Monday, September 01, 2014

Now SpiceJet Offers Rs. 499 Fare on Domestic Network

Mumbai: Country's second largest airline by market share, SpiceJet today launched yet another limited period special fare scheme, 'Early Bird', offering customers ticket prices as low as Rs. 499 on its domestic network.

The bookings for this three-day offer commences from today with a travel validity period between January 16 and October 24 next year, SpiceJet said in a release.
SpiceJet's Next Year's Tickets Go on Sale from Rs. 499
AirAsia India Offers Fares From Rs. 1,290 on Tickets Till December
SpiceJet offers discounted flying options to destinations across the country, with one way fares starting as low as Rs. 499 (including fuel surcharge but excluding applicable statutory taxes and fees), the release said.

This sale will allow customers to enjoy low fares by planning their journey and holidays in advance.

The sale offer is applicable on all direct, via and connecting flights on SpiceJet's domestic network.
01/09/14 NDTV

India may regain its aviation safety rating from Federal Aviation Authority

New Delhi:  India may regain American aviation regulator's category 1 rating for safety standards within the next few months as the Federal Aviation Authority has agreed to another audit after appearing to be satisfied with the corrective measures that have been put in place since January when it downgraded the country.

The consent to another audit by the FAA, which is seen as the first step to restoring the category 1 status, came after a six-member team of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation made a presentation to the US regulator on Thursday.

"The FAA is satisfied with our performance and has agreed to come to India to audit us again. We have requested them to come either in September-end or October first week, but they have not given us a date for the audit yet," said a senior civil aviation ministry official, requesting anonymity.

The government hopes that the FAA will restore the category 1 status before the end of the year, another official said. The FAA had downgraded India to category 2 status after it found that the DGCA did not have enough flight operations inspectors and its officials were not trained on the type of aircraft flying in India.
01/09/14 Economic Times

Airasia india's safety chief quits, said to be moving to Singapore

Mumbai: AirAsia India's head of safety Sumant Mishra has resigned, three months after the domestic arm of the Malaysian budget airline got off the ground, sources said. The airline, however, has found the replacement, who will soon take over the position left vacant by Mishra, said a source close to the development.

Mishra was earlier the chief of flight operations for now defunct Kingfisher Airlines and joined AirAsia India in July 2013 along with 10 other Kingfisher pilots. While Capt Mishra was unavailable for comment, sources said he moved to AirAsia at a time when he had little options and is now moving to greener pastures in Singapore.

AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya said, "Capt Sumant Mishra is a dear friend and as such we don't discuss on our current employees. As we scale up our operations we would be building our scalability and strengthening our operations and changes are a critical part of the process. I am very excited about what we have planned for our operations and believe we would be continuing to develop the best class processes and systems. Capt Mishra is one of the best persons we have and we are fortunate to have him with us and in a role that would continue to allow him to grow."
01/09/14 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror

‘AirAsia India is already posting operating profits’

Bangalore:   Low-cost airline AirAsia India, in which the Tata Group’s holding company owns substantial stake, has said it is sticking to its target of achieving overall profits in October as it has already started posting operating profits.

A report by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) had earlier said that the airline had posted losses of ?26 crore for the first 18 days of its operations. But AirAsia India’s CEO Mittu Chandilya disagreed with the report, calling it “inaccurate”.

“We are very much within our targeted range of achieving (overall) profits. Our promotional seats have takers and are bringing in volumes,” Chandilya told BusinessLine. The company launched its first flight from Bangalore to Goa with promotional fares at below ?1,000.

Chandilya said that the large majority of the airline group’s reported quarterly net loss was attributed to the necessary start-up costs involved in getting approvals and permit licences from national regulators, like the DGCA in India. So viewing or projecting AirAsia India’s quarterly net loss of 13.8 million Malaysian Ringgit (roughly ?26 crore) in isolation, Chandilya said, “would be a misrepresentation of the financial performance of AirAsia India and, consequently, of AirAsia.”
31/08/14 Business Line

United Bank of India first bank to declare KFA and Vijay Mallya as wilful defaulter

United Bank of India has become the first bank to declare Kingfisher Airlines, it's promoter Vijay Mallya as well as three directors on the board of KFA as wilful defaulters.

According to a source close to the development, " the action comes after KFA officials did not show up for the meeting with United Bank's grievance redressal cell this morning at 10:30 AM." The grievance redressal committee of United bank of IndiaBSE 3.84 % is headed by the bank's executive director  D Narang. The bank is also in the process of sending formal notices to the company. Sources say the bank will also inform the Reserve Bank of India about its decision.
"Yes, we have declared Vijay Mallya and three directors as wilful defaulters," UBI executive directors Deepak Narang told ET.

Wilful defaulters are prohibited to borrow money from banks and cannot continue as a director in any company.
01/09/14 Simran Gill/Economic Times

Govt aims to make Goa aviation hub

Panaji:  Developing the state as an aviation hub is one of the key initiatives of the draft civil aviation policy likely to be released later this month.

Other important initiatives include opening up aviation training institutes in the state, encouraging aero-sports and aero-modeling activities and promoting airlines to lift more aviation turbine fuel (ATF) in Goa by way of refund on VAT on ATF.

The civil aviation policy hopes to make gains in the aviation sector, a fast growing industry in the country. Chief minister Manohar Parrikar has given glimpses of his plan in this sector in his last two budgets. In 2013, the Goa government had slashed VAT on ATF refuelling in the state from 22% to 12.5%.

He had recently told mediapersons that the civil aviation policy is ready and will be released by September-end.
01/09/14 Bindiya Chari/Times of India

India failed to take advantage of aviation boom, says Lufthansa’s Wolfgang Will

Chennai: India failed to take advantage of the fast-growing aviation market, as the country does not have enough home-grown airlines. As a result, aviation hubs have been transferred to West Asia from where major airlines have flooded the Indian market to fly passengers overseas, according to Wolfgang Will, Director, South Asia, Lufthansa.

Except for Jet Airways, there is hardly any private airline in India (excluding low-lost operators such as SpiceJet) flying on international routes.

Chinese domination
On the contrary, Chinese airlines dominate the local aviation sector, he told BusinessLine recently.

“We want to help a little bit by offering better and efficient services out of India,” he said.

West Asia carriers such as Emirates, Kuwait Airways, Gulf Air, Qatar and Etihad have a significant presence in international markets. These carriers have grown significantly by increasing frequency to various Indian cities.
31/08/14 TE Raja Simhan/Business Line

Modi Govt Raises Pitch to Improve Air Connectivity

Bangalore: The Union government is looking to increase air connectivity by implementation of various measures like slashing of VAT on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) as well as making state governments as major stakeholders to promote connectivity in the sector.

Profitability in the civil aviation sector has been hit due to high taxes on ATF, which accounts for almost 40 per cent of operations. Improving air connectivity has also been one of the mandates given to Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to reports, the ministry has identified 87 regional ‘incentive destinations’ and made it mandatory for scheduled airlines to mount capacity which is at least equal to the capacity deployed on trunk routes by October 2015, agencies reported.

Scheduled carriers would have to deploy at least 6 per cent of their capacity on trunk routes, normally shorter duration flights to remote areas.

There are at least five-six new airlines awaiting final clearances to join the list of scheduled operators in India. Tata-Singapore airlines venture  Vistara, Air Pegasus and Turbo Aviation among others are at different levels of approvals currently.
01/09/14 New Indian Express

‘Ministry didn’t seek secretary transfer’

Just three weeks after the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over-ruled the civil aviation ministry’s recommendation for a two-year extension of tenure for Air India chairman and managing director (CMD) Rohit Nandan, the government has transferred civil aviation secretary Ashok Lavasa to the environment ministry despite the fact that its own civil aviation ministry had not recommended any such transfer. However, the aviation ministry has accepted the transfer without any objections. Mr. Lavasa, an IAS officer of the 1980 batch belonging to the Haryana cadre, was appointed the environment secretary on Friday and senior IAS officer of the 1979 batch belonging to the Kerala cadre V. Somasundaran was appointed the new union civil aviation secretary.
01/09/14 Asian Age

Can SpiceJet's COO Sanjiv Kapoor turn around the cash-strapped airline?

On June 25, four men associated with low-cost airline SpiceJet came by Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, which houses the aviation ministry, in central Delhi for a closed meeting with the new minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati.
The group had the ceremony of a high-level delegation, but would wait for nearly an hour because the minister was being interviewed — rather profusely — by a television journalist.
Three members of the group, senior executives of SpiceJet, settled on a beige sofa in a cramped room and killed time by attending to their phones. Their easy mien showed they were used to waiting at the ministry.

The fourth, SL Narayanan, chief financial officer of SpiceJet's parent company, Sun Group, the media conglomerate based in Chennai, clearly wasn't. He seemed antsy, occasionally throwing a glance at his watch.
31/08/14 Binoy Prabhakar/Economic Times

Dreams with wings: Interesting and innovative flying machines

Hyderabad: It’s an irresistible lure that stirs the senses, fires dreams and hooks one for life. The call of the road. The pull of the deep waters. The dare of mighty mountains. The challenge of the sky. Bound to terra firma, man has always been fascinated by the idea of taking wing and soaring across the azure sky. Since ages, millions have dreamt of flying, but it is only the quest of a few that has led to the invention of various flying machines — ranging from the bizarre and whimsical to the technically sound and commercially viable models. So, what is it that sets these dreamers apart? An extreme passion for flying, a thirst for adventure and then of course, a pair of wings — that’s the minimum you need for a vertical takeoff.

A number of aviation-crazy Indians are now aiming to reach new heights — by creating interesting and innovative flying machines. For the first time, the annual Red Bull Flugtag (German for Flight Day) competition will take place in India this September, in Bengaluru. Thirty-seven teams will attempt to fly their self-created flying machines.
31/08/14 Vishav/Deccan Chronicle

Jet Airways launches travel & business networking platform GlobalLinker for SMEs

Jet Airways has launched a new digital travel and business networking platform as a part of its website, called the Jet Airways GlobalLinker exclusively for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), reports the Economic Times.

The service will provide SME business owners with preferential pricing for Jet’s airline business along with offers for hotel booking, car rental, business insurance, assistance services, telecom and business solution, events & group travel, domain name and website builder solutions. The GlobalLinker platform provides these services through partnerships with firms like Airtel business, BigRock, Carzonrent, CPP India and JL hotels among others.

Once SMEs sign up on the platform they will be able to use it as the company intranet. It also provides standard social media-like features geared towards business users such as email, integrated calendar, electronic documents manager, etc. to help manage business tasks and meetings. Jet Airways is expected to eventually seek regulatory permission to allow users of the website to engage in small time trading.
01/09/14 Media Nama

SpiceJet to Launch Daily Bangkok-Kolkata Flights

SpiceJet has confirmed it will launched a daily flight between Bangkok and Kolkata on 25 September 2014.
To celebrate, SpiceJet is offering an all inclusive introductory promotional one-way fare of THB 1,499 (Bangkok-Kolkata). The promotion is for limited period. Terms and conditions apply.
 Mr. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, SpiceJet Ltd, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to announce our new flight between Bangkok and Kolkata. We believe there is tremendous opportunity in the Bangkok-Kolkata market, and this flight will also connect our Bangkok-origin customers to and from other Indian destinations.
01/09/14 Asia Travel Tips

Five people arrested for stealing aviation fuel

Nagpur: A Sonegaon police team has arrested five people, including driver of a carrier vehicle, for their alleged role in stealing fuel meant for aviation sector on Saturday. The gang used duplicate key to unlock the fuel chambers of the carrier to steal the expensive combustible fluid before it was delivered.

Police, having earlier information, laid a trap before nabbing five members of the gang while they were in the process of siphoning off the fuel from the vehicles near fire exit of the aerodrome. It was learnt that gang later disposed off fuel as kerosene or petrol in the black market. The carrier vehicles, after refilling the tankers from Khapri, would deliver the fuel at the airport.
01/09/14 Times of India

Jet Aviation Dubai appoints Prabhat Gummadi

Jet Aviation Dubai has named Prabhat Gummadi as its new maintenance director.
Gummadi will be responsible for overseeing operations at the Jet Aviation Dubai maintenance and AOG facility. He will report to Hardy B├╝tschi, vice president and general manager of Jet Aviation Dubai.
Gummadi begun his professional career with Air Works India Engineering based in Mumbia, India, where he served as senior/avionics engineer from 1998 through 2005.
Gummadi has numerous AME licenses and significant experience with Beechcraft, Cessna, Dassault Falcon, Boeing, Gulfstream, Bombardier and Embraer aircraft. He holds a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and is currently completing a master’s degree in aircraft maintenance management with City University in London, England.
01/08/14 Corporate Jet Investor

Saturday, August 30, 2014

‘SpiceJet hid incidents, made risky pilot trainer’

New Delhi: Training junior pilots to fly passengers — safely — is an article of ultimate faith, with only captains with impeccable risk-free records being given the job. But a skeleton has now tumbled out of a big airline's cupboard which shows that it reportedly kept promoting a senior pilot in trainer rank as he committed one incident after the other.

What's worse, the airline did not report these incidents to the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) and the clueless regulator kept endorsing the pilot's status as trainer whenever the airline wanted!

This serious violation happened on SpiceJet when a senior pilot of its Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft reportedly had two violations. The low cost carrier — instead of reporting them to the DGCA — asked the regulator to make him a trainer after the first incident and then after the second and even more serious incident asked him to be made a synthetic flight instructor (SFI, who trains on simulators).
An unaware DGCA acceded to the airline's request both times, possibly justifying global fears over its poor oversight capabilities because of which it was downgraded by the American Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year.
30/08/14 Times of India

Now, airlines' frequency to under-served regions linked to international flying rights

New Delhi: The government is likely to link an airlines' frequency of service in under-served regions like Kashmir and the Northeast to the international flying rights it is allocated.
Such a move is expected to not only incentivise airlines' operations in under-served regions, which are considered loss-making but also help streamline allocation of international flying rights.
"In the event of any liberalised scheme permitting international routes for domestic airlines, (the) government could consider imposing proportionate obligatory operations to remote and regional areas for such airlines, which would be notified separately," says a draft route dispersal guideline, which has been put up on the civil aviation ministry's website for public comments.
A civil aviation ministry official said such a move could act as catalyst and airlines may add capacity in underserved regions to get allocations in key international routes, which is going to be difficult with more airlines coming into operation. An industry executive said such a step will not only increase connectivity to under-developed regions but also bring in a formula to decide on international allocations for Indian carriers.
30/08/14 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Centre scraps light utility helicopter tender, opens it to Indian players

New Delhi: The government on Friday scrapped a tender worth Rs 6,000 crore to procure 197 light utility helicopters from foreign vendors for the armed forces and decided to allow domestic players to manufacture these helicopters.
Scrapping the tender, the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley put the acquisition under the “Buy and Make Indian” category, allowing the Indian industry to make the helicopters under a joint venture with a foreign manufacturer.
This is the second defence tender under the new government to be opened to the Indian industry. Last month, the government had opened the process to develop 56 transport aircraft to the domestic private sector.
The scrapping of the tender is significant as former defence minister A K Antony had deferred a decision on it following the VVIP helicopters scam. Investigations into the scam had also revealed alleged kickbacks in the light utility helicopters procurement process.
30/08/14 Pranav Kulkarni/Indian Express

Air taxis to help airlines meet small-town quota

New aviation norms will dramatically affect the way airlines operate — as well as their bottom line — as they mandate that, in another two years, airlines have to fly as much on regional routes as they do on trunk routes.
In the process, a new formula has been suggested to achieve this, one which will give a fillip to non-scheduled airlines like Invision Air and Freedom Airways which could now have code-sharing arrangements with the likes of Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Indigo.
While airlines are still studying the impact of the guidelines — an executive of one of the top three domestic airlines said implementation would be a challenge given the losses they made — KPMG’s India head of aerospace Amber Dubey said that “the draft policy shows greater understanding of the genuine problems being faced by airlines”. Amber added the obligations — an equal capacity has to be deployed on trunk and non-trunk routes by winter 2016 — seemed “a bit excessive”.
The industry has accumulated losses of R49,000 crore — only IndiGo and GoAir are currently recording profits, while both Jet and SpiceJet reported losses of over R4,000 crore and R1,003 crore in FY14.
The term Category I/II /III airports has been given up in favour of trunk and regional routes, so an apples to apples comparison is difficult. Broadly speaking, if airlines fly around a third of flights in regional routes right now, this has to be increased to half by winter 2016. If an airline has 100 available seat kilometres (ASKMs) deployed in trunk routes by winter 2016, a similar amount have to be deployed in regional routes.
30/08/14 Indian Express

Airlines claim some airports charging for landing small planes

New Delhi: Some Indian airlines have claimed that they had to pay landing charges for small aircraft at several airports where rules do not permit such payments and urged the government to look into the matter and help them improve connectivity to non-metro cities.

According to aviation sources, some airlines have already raised the issue with the Civil Aviation Ministry and Airports Authority of India ( AAI) in the recent past.

They have stated that they had to pay between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000 per landing at several airports where these payments are not permitted according to rules.

The airports include all major metro airports as well as almost two dozen non-metro ones.

In this regard, the sources also quoted AAI's 2014-15 document on 'Charges for Airports and Air Navigation Services'.
30/08/14 PTI/Economic Times

Two Indian Airlines officials held guilty of cheating, jailed

New Delhi: Two officials of then Indian Airlines were convicted for cheating the airline by making bogus bills under contributory family medical scheme (CFMS) and causing loss to the company, a lawyer said on Saturday.
Central Bureau of Investigation Special Judge Brijesh Kumar Garg has sentenced Ashok Kumar Sehgal, who was working as a senior accounts assistant here, to four years in jail while N. Bhattacharjee, a former assistant manager, engineering was sentenced to one year in jail in the case dating to 1989-90.
The two were convicted for hatching a conspiracy to cheat Indian Airlines and criminal misconduct.
According to CBI, both the accused dishonestly and fraudulently received a sum of Rs.4,015 towards bogus CFMS claim from the airlines during 1989-90 by abusing their position.
30/08/14 IANS Live

Government scraps seven year-old global tender for acquisition of 197 helicopters

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government swung into action on Friday, scrapping a seven-year-old global tender worth thousands of crores for the acquisition of 197 helicopters for the Army and Air Force after allegations of corruption.

The cancellation of the global tender for the 197 helicopters floated way back in 2007 by the UPA-1 government was perhaps the most significant step on Friday. This is for the second time in seven years that the global tender for this proposed acquisition was cancelled. The deal was worth $600 million when the tender was issued in 2007, but it is estimated that the cost may have gone up at current prices to about $1 billion (about Rs 6,000 crores).

This time the cancellation was done after allegations earlier that an Army brigadier involved in the field trials had demanded a huge bribe from one of the foreign vendors. The tender for this acquisition was cancelled originally in 2007 after alleged irregularities following which a fresh tender was issued which has been cancelled now. Of the 197 helicopters, 133 were believed to be for the Army and the remaining 64 for the IAF.

The European Eurocopter and the Russian Kamov helicopters were in the fray for the deal. The light-utility helicopters were meant to be a replacement to the ageing fleet of Chetak and Cheetah helicopters that carry troops and equipment to high-altitude areas such as the Siachen glacier. But just two weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged from the ramparts of the Red Fort to boost indigenous manufacturing, the ministry of defence (MoD) said the acquisition of the 197 helicopters would now be as per the “Buy and Make (Indian)” category which essentially means that an Indian company can enter into a Joint Venture (JV) with a foreign firm and then bid for the contract.
30/08/14 Deccan Chronicle

CIAL to go for 4:1 rights issue

Kochi: The 20th Annual General Meeting of Cochin International Airport Limited held in Kochi on Friday decided in favour of the airport company going for a rights issue.

“The State government has a very open mind to the demand for a rights issue. Considering the recurring demand from the share holders, steps will be taken to issue shares to the existing shareholders at a proportion of 4:1 and at a price of around Rs.50,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said after the 20th Annual General Meeting of the company. The announcement came even as the minority shareholders were gearing up to corner the company director board for not considering the long-pending demand.

Company officials pointed out that the proposal for rights issue at 4:1 (one for every four shares) required a green signal from the company AGM.

Devasikutty Padayatil, general secretary of Shareholders’ Organization of Cochin International Airport Limited (SOCIAL), said minority shareholders were demanding issue of shares at par (1:1).
30/08/14 Hiran Unnikrishnan/The Hindu

Can SpiceJet's COO Sanjiv Kapoor turn around the cash-strapped airline?

On June 25, four men associated with low-cost airline SpiceJet came by Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, which houses the aviation ministry, in central Delhi for a closed meeting with the new minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati.

The group had the ceremony of a high-level delegation, but would wait for nearly an hour because the minister was being interviewed — rather profusely — by a television journalist.

Three members of the group, senior executives of SpiceJet, settled on a beige sofa in a cramped room and killed time by attending to their phones. Their easy mien showed they were used to waiting at the ministry.

The fourth, SL Narayanan, chief financial officer of SpiceJet's parent company, Sun Group, the media conglomerate based in Chennai, clearly wasn't. He seemed antsy, occasionally throwing a glance at his watch.
When the interview finally ended, the group almost barged into Pusapati's office carrying a large bouquet of what looked like white lilies, a big box wrapped in glossy paper and copies of in-flight magazines. Pusapati was set for another long meeting and for sometime it appeared that the TV journalist who still hung around would feel cheated.
30/08/14 Binoy Prabhakar/Economic Times

Not Delhi Or Mumbai, Bangalore Is Airlines' Favorite Hub

Bangalore: Bangalore is the IT hub of the country, a city where one can find people from around the country and also from around the globe. The industry most flourishing from this exodus of people is the airlines.

Bangalore Airport is becoming the busiest and most-sought after destination for airlines to fly their aircrafts from, apart from Delhi and Mumbai.
The two airports, Delhi and Mumbai are already holding the prestigious place constituting over 35 percent of all domestic traffic and is barely left with any capacity left with low-cost carriers utilizing the space. This is making the low-cost carriers turn towards Bangalore; with AirAsia deciding upon making Bangalore its hub of operations in the country, reports Rediff.

AirAsia challenged the domestic market leader IndiGo by operating most of its flight with cheap rates from the main hub Bangalore. With small carriers making its way to Bangalore, full-service carries and big airlines are following suit. Air Costa, a regional airliner has also joined the line-up. From June to the end of the year, as many as 64 additional flights will connect the city to existing as well as new destinations. According to Bangalore International Airport officials, the airport witnessed 12 percent growth in traffic between January and May this year as compared to the same period last year. Mittu Chandilya, the CEO of AirAsia India, says the decision to locate the airline's hub to Bangalore instead of Delhi or Mumbai was driven by the latent potential in the city. Bangalore known as the country’s Silicon Valley is experiencing high diversity of people and providing a great potential for Airlines to expand their wings to start new popular and in-demand prospective destinations like Chandigarh, and Patna, which have no direct flights available.
30/08/14 Indolink

Maharashtra extends proposal date for Navi Mumbai airport

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has extended the last date for submission of 'Request For Proposal' (RFP) for the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport till Oct 30, an official said Friday.

The RFP, floated in February this year, was amended by the project management committee comprising officials of the central and state governments. The RFP outlines the bidding process and contract terms.
After incorporating a fresh set of conditions and other requirements for the bidders, the last date for submitting the RFP has now been extended to Oct 30, said the official connected with the project.

The Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) on mainland across the harbor is one of the flagship mega-projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It is designed to decongest the existing Mumbai International Airport.

Slated to be the one of the biggest 'Greenfield' international airports in the world, the NMIA will offer world-class facilities for passengers, cargo, aircraft, airlines and allied services.
30/08/14 IANS/Economic Times

New demands take flight

Pune: Taking into consideration what looks like increasing demand from Pune-based commuters to reach varied tourist destinations in minimum time, it appears airline companies have recently started providing several domestic flights from here, connected via well-frequented metro cities.

Over the last two months, airline companies introduced around nine such connected domestic flights — all of which have been getting an overwhelming response, they say.

In August, Spice Jet launched its first Pune-Mysore flight via Bangalore — it facilitates reaching destinations like Ooty, Kodaikanal, Coorg and others. Previously, to reach these locations, a Bangalore flight would generally be followed by road transport — this, however, was inconvenient because of heavy Bangalore traffic.

Nilesh Bhansali, director of the Travel Agents Association of Pune (PAAT), explained, "To tackle this problem, Spice Jet introduced the Pune-Mysore flight via Bangalore some days ago. This departs early in the morning and reaches by afternoon, after a one-hour halt at Bangalore airport. People prefer to halt at the airport rather than getting stuck in traffic, as it saves their time and energy."
30/08/14 Sukirt Gumaste/Pune Mirror

Shocked Air India says website blocked by US, Indian cos in wake of Rs 100 ticket offer

New Delhi: Air India's website, which went down two days ago after the airline offered a special fare of Rs 100, was apparently blocked by a few sites in India and abroad for a considerable time.
An unprecedented 80,000 hits a minute were recorded from some sites which blocked Air India bookings by genuine passengers, the national carrier's Information Technology (IT) team found during internal investigations.
The IT team identified at least four sites in India, four in the United States and one in Singapore, which were blocking others from getting into the ticket booking engine, airline sources said.
The massive hits led the website's NIC server to turn erratic, they said. Almost all Indian-government websites are developed and managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
Following the massive load on its website, the airline increased the number of its servers from four to eight, the sources said, adding a large number of tickets were sold at the offered rate but did not elaborate.
30/08/14 PTI/Financial Express

Three flights delay disturbs passengers

Indore : The passengers of three airlines got disturbed on Friday evening due to the flight delay at the Devi Ahilya Bai International Airport.
Jet Airways evening Delhi-Indore-Delhi flight JAI 2793 arrived to the city airport at 21.05 hour and flew back to Delhi at 21.35 hour, while its scheduled arrival and departure timing is 20.40 and 21.10 hour. Similarly, Air India’s flight AIC-636 arrived from Delhi at 20.10 hour and departed to Mumbai at 20.40 hour, while its scheduled arrival and departure timing is 19.30 and 20.05 hour.
30/08/14 Freepress Journal 

Haj pilgrims face ordeal as Air India flights get delayed

Mangalore: The fourth group of Haj pilgrims to Mecca who had arrived early in the morning at Mangalore International Airport had to wait for over five hours due to delay in the flights.
Nearly 130 pilgrims were to fly to Madina by two planes. The Haj committee had asked the pilgrims from different places to arrive at the airport.
Though the pilgrims arrived at the airport in time, they had to wait as the flight arrived late. It is alleged that Air India officials gave evasive replies to their queries. The relatives of the pilgrims expressed anguish at the indifference of the airline staff.
The Air India officials said initially that the flight was delayed due to technical reasons. When asked about the other flight, they said they had no information on it. The Haj committee said that Air India was responsible for the ordeal the pilgrims had to face.
30/08/14 daijiworld.com

Mobiles top items left at Kolkata airport

Kolkata: hould you ever feel bored, simply go to the lost and found section of the Central Industrial Security Force's website and look up Kolkata airport. The list of items that passengers leave behind at the airport is certainly worth a read. Mobiles, including I-Phones, top the list of items left behind by passengers.

A couple of months ago, the CISF took the trouble to list even a yellow 'wedding garland', probably left% behind by newly-weds. It cannot be said for sure whether somebody returned to the airport to collect it but people certainly do when they leave behind their expensive laptops, cameras and mobiles.

"Nearly 80% of people come back to claim their goods. Our efforts have been very successful. A large number of items are left behind by passengers. We don't decide what is important and what isn't. We simply inform people of the things left behind. That is why we started uploading lists on the CISF website," a senior official of the Kolkata airport said.
30/08/14 Jayanta Gupta/Times of India

Nagapattinam man held for hoax calls to city airport

Chennai: The airport police have apprehended a 36-year-old man who made calls to Chennai airport, claiming Pakistan-trained terrorists would attack the terminal.

The police said he is a habitual offender who has been booked on earlier occasions too, including in 2007, when he claimed a bomb would go off at Tiruchi airport.

Abdul Karim, a resident of Thittachery in Nagapattinam district, made two telephone calls to the office of the manager of Chennai airport on Monday and Wednesday.

“The first time, he identified himself as Stephen from Bangalore, and threatened that Pakistani terrorists would blow up the place,” said an investigating officer.
30/08/14 The Hindu

Man held with 1.8 kg gold at IGI airport

New Delhi: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) Saturday arrested a passenger for illegally carrying 1.8 kg of gold at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here, an official said.

Nadim Ali, in his 40s and a resident of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested after the gold was recovered from him Saturday morning, the official said.

“Nadim arrived at IGI from a Kuwait flight. He was seen entering a washroom located near the international arrival de-boarding gate-15 of terminal-3. Suspecting his activities, the washroom was checked from where a wallet was recovered,” said a CISF official.
30/08/14 Odisha Sun Times