (NIA) and the UP government of UP signed a state support agreement on Monday. The agreement lays down the state government’s support to establish and continuously improve surface access to the airport, establish and expand utilities required to run the airport like water, electricity, waste water, maintain law and order, including monitoring at the airport and grant the necessary clearances to build and operate the airport, said a press statement released by NIA. NIA is envisaged to become India’s first net zero emission airport.

Christoph Schnellmann, Chief Executive Officer, Noida International Airport said, “Surface access to the airport will be critical and we are delighted to see the government’s strong commitment to this aspect with the early development of the Metro extension from Greater Noida to NIA airport terminal, the integration of an airport terminal station for the upcoming Delhi Varanasi High Speed Rail Link, as well as the link highway to the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway”.

In early October the Government of Uttar Pradesh signed the concession agreement with Zurich Airport International (ZAIA) to commence the development of the Noida International Airport at Jewar for a period of 40 years. ZAIA received the security clearance from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to develop the Noida International Airport at Jewar in May 2020, after winning the contract to build and operate Noida International Airport (NIA) in Greater Noida in November 2019. 

01/03/21 Manju V/Times of India

SBI may enter aircraft leasing business, looking for partners

New Delhi: State Bank of India, the country's biggest lender is evaluating options to enter the aircraft leasing business after the government, in the Union budget for 2021-22, had announced incentives for aircraft leasing companies to open offices in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (Gift City), an international financial services centre, near Ahmedabad.  

“We are evaluating options to handle aircraft leasing business in Gift City subject to regulatory approvals and viability,” the Economic Times quoted Ashwini Tewari, managing director – international banking, technology and subsidiaries, at SBI as saying.

As the state-owned lender does not have any expertise in running an aircraft leasing business, it is looking for a foreign partner for the proposed venture, the publication mentioned citing people familiar with the development.

“SBI does not have the expertise of running an aircraft leasing business and the bank is looking for a foreign partner that has the expertise in the sector,” the business daily quoted an unnamed person as saying.

The leading public sector bank’s entry into the business is on the lines of Bank of China, which entered the market as part of a plan by the Chinese government to develop China as a leasing hub for aircraft.

Worth mentioning here is that Bank of China has become one of the largest aircraft leasing companies in the world and is also the third-largest in India in terms of the number of aircraft leased. The company has leased more than 25 aircraft to various airlines in India.

With the announcement of incentives, at least five companies have shown interest in opening aircraft and helicopter leasing companies at Gift City, the ET report said.

International aircraft asset management company Acumen Aviation and Mumbai-based aviation service firm Vman Aero are said to be setting up an aircraft leasing shop. To start with, these companies will look at Indian airlines for business, the publication mentioned citing sources. They have about 1,000 aircraft on order and currently lease planes through leasing firms based out of Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore among others.

01/03/21 ETNowNews.com

In Piyush Goyal's pursuit, Airbus has an opportunity Vs Boeing

The occasion to make the announcement was a strange one. But if the Indian government, as Union Minister Piyush Goyal mentioned during his address at Toy Fair 2021, is pursuing Airbus to set up a manufacturing aircraft in India, the timing would be just right for the European aviation giant.

"...I'm actively pursuing Airbus to try and get them to come to India to start manufacturing aeroplanes in India," said Goyal.

Airbus could use the opportunity to cement its dominance in the world's second largest market in terms of aircraft order, over its American rival Boeing. Especially when Boeing, which has been on the back foot since the grounding of its Max 737 aircraft, may have dropped the plan to set up a manufacturing base in India, as per this report.

"Why not? They produce in China and the US. India is now one of their largest A320 markets," said Sanjiv Kapoor, Senior Advisor, Alton Aviation; former COO SpiceJet and CSCO, Vistara, when asked about the possibility of Airbus setting up a manufacturing shop in India.

The A320 aircraft, which is used by IndiGo and GoAir, has helped Airbus keep the lead over Boeing when it comes to commercial aircraft market in India. And it will want to keep it at that.

According to Boeing's own estimate in 2019, Indian aviation market will need 2,380 new commercial airplanes valued at $330 billion in the next 20 years. Though COVID-19 may have clouded that estimate by a bit, the India's domestic aviation market has been among the fastest on the recovery road. And IndiGo, one of the biggest Airbus customers globally, has stayed on its massive fleet expansion plan.

If that is so, why has Boeing trimmed its India plan? "Boeing has lost its way," says a senior executive from the Indian aviation industry.

Though the Max 737 has slowly made a comeback in some parts of the aviation map, Boeing continues to suffer from the aircraft's grounding. And if COVID-19 made recovery all the more difficult, its planes continue to be involved in incidents - not all because of its fault - giving it bad press.

01/03/21 Prince Mathews Thomas/Moneycontrol

Chandrababu Naidu detained at Tirupati airport while on his way to attend election campaigning

New Delhi: Dramatic scenes played out at the Renigunta airport near Tirupati on Monday when police blocked Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu from proceeding to carry out his programs. Naidu was seen arguing with senior police officers and even staging a sit-in for not been allowed to proceed further. A senior police officer sat beside Naidu and pleaded with folded hands to convince the former chief minister to refrain from his plans.

The high drama follows the police's denying permission to Chittoor district TDP president Pulivarthi Venakatamani Prasad to organise a protest which was supposed to be attended by Naidu.

The protest was planned on Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Chittoor.

"Under Covid-19 regulations, huge gatherings are not allowed. Model code of conduct for urban local body election is in effect. This is an agitational programme and not in the nature of an election campaign and thus not permissible under MCC," said a police official denying consent.

TDP planned to rope in 5,000 cadres for the protest but the police also cited traffic issues on national and state highways for their denial.

"Any violation of this order will be strictly dealt with in accordance with the law," police warned.

01/03/21 India TV

Airport set to get exclusive terminal for Haj pilgrims

Kolkata: Plans are afoot to set up a low-cost terminal at Kolkata airport for exclusive use by Haj pilgrims. To be located next to the quarters used by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to the south of the integrated terminal, the Haj terminal will have to be accessed from VIP Road through a road that leads directly to it.

“We are in the process of preparing the plan for a functionally efficient Haj terminal for dedicated use during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Once the terminal is ready, we can demolish the old domestic and international terminals that now serve the Haj pilgrims. This will pave the way for the next phase of the Kolkata airport expansion,” said Kolkata airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee.

While Air India used to earlier operate flights to Saudi Arabia during Haj, the flights are now operated by Saudia, formerly known as Saudi Arabia Airlines. In 2019, 2 lakh Indian Muslims went for Haj, of which around 9,000 were from Bengal. In 2021, the Haj committee decided to allow only half the number to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

At present, the pilgrims put up in the Haj house in New Town where the check-in formalities are completed. They are then ferried to the airport for security check, immigration and Customs.

Sources said the proposed terminal would be around 40,000 sq ft with two thirds allocated for departure and a third for arrival.

Both departure and arrival will be housed in the ground level. The pilgrims will then be transferred in coaches to the Saudia aircraft stationed in the remote bay.

01/03/21 Subhro Niyogi & Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

DB Schenker commences India air cargo charter service

DB Schenker has commenced its India air cargo charter service, which is part of its Global Flight Operations Program launched to bridge the capacity gap.

Boeing 747 freighters will be used for the service to transport cargo between India, Europe and the US (Munich—Chennai—Chicago RFD).

Cargo carried on the flights will include healthcare and temperature-sensitive pharma, e-consumer, automotive and industrial products.

Vishal Sharma, chief executive of DB Schenker, India and Indian sub-continent, said: “The introduction of our second flight operations is a significant step towards reinforcing our Global Flight Operations Program to meet the growing logistics demand of the customers in India.

“Our flight operations initiative started in early 2020 was highly appreciated by the customers. We are continuing the operations in 2021 also by introducing newer routes, offering timely and streamlined last-mile deliveries to customers.”

Keku Bomi Gazdar, chief executive of Airport Authority of India Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited, added: “It is a proud moment for us that today at Chennai airport we have added one of the largest global freight forwarders as our customer in India by connecting India to the Europe and the US.”

DB Schenker’s Chicago RFD—Munich—Tokyo—Seoul air charter service was launched last month.

Last year, DB Schenker rapidly expanded its air cargo charter network as it looked to tackle capacity shortages caused by the grounding of passenger flights.

01/03/21 Rachelle Harry/aircargo news

IATA to launch travel pass this month; in talks with Indian authorities

New Delhi: To provide easier air travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, global airlines' body IATA plans to launch its travel pass by the end of March and is also in talks with Indian authorities and carriers for using the pass in India.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has around 290 airlines as members, including Air India, Vistara, IndiGo and SpiceJet.

The IATA Travel Pass will be a mobile app to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel in line with government requirements for COVID-19 tests or vaccines.

There is a need to have a global and standardised solution to validate and authenticate all country regulations regarding COVID-19 passenger travel requirements.

IATA Regional Director for Airports and External Relations (Asia Pacific) Vinoop Goel told PTI that the pass will move existing paper processes to a digital platform and joins it with up-to-date information on entry requirements. This will also make the process more convenient and help avoid fraudulent documentation.

"There will be paper-based alternatives for people who do not have mobile phones, albeit less convenient ones. IATA is already managing health requirements through its Timatic solution, so IATA Travel Pass is a natural evolution to support the industry during the pandemic," he noted.

The first cross-border pilot project for the pass was announced at the end of 2020. The iOS and android launch is slated for the end of March 2021 and IATA is working as fast as we can with airlines to bring it to market, Goel said.

To contain spreading of coronavirus infections, restrictions on cross-border movement of people are in place in various countries. There are also strict requirements such as carrying COVID-negative certificates for overseas travellers.

01/03/21 PTI/Business Standard

Airlines industry awaits guidelines for vaccinated passengers

New Delhi: Many countries, including India, might have embarked on ambitious vaccination drives to curb coronavirus infections, but the airline industry is still waiting for global guidelines on overseas travel for individuals vaccinated against COVID.

    An official of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Monday told PTI that regulations and restrictions to travel are determined by governments, but expressed hope that governments will consider relaxing travel restrictions for vaccinated persons.

    A global airlines' grouping, IATA has nearly 290 members, including Air India, IndiGo, Vistara and SpiceJet.

    While air traffic is picking up in different parts of the world, regulations on travel are decided by respective governments of countries and there are expectations that the World Health Organisation (WHO) might come out with global guidance that will help air travel of vaccinated passengers.

    Currently, countries have different rules for international passengers, including that they need to carry COVID-negative certificates and quarantine themselves for a specific period.

    In mid-January, the Travel Agents' Association of India (TAAI) had written to the Indian government, urging it to come out with guidelines for travellers, both domestic and international, who have been vaccinated against COVID.

    The grouping, which has more than 2,500 Indian companies that are actively involved in tourism as members, is awaiting directions from the government on requisite travel protocols.

    TAAI President Jyoti Mayal told PTI that it is awaiting directions from the government on travel protocols for people who have been vaccinated against COVID.

    "Different countries and authorities have a different set of rules. At present, there is no clarity regarding the travel of vaccinated people to and from India," she said.

    IATA Regional Director for Airports and External Relations (Asia Pacific) Vinoop Goel said regulations and restrictions related to travel are determined by governments, adding that it hopes that the governments will consider relaxing travel restrictions for vaccinated persons.

    He was responding to a query on whether there are SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for people who are vaccinated against COVID and want to travel abroad.

    He pointed out that IATA does not certify vaccinations and that is the purview of respective governments and their departments of health.

    "But we are also looking to WHO to provide global guidance to avoid issues such as the one mentioned above. But we also envisage that there will be alternate protocols (e.g. testing) to cater to passengers who may not have been vaccinated as per the destination country requirements," he said.

    The reply was to whether there was any particular list of vaccines being recognised globally by the airline industry and IATA. He was also asked what will be the SOPs in case a vaccinated person wants to travel to another country, where that particular vaccine taken by the person is yet to be approved.

    IATA is also developing the 'IATA Travel Pass', a mobile app to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel in line with government requirements for COVID-19 tests or vaccines.

01/03/21 PTI/The week

IGP (Kashmir) reviews security grid at Srinagar airport

Srinagar: Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar on Sunday reviewed the security grid of Srinagar airport in view of the recent attack in the city here, police said.

In view of the attack in the city, the IGP Kashmir visited the Srinagar international airport and reviewed the comprehensive security grid of the airport, a police spokesman said.

The IGP Kashmir was accompanied by Director Airport and senior officers of police, CRPF and CISF along with Regional Director BCAS.

Kumar was briefed by the accompanying officers about the various security measures in place for the safety and security of the airport, the spokesman said.

He said that while interacting with the officers, the IGP Kashmir discussed the initiatives taken for the maintenance of security at the airport.

Kumar stressed on the officers to ensure better synergy and coordination among different security agencies deployed for the security of airport so as to avoid any untoward incident.

28/02/21 PTI/Outlook

Displaced due to Jewar airport will be rehabilitated in a better way: Yogi

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the rehabilitation of the families, who will be displaced during the construction of Jewar airport in Noida, is the priority of the government as there should be better rehabilitation mechanisms as the whole process should be carried out after consultation with the families. 
 The Chief Minister issued these directions while reviewing the progress of the project on Monday on the occasion of the signing of the State Support Agreement between Yamuna International Airport Private Limited and Noida International Airport Limited constituted by Zurich Airport International AG, the chosen developer for Jewar Airport. 
 CM said that the population of Nagla Ganeshi and different hamlets of village Rehi coming on the way of the proposed runway should be shifted first. 
“This issue should be addressed by March 6. The process of allotment of plots of displaced population should be conducted with complete transparency. It should also be broadcast live,” CM said. CM said that a committee should be constituted for the rehabilitation process under the chairmanship of Additional Commissioner Meerut Division. 
It will be appropriate to nominate retired IAS and retired judges as observers. “Even the Chief Minister's Office should regularly review the work of the Jewar Airport project,” CM said. The District Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar told the Chief Minister that 48.0979 hectare of land has been arranged in Jewar Bangar for rehabilitation of the displaced population.
01/03/21 UNI 

Jet fuel prices up by steep 6.5%

New Delhi: Jet fuel prices on Monday were hiked by a steep 6.5 per cent on the back of a rally in international oil prices.

Aviation turbine fuel or ATF price was hiked by Rs 3,663 per kilolitre, or 6.5 per cent, to Rs 59,400.91 per kl in the national capital, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

This is the third increase in jet fuel prices since February. Rates were increased by 3.6 per cent on February 16, and by Rs 3,246.75 per kl on February 1.

The increase in rates will add to the margin woes of airlines who continue to operate flights at less than capacity, amid pandemic-driven travel restrictions.

Brent crude oil prices on Monday rose to USD 65.49 per barrel - the highest in more than a year - on optimism in the global economy and on hopes for improving oil demand as vaccines are being rolled out.

01/03/21 PTI/Business Standard

New Vijayawada airport terminal works worth Rs 611 crore gain steam

Vijayawada: Works for the much-awaited integrated terminal, to be built at Rs 611 crore, at Vijayawada International Airport near Gannavaram have begun. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has entrusted the task to New Delhi-based NKG Infrastructure Limited, and the project is likely to be completed by 2022.In 2018, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu performed the bhoomi puja for the new terminal building spread over an area of 31,000 square metres. 

Of the total cost, Rs 460 crore will be spent on the new domestic terminal building, Rs 60 crore on an air traffic control (ATC) tower and Rs 54 crore for building aero-bridges and other facilities.Airport director G Madhusudana Rao told TNIE that the terminal handled around 11 lakh passengers every year before the pandemic. Since March last year, the terminal has handled around 9 lakh passengers. Recently, member of a board under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, K Venkateswaralu, and AAI officials carried out a ground-level inspection at the terminal premises and took stock of the progress of the integrated terminal building works. 

Expressing satisfaction over the progress of the project, Venkateswaralu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi may inaugurate the new terminal building on August 15, 2022.On the facilities to come up at the new facility, Rao said as per the plans, the new terminal building can accommodate 400 foreign and 800 domestic passengers at a time.It will have 24 check-in counters, six aero bridges, 14 immigration and four custom counters, and a 24X7 CCTV monitoring cell. The contractor will also take up apron works at an estimated cost of Rs 27.5 crore, which will facilitate in parking of large aircrafts, such as Boeing 777 and 747, the airport director said.

01/03/21 Sistla Dakshina Murthy/New Indian Express

Couple lands at KIA with iPhones worth Rs 2.8 crore; held

Bengaluru: In the biggest bust of cellphone smuggling so far at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), a couple with 206 iPhones worth a whopping Rs 2.8 crore in their baggage has landed in the custody of Bangalore Customs sleuths.

The accused, who are of Indian origin with the US passports, arrived in Air France AF 194 at the airport in the wee hours of Saturday. An MUV and 37 bankcards have also been seized from them.

Sources said officials found something amiss about the baggage of the 49-year-old man and his 38-year-old wife and a detailed examination revealed numerous small black boxes. They contained 206 sealed iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max cellphones worth Rs 2,74,19,400 in the Indian market, sources added.

The couple had left for France from Mumbai on February 13, 2021 and came to Bengaluru with large quantities of smuggled iPhones.

Officials suspect they were acting at the behest of an international smuggling racket with strong links in Bengaluru and the phones were for illegal sale here. Probe revealed the couple had a Maruti Ertiga MUV meant for transportation of the smuggled items. They were also in possession of 37 credit and debit cards of various banks.

On Sunday, they were produced before a magistrate which remanded them in judicial custody till March 12.

01/03/21 Petlee Peter/Times of India

Mangaluru International Airport accounts for 95.12 kg gold seizure in four years

Mangaluru: From 2017 onwards, 95.12 kg of gold was confiscated till now at the airport here when the yellow metal was being smuggled. This gold was seized from the passengers arriving from the Gulf countries. This information was provided by the assistant commissioner (customs) here to a query under the Right to Information Act.

He also said that after undertaking steps as enumerated by Customs Act 1962, the gold so seized is being disposed of from time to time.

The airport customs staff had found gold being smuggled into India through the airport in the forms of chocolates, chewing gum, intricate weaving in burquas, face cream, makeup kit, electronic equipment, pen, napkin, stuffed into the wheels of trolleys, and in liquid or tablet form stuffed into the rectum, beside some other forms.

As much as 19.45 kg gold out of the above was recovered during 2017-18, 41.58 kg in 2018-19, 22.37 kg in 2019-20 and 11.72 kg in 2020-21 till January. The total value of this gold is Rs 32.98 crore.

01/03/21 Daijiworld