Wednesday, October 01, 2014

New international airports remain underserved, underdeveloped

The Indian civil aviation minister's push for greater domestic regional air connectivity in India has highlighted another, more complex, issue: that of the underdeveloped and under-served international airports in the country.

On October 4, 2012 the union cabinet declared airports at Lucknow, Coimbatore, Trichy, Mangalore and Varanasi as international. Close to two years hence, the international air traffic at the airports combined, account for slightly more than 4% of total passenger traffic and 0.48% of the total international freight in the country. They are served by 3-4 airlines out of more than 50 that fly to India.

Two of these airports--Mangalore and Trichy cannot accomodate wide-bodied planes, three of them don't have a separate terminal for international passengers, most have very basic air traffic control systems and none of them have amenities like pre-paid taxis, foreign exchange outlets, wi-fi connectivity or even mobile charging points.
01/10/14 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Engine crack grounds Dreamliner in US

Mumbai: Air India has deferred inducting the 17th Dreamliner into its fleet as the aircraft experienced tech nical trouble in Charleston, South Carolina in the United States during test flight on September 24, forcing a team of four AI pilots to return to Mumbai without the airplane.

This is the second such glitch in the procurement process: In July, another team of pilots and engineers had to leave behind the 16th Dreamliner at the Seattle headquarters of Boeing, which manufactures the aircraft."During a test flight, it developed an engine problem due to a crack. Given the issue, Air India did not take possession of the Dreamliner," a Boeing official said.

The Air India team, which was on board the pre-delivery test flights, flew to Delhi and then Mumbai on September 26 as the new plane was sent back to the factory to rectify certain major technical issues, airline officials said. The national carrier has ordered 27 of these airplanes and 16 have been inducted into its fleet. AI expects deliveries of three more by the end of the year. "Of the 16 owned by Air India, seven are dry-leased," an airline spokesperson said, referring to a common practice in commercial aviation, as part of which the airline only operates the aircraft, while crew, maintenance and other operations are outsourced to another operator.
01/10/14 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror 

Alcor keen to invest Rs 15,000 cr on helicopter unit

Bhubaneswar: US-based Alcor Inc, a maker of precision aviation products, is keen to invest Rs 15,000 crore in Odisha on a manufacturing and assembly unit for helicopters.

The proposed facility has promised employment for around 5000 people in a span of seven years.

To consider different aspects of the proposal, the state chief secretary G C Pati has convened a meeting on October 14.

Alcor Inc is a family owned business that has been in operation since 1957.

A leader in the world of exhaust gas temperature (EGT), cylinder head temperature (CHT) and turbine inlet temperature (TIT) sensor development, Alcor is recommended by the most well-known original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of both digital engine monitors and aircraft.

Alcor sensors are compatible with the vast majority of engine monitors, from the classic analogue instrumentation to the most current glass panel systems.
01/10/14 Business Standard

Air Pegasus keen to start flight services from Hubli

Hubli: Air Pegasus is keen to start its operations between Hubli and Bangalore, said sources in the airport authority here.

A team of the Bangalore-based startup on Monday visited Hubli airport to assess flight safety measures. Air Pegasus is also awaiting route approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). "Air Pegasus will make its plan clear once it gets clearance from the DGCA," said a source.

K M Basavaraj, director, Hubli airport, confirmed that a team of Air Pegasus visited Hubli airport. "As Hubli airport is being developed as an international airport, some private airlines are showing interest to start their services from Hubli. Air Pegasus is one among them... They might start their operations here once widening of the runway is complete," he said.
01/10/14 Basavaraj F Kattimani/Times of India

Goa Cabinet clears RFQ document for new airport

Panaji: The Goa Cabinet today approved the request for qualification (RFQ) document for the proposed greenfield airport in North Goa's Mopa village.

The Cabinet meeting was presided over by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The government will invite applications for RFQ in order to shortlist experienced and capable applicants to execute the project.

"The applicants' competence and capability will be established by taking into account their technical capacity and financial capacity.
01/10/14 PTI/Business Standard

Govt Issues Order on Land for Industrial Estate, 2nd Airport

Bhubaneswar: The State Government has asked Khurda district administration to identify 10,000 acres of land for establishment of an industrial estate.

The Khurda administration has also been asked to identify land for the proposed second airport. The land identified for the two purposes will be handed over to IDCO.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had rejected the proposal of the State Government for establishment of international airport near Khurda. The pre-feasibility study conducted by AAI had stated that the proposed site of airport on over 2,000 acres of land around 40 km south of the Capital near Jankia and Malipada villages was not feasible. The State Government has now started searching for an alternative land for the airport.

The Government has also decided to clear encroachments from the Capital for which it has constituted an enforcement monitoring committee (EMC) to be headed by BDA vice-chairman. It will include officials from General Administration Department, Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) as its members.
01/10/14 New Indian Express

Lufthansa announces superjumbo A-380 flights to Delhi

New Delhi: After Singapore Airlines and Emirates, Lufthansa today announced the launch of flights of the superjumbo Airbus A-380 to India from here later this month.

The German carrier's A-380 services would begin from October 27 between Frankfurt and Delhi, with the aircraft being configured to carry 520 passengers in three classes - eight in First Class, 92 in Business Class and 420 in Economy.

Currently, Singapore Airlines and Emirates operate A-380 in India from Mumbai and Delhi airports. Singapore Airlines introduced superjumbo flights in May this year while Emirates began its first A-380 service in July.

"The A-380 is the world's largest commercial passenger jet and offers the finest in terms of flying comfort, luxury and efficiency. With the new A-380, Lufthansa customers will be able to experience Lufthansa's latest in-flight products and services including the state-of-the art First Class," the airline's Director South Asia Wolfgang Will said here.

The Lufthansa superjumbo would depart from Delhi at 0330 hours to reach Frankfurt at 0720 hours. On its return leg, it would start from Frankfurt at 1340 hours and arrive Delhi at 0130 hours on the next day.
01/10/14 PTI/Economic Times

Jet Airways: Trying new strategies, yet to deliver

The past year and a half has been tumultuous for Jet Airways. It saw Etihad's investment, a record annual loss (2013-14) of Rs 4,129 crore and a nearly 60 per cent drop in its stock price – in 12 months, the scrip is down 27 per cent.

The operating environment has remained tough and competition has intensified, resulting in Jet losing passengers and market share. A financial turnaround with the Etihad partnership and debt restructuring has not fully materialised.

The stock began rising from October-November 2012, as the airline management started the negotiations with Etihad to sell 24 per cent stake. By January 2013, when the airline first confirmed the talks, the stock had risen to Rs 607, a rise of 75 per cent over the October 2012 price. In April 2013, when it signed the Rs 2,057-crore deal, the stock reached a high of Rs 688.60. Since then, it is in a downtrend; it currently trades around Rs 212.
01/10/14 Aneesh Phadnis  &  Ram Prasad Sahu/Business Standard

Integrated fuel facility at Mumbai International Airport gets CCI nod

New Delhi: Fair trade watchdog CCI has approved setting up of an integrated aviation fuel facility in Mumbai by a joint venture of three state-owned oil firms and Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd after they agreed to put in place measures to prevent anti-competitive practices.

Indian Oil Corp Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation LtdBSE -0.11 %, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation LtdBSE 1.16 % and Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd would form an equal joint venture.

Post execution of shareholding pact between them, each would have 25 per cent stake in Mumbai Aviation Fuel Farm Facility Ltd, which is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mumbai International Airport.

The green signal has come after the Competition Commission of India (CCI) sought clarifications on many occasions from the concerned parties since the watchdog had earlier formed a prima facie opinion that the deal would be anti-competitive.
01/10/14 PTI/Economic Times

Airport Authority of India to renovate Surat airport in Gujarat

Airport Authority of India (AAI) has announced plans to renovate Surat airport in the western state of Gujarat to lend a modernised look and enhance air connectivity.
Surat airport, located in Magdala that is 11km south-west of the city of Surat in Gujarat, has been chosen among the other 28 metro and non-metro airports, reports The Times of India.
Spread over 312ha, Surat airfield is equipped with night landing facilities and an Instrument Landing System (ILS), as well as navigational facilities like DVOR/DME and an NDB. Currently, the airport caters to scheduled airline services, as well as private aircraft and is also home to a flying training school.
Needed improvements at the airport include capacity expansion to handle up to seven jets and extension of the runway to 4500m and a second runway.
01/10/14 Airport Technology

CIAL registers net profit of Rs 124.37 crore

Thiruvananthapuram: Cochin International Airport Ltd, which runs the Nedumbassery airport at Kochi, has recorded a net profit of Rs 124.37 crore for 2013-14 fiscal, an increase of 11.68 per cent from the previous financial year.

Total earnings of the Airport for the year was at Rs 361.39 crore, a 17.9 per cent growth compared to last year. A total of 54 lakh passengers travelled through the Airport during the period, a CIAL statement said

It also said the new under construction Rs 850 crore terminal would be completed within two years.

CIAL today paid a dividend of Rs.17.76 crore to the government for the shares held by it.
01/10/14 PTI/Business Standard

Kerala government gets Rs.17.76 crore profit from Cochin airport

Thiruvananthapuram: Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), the country’s first green-field airport in the public-private partnership mode, Wednesday handed over a cheque of Rs.17.76 crore to the Kerala government as its share of profits for the last fiscal.

Excise Minister and CIAL Director K. Babu handed over the cheque to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the CIAL chairman.

“Each and every investor in CIAL, including the state government has by now recovered 132 percent of their investment, by way of dividends that have been received by them,” Chandy told reporters in Cochin.

In the last fiscal, CIAL had made a profit of Rs.123.37 crore after tax, which was 11.68 percent higher than that for the 2012-13 financial year.

CIAL Managing Director V.J. Kurian said a new terminal costing Rs. 850 crore will be functional in two years’ time.
01/10/14 IANS/The Hindu

Flying training school at Jakkur reopens

Bangalore: Three months after operations were suspended over glaring safety concerns, the cloud of uncertainty that was hanging over the future of the Government Flying Training School has finally cleared. The training school at Jakkur Airfield has restarted normal flying operations after getting the government nod, bringing cheer to many flying students.

Training operations at the school were suspended on June 8 after a 22-km elevated expressway built adjacent to the airstrip was found to be a major safety threat — the expressway reduced the operational portion of the runway by half.

Fixed wing aircraft like Microlites and Cessnas require a long runway distance before picking up speed and taking off. The expressway was perceived as a threat and flying operations were suspended, officials said.
01/10/14 Kushala S/Bangalore Mirror

Anti-airport Panel to Intensify Stir

Pathanamthitta: The Aranmula Anti-airport Coordination Committee has decided to intensify agitation against the government move to sell 48 acres of revenue land, public roads, streams and ponds located in and around Aranmula, to the KGS Group, the promoters of the Aranmula airport project.

Addressing a news conference here on Tuesday, Coordination Committee leaders P Prasad and A Padmakumar said that the 48 acres of area spread over Aranmula, Kidangannur and Mallapuzhassery villages were already identified for sale to the airport company at a price of `12 crore. They said that the move was taken under the patronage of the Chief Minister by Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, Industry Minister P K Kunhalikutty, K Sivadasan Nair MLA, industries principal secretary P H Kurien and District Collector S Harikishore.
01/10/14 New Indian Express

AirAsia India pens new global distribution agreement with Amadeus

Bangkok: Amadeus, a leading technology partner for the global travel industry, and AirAsia India, the newest Low Cost Carrier in India, announce a new agreement making AirAsia India content available to Amadeus-connected travel agencies worldwide.

AirAsia India is the most recent member of the AirAsia group to make their content, schedules and fares available through Amadeus. AirAsia India will benefit from Amadeus’ light ticketing technology allowing travel agencies to view and compare AirAsia India fares in the same screen as full-service carriers. Thanks to light ticketing technology, travel agencies can book AirAsia India in Amadeus, faster than via any other booking channel.

Mittu Chandilya, CEO, AirAsia India, said, “In the fiercely competitive Indian aviation industry, Amadeus will help set us apart from the competition. With their unmatched global network of travel agencies and industry expertise, we are confident that Amadeus will be the ideal partner to support our ambitious growth targets.”
01/10/14 Theodore Koumelis/Travel Daily News

MH370: Search operations to resume from Wednesday

New Delhi: Search teams will resume the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 off the Australian coast from Wednesday.

The teams will use new three-dimensional maps and underwater devices to assist their search efforts on the floor of the southern Indian Ocean, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

One of the largest international aviation searches in history has been under way after MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board on March 8 this year.

According to the Australian Safety Transport Bureau (ASTB), which is leading the search, a Malaysian ship, GO Phoenix, is expected to arrive at the newly defined search area far off the Western Australian coast on Wednesday and stay for 20 days before refuelling.

On Thursday, a second ship, the Fugro Discovery, will arrive at Fremantle to join the search.
30/09/14 India Today

Vistara takes delivery of second Airbus A-320 aircraft

New Delhi/Mumbai: In quick succession, Tata- SIA joint venture Vistara, which is awaiting a flying permit from aviation regulator DGCA, has taken the delivery of the second Airbus A-320 aircraft, barely a week after it received the first.

The aircraft landed at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport yesterday, sources said.

Vistara had taken delivery of the first aircraft on September 24 and it plans to have a fleet of five Airbus 320s by March next year.

Vistara had taken delivery of the first aircraft on September 24 and it plans to have a fleet of five Airbus 320s by March next year.

The airline, which had indicated launching its flight services by mid-October, has deferred the launch by few weeks to undertake flight tests or these planes and non-completion of some technical documents, which are required before granting the Air Operator Permit (AOP).
01/10/14 PTI/Economic Times

Air India inducts B-787 Dreamliner on Chennai-Singapore sector

Chennai: Air India today inducted the B-787 Dreamliner on the Chennai-Singapore sector.

The airline replaced the Air India 342/343 aircraft operating in the Mumbai-Chennai-Singapore-Chennai-Mumbai sector with AI 346/347 on the Chennai-Singapore-Chennai sector, a press release said.

Accordingly, AI 346 would leave Chennai at 11.30 hours and reach Singapore 17.55 hours local time.
01/11/14 PTI/Business Line

Greenfield road project to Kannur airport cannot be abandoned: Minister

Kannur: Rural development minister K C Joseph said that the Greenfield road project, which is part of the upcoming Kannur International Airport, cannot be abandoned and the government will go ahead with it.

"In this connection, meetings were held on many occasions in which panchayath presidents and political leaders had attended," he told reports on the sidelines of a review meeting on the roads in the district at the Collectorate on Tuesday. "In the meetings there was consensus that the Greenfield road is a must but the condition was that its width should not go beyond 45 metres, and we also assure that the acquisition will be limited to 45 metres only."

The minister also said the government will go ahead with the project and due compensation will be given to the people whose land will be acquired. A meeting of the MLAs from the district is called for this purpose in Thiruvananthapuram on October 9, he said.
01/10/14 P Sudhakaran/Times of India

Lufthansa announces A380 flights to Delhi

Mumbai: Lufthansa will fly Airbus A380 aircraft on Frankfurt-Delhi route from October 27, the airline announced today. Lufthansa is the third airline to fly A380 planes to India after Singapore Airlines and Emirates, which ply the super jumbo aircraft to Mumbai.

"With the new A380, customers will be able to experience Lufthansa’s latest in-flight products and services including the state-of-the art first class and the launch of A380 underlines our commitment to provide Indian customers with the best Lufthansa experience worldwide," said Wolfgang Will, Lufthansa's Director (South Asia).

Lufthansa was keen to launch A380 flights to Mumbai too in the winter schedule but it did not get parking bay for the aircraft.
01/10/14 Business Standard

Testing Takes off for SE Asia's 1st GBAS Landing Facility at City Airport

Chennai: It was supposed to be a Christmas gift for pilots handling newer planes. Instead, the Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) - an advanced landing assist system than can support 26 landings simultaneously - is up and running at the airport for the last two weeks. Not only has this testing phase begun ahead of schedule, it is officially the first such system at an airport in Southeast Asia, according to Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Using GPS towers, this system will send an updated flight path to planes on any runway, coming in from any end so that pilots can land in any weather. It will also offer real-time corrections on air-speed, tilt and path to ensure there is no error. The existing system, ILS, will also be in use simultaneously, till all planes can operate with GBAS. “It is more precise and cost-effective and removes several hurdles like a shortage of runway.
01/10/14 Daniel Thimmayya/New Indian Express

Jammu and Kashmir floods: State-owned chopper rescues 261 marooned people

A modified Bell helicopter, belonging to the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Aviation Department, played a vital role in rescuing people from flood-hit areas in the Valley and saved as many as 261 marooned people, stranded at different places.

"For a non-military civilian helicopter, this act of rescuing trapped people... over four consecutive days from rooftops, pulling them physically by hand, may well be an unprecedented achievement anywhere," officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Aviation department said on Wednesday.

As the city was completely submerged, there was no place for the helicopter to land and after considering many options one door of the helicopter was removed, they said. The plan was to bring the helicopter to low hover near the victims on the rooftops and pull them up physically, if possible or drop food packets, the officials said.
01/10/14 PTI/Daily News & Analysis

Plans to curb bird hits yet to take off

Margao: It's been almost a year since the South Goa district administration decided to implement measures to prevent aircrafts from suffering bid hits.

Sources point out that the bird hit cases have not stopped and the government will soon carry out a review of the measures for collection of garbage by the village panchayats of Velsao-Pale, Chicalim, Sancoale and Bogmalo-Chicolna and Mormugao municipal council (MMC).

In 2013, the district collector had given the four panchayats and MMC till October to clear garbage within 10km of Dabolim airport to prevent bird hits, failing which, he would proceed under Section 133 of the Cr.PC against them. This was in view of cases of bird hits because of mismanagement of garbage in the area.
01/10/14 Times of India

Air fare ex-Lucknow costlier from today

Lucknow: Those flying from Lucknow airport will have to pay more from Wednesday with airlines imposing user development fee (UDF) which would go to the coffers of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and used for development of the airport.

Domestic air tickets booked from October 1 will become costlier by Rs 370 while international flights will cost more Rs 1,060. The ticket price would further rise by 5.9% to Rs 392 for domestic flyers and Rs 1,124 for international passengers from April 1 next year, according to the order of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA).

While the Passenger Service Fee (PSF) for facilitation at Rs 77 per passenger, which is paid to the government, would be merged with the UDF and not charged separately as at present, an amount of Rs 130 as PSF for security would also be charged in addition to UDF.
30/09/14 Times of India

Ariports across the country begin cleanliness drive

New Delhi: Airports across the country have begun a cleanliness drive as part of the government's 'Clean India' campaign, with Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today saying this campaign should be continued and not taken as tokenism.

The drive has been launched at all airports of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) with focussed emphasis on 17 airports, including those at Amritsar, Leh, Jammu, Chandigarh, Dehradun and Bhubaneshwar, an AAI statement said.

The Minister and top officials, including Civil Aviation Secretary V Somasundaran, launched the drive at the Ministry headquarters Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan here, which also houses the AAI head office.

Observing that the cleanliness drive was intended to sensitise everyone to work towards achieving clean India, Raju said a clean environment enhances productivity and efficiency, it said.
01/10/14 PTI/Business Standard

DGCA directs airlines to spread awareness on Swacch Bharat campaign

New Delhi: he next time you board an aircraft, do not be surprised on hearing in-flight announcements asking you to contribute for building toilets or on being shown a video on cleanliness drives.

The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has directed Indian carriers to spread awareness on the government's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan through in-flight announcements and boarding cards. Airlines have been asked to seek donations from flyers and spread the word on their websites.

DGCA joint DG Lalit Gupta wrote to airlines last Friday, saying that regulator had proposed a series of steps. The regulator also asked airlines to adopt villages colonies for construction of toilets and develop a system of cleanliness.

Airlines are questioning this outreach of the aviation regulator that was downgraded by the American Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year due to poor safety oversight mechanism.
01/10/14 Saurabh Sinha/Economic Times

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jet Airways in trouble as JetLite pilots line up to join Vistara, IndiGo

Mumbai: Loss-making Jet Airways is staring at further trouble. At least 70 of the 189 pilots with its low-cost subsidiary JetLite (which operates under JetKonnect brand) have decided to quit and accept offers from market leader IndiGo and new player Tata-SIA’s Vistara, sources told FE. With 12 pilots normally dedicated per aircraft, the move could leave up to six of Jet’s Boeing 737, or ATR, aircraft grounded.
The development comes after multiple meetings between the Jet Airways management and JetLite pilots — the last two of which happened on Monday (in Mumbai) and Saturday (in Delhi) — failed to yield positive results. JetLite pilots are unhappy with the “unfair” terms offered by the Jet management under the merger of the JetKonnect brand with the parent that is expected to be completed by December this year. Out of 189 pilots at JetLite — erstwhile Air Sahara, 98 are captains and the rest first officers.
A Jet Airways spokesperson said, "We currently have excess pilot numbers in JetLite and we are opening options to the pilots of working with Jet Airways and in exploring further career opportunities.”
30/09/14 Rhik Kundu/Financial Express

Inter-state air service in UP by Oct-end

Varanasi: Inter-state air service is likely to start in the state by the end of October this year. The service will benefit tourists visiting the Buddhist Circuit. Cities like Jhansi, Agra, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Bareilly, Meerut, Allahabad, Lucknow will be inter-connected and connected with other tourist spots.

"The inter-state air service is expected to start by the end of October," UP tourism minister Om Prakash Singh said while talking to reporters here on Monday. He said that the state government had adopted inter-state service policy for tourism promotion so that tourists can easily go to places in different parts of the state.

According to the inter-sate air service policy, UP State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd has been made nodal department for initiating all the works related to air services in the state. With the objective of encouraging air services, the state government will start air services on the different routes in the first phase.
30/09/14 Times of India

Will regional connectivity be mandatory for new airlines?

Vistara, Tata-SIA joint venture, was originally scheduled to start its operations during the festive season. It may not be able to do so, as it still has to secure several technical approvals. If the experience is any criterion, it generally takes about eight months to obtain an Air Operating Permit (AOP). Pending approvals include flight operation manuals and other related procedures. Now, why these procedures should take as many as eight months (or about 240 days) to accomplish is a tough question to answer, and it is best left to the Civil Aviation Ministry to clarify as to whether this time frame can be brought down, at least for future applicants.

In fact, Vistara had proposed to start its operations with two aircrafts and complete its fleet of 20 by the end of 2015.

In the meantime, the Civil Aviation Ministry finds that only 75 of the 125 airports are being actually used. It plans to make “regional connectivity" obligatory for new airlines, so that these do not become, "non-performing-assets!” This was stated by the Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, while speaking to journalists, on the sidelines of the 65th AGM of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), Hyderabad Chapter recently.

Perhaps, the minister hopes that by making this mandatory, these under (or practically unused) utilised airports bring about some activity!
30/09/14 AK Ramadas/moneylife.com 

PM Modi's US visit: Boeing keen on greater engagement with India

New York: Defence major Boeing today proposed greater business engagement with India, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised the US companies to provide friendlier business environment in the country.
In a one-on-one meeting with Modi, Boeing CEO James McNerney said that the company wants to accelerate its engagement with India.
The meeting followed a power-packed breakfast meet Modi had with CEOs of other 11 large American corporations including PepsiCo, Citigroup, Google, Cargill and Carlyle Group.
With nearly USD 87-billion annual turnover globally, Boeing is a major player in Indian defence and aerospace sectors. Its engagement with India is nearly 70 years-long and Boeing jets are one of the mainstays of the country's domestic and intercontinental commercial fleets.
In June 2011, India signed an agreement with the US government to acquire 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifters. The C-17 is the largest defence contract signed by the Indian government with the United States.
29/09/14 Economic Times

India's Air Pegasus takes delivery of first aircraft, an ATR72

Air Pegasus  has taken delivery of its first aircraft, an ATR72-500, cn 699, with two more in the process of being acquired. The turboprop, formerly with Kingfisher Airlines , is configured with 66 seats in an all-economy layout.

The start-up claimed it had encountered difficulties in sourcing the aircraft after lessors demanded what it termed "excessive" security deposits.
29/09/14 ch-aviation

Chennai deserves better airport: Aviation minister

Chennai: The city deserves a better airport and the ministry of civil aviation is planning to work out a strategy to improve its terminals and other facilities, minister of civil aviation Ashok Gajapati Raju said here on Monday. However, the ministry is yet to take a decision on privatisation of the airport.

"We will work out a strategy to improve the airport. The main concern is hygiene. Hygiene levels have improved but we cannot let them slide," said the minister. "The government is not enamoured with privatisation. But we are not against it completely. We have to work out some strategy," he said when asked if the ministry is planning to investigate the shortfalls in the construction of the facility. He also said the government is aware that a few airports that have been privatised are doing well.

"Chennai is a prime city and it has not got what it deserves as an airport. I can understand that problems like incomplete engineering work and design issues cannot be changed overnight but there is no excuse not to maintain elementary hygiene," he said on the sidelines of a function that he attended in the city on Monday.
30/09/14 Times of India

Air India's lax regulation, lethargy & shoddy compensation leading to menace of misplacing baggage

New Delhi/Mumbai: The recent case of minister of state Nirmala Sitharaman losing her luggage on an Air India flight highlights a chronic problem hundreds of travellers face, especially on international flights.

While aviation regulator, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and consumer forums such as the Air Passengers Association of India don't record incidents of misplaced luggage, airport employees and passenger representatives say baggage mishandling is rampant in international flights.

"My guess is at least 100 to 150 passengers suffer every week from the delayed delivery of baggage. India could be second only to the UK in terms of baggage loss," said Sudhakara Reddy, president of Air Passengers Association of India.
30/09/14 Mihir Mishra & Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Fly AI, but at your own risk!

Pune: Taking an Air India flight out of Pune? Watch it. A technical glitch or a tyre burst could put you behind by 10- 15 hours. This is what the national carrier has been reduced to by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) with its refusal to restore the airline's store for its spares at the airport, forcing it to procure its requirement from other airports whenever emergencies arise. The past few years have seen about 50 correspondences from the airline, trying to wrest a storage space after AAI took over its existing facility in 2008, during renovation of the Lohegaon airport — a project that got done the next year.

On June 15, this year, 157 passengers flying in from Delhi had a narrow escape when a rear tyre burst just as the flight was landing at 9.30 pm. On the return journey, the flight's departure was scheduled at 10.30 pm. But it could not take off that night. Passengers were accommodated in hotels and the flight finally took off the next morning at 7.30 am. It was a nine hour delay but passengers on that flight at least got to their destination. However, passengers booked on flight IC849 to Delhi at 8.30 pm on December 27, 2013, were not so lucky.
30/-09/14 Sukirt Gumaste/Pune Mirror 

Limp doesn’t make you disabled, IGI security staff tell para-athlete

New Delhi: Langdakar chalne se koi handicap nahi ho jata, doosri line me ja (Walking with a limp does not make you a handicapped person. Move to the general queue)." "Where did you get the medical certificate from and how much did you paid for it?"

These are some of the alleged remarks faced by Pradeep Raj, an international athlete with disability, at the immigration counter of Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Raj, who has got a national youth award from the President and is general secretary of the Association for Disabled People, was travelling to South Korea for an international meet when security personnel at immigration counter no 41 (reserved for the disabled) allegedly misbehaved with him on September 22.

"At the immigration section, there is a provision of a separate line for disabled people. I was in that line. But I was shocked at the meaningless questions the Delhi Police staff deployed at counter no.41 asked me," said the para-Olympic table tennis player.
Not satisfied with his medical certificate, the official wanted to know what his specific disability was. "He humiliated me saying, 'Langdakar chalne se koi handicap nahi ho jata, dusri line me ja.' The only disability they seem to understand is a wheelchair-bound person. It was a violation of my right to be treated with respect, equality and dignity," said Raj.
30/09/14 Manash Pratim Gohain/Times of India

Tweaking 'wilful defaulter' definition to cover directors: Raghuram Rajan

Mumbai: RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday said the Reserve Bank of India is in the process of redefining the definition of "wilful defaulters" so as to bring the directors of defaulting companies under its ambit.

"The (Calcutta high court had some questions about whether all directors could be declared wilful defaulters and we have looked at that. "We are in the process of modifying the definition so that the directors, if seen, as culpable in actively participating or being grossly negligent of wilful default," Rajan said at the customary post-policy interactions with the media.

According to the current definition, a wilful defaulter is somebody who has essentially not used the fund for the purpose it has been borrowed or when he has not repaid when he can do so; when he has siphoned off the funds or when he disposed of the assets pledged for availing of loan without the bank's knowledge.

Recently, United Bank of India declared Kingfisher Airlines as well as some three of its directors as wilful defaulters. The decision of the single bench, that accepted the bank's position, was later stayed by a division of the Calcutta High Court last weekend.
30/09/14 PTI/Times of India

Surat airport to be modernized

Surat: Surat airport is set to be modernized, thanks to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for selecting the diamond city's airport among other 28 metro and non-metro airports for modernization.

Official sources said that the AAI authorities attended the World Route Development Forum conference in Chicago last week and held discussions with global airline and airport representatives informing about the potential at the 29 metro and non-metro airports in India and the plan that is underway to modernize them to enhance air connectivity.

These airports are at Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow, Leh, Srinagar, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Gaya, Kolkata, Port Blair, Ranchi, Raipur, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bhopal, Indore, Goa, Pune, Surat, Chennai, Coimbatore, Calicut, Madurai, Mangalore, Trivandrum, Trichy and Visakhapatnam.
30/09/14 Melvyn Thomas/Times of India

Integrated fuel facility at Mumbai airport gets CCI nod

New Delhi: Fair trade watchdog CCI has approved setting up of an integrated aviation fuel facility in Mumbai by a joint venture of three state-owned oil firms and Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd after they agreed to put in place measures to prevent anti-competitive practices.

Indian Oil Corp Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd would form an equal joint venture.

Post execution of shareholding pact between them, each would have 25 per cent stake in Mumbai Aviation Fuel Farm Facility Ltd, which is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mumbai International Airport.

The green signal has come after the Competition Commission of India (CCI) sought clarifications on many occasions from the concerned parties since the watchdog had earlier formed a prima facie opinion that the deal would be anti-competitive.
30/09/14 PTI/Business Standard

Airport employees hold demo

New Delhi: A large number of airport employees today staged demonstration here to protest the "anti-worker attitude" of the management of the ground handling services at the IGI Airport here.

The ground handling services, which include loading and unloading of baggage, are done by the private joint venture company, AISATS Airport Services.

The protests came against the backdrop of AISATS terminating the services of around 200 workers, the the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) said in a release.

The employees, belonging to various organisations like AISATS, Jet Airways, Cambatta and Thai Airways, staged protest at Jantar Mantar, demanding among other things, wage hike, ending the system of fixed term appointment, stopping sexual harassment at workplace and reinstating the sacked workers and union leaders, the release said.
30/09/14 PTI/Business Standard

Oman Air fighting hard to stretch pacts to add more destinations

Muscat: Oman Air is working hard to expand the scope of bilateral agreements in place with the Indian subcontinent to add new destinations.

"There are new policies now. But we are increasing the number of aircraft and adding more destinations like Goa, Dhaka in Indian subcontinent and Manila and Jakarta in South East Asia. In addition to this, we are trying to add more destinations by stretching the bilateral agreements with authorities concerned in the Indian subcontinent," Oman Air CEO Paul Gregorowitsch, told Times of Oman on the sidelines of the opening of the upgraded Oman Air check in facilities for first/business class passengers on Tuesday.
The new check in facilities were opened by Dr. Mohammed Bin Nasser Al Zaabi, Chief Executive Officer of the Public Authority of Civil Aviation.

"An increase is witnessed in the number of business class passengers and as part of providing extra convenience, the new check in facilities were set up. We want to provide seamless travel for high profile passengers," Oman Air CEO added.

According to Sheikh Ayman Al Hosni, Director General of Muscat International Airport, Oman Air is studying all options and alternatives to facilitate travel procedures for all passengers travelling via Muscat Airport and Salalah Airport through the provision of a variety of top level services to the first and business class passengers, as well as economy and transit passengers.
30/09/14 Rejimon K/Times of Oman

Air India told to refund ticket amount, compensation to baptised Sikh

Amritsar: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Air India to refund the amount spend by a baptised Sikh passenger on a domestic ticket along with Rs 10,000 as compensation for causing harassment and Rs 2,000 as litigation expenses. The passenger, wearing a four-inch kirpan was not allowed to board the flight from Ahmedabad to Amritsar.
In a complaint before the forum, the complainant, Amarjeet Singh, a 66-year-old resident of SJS Avenue, had stated that he was fully aware of the fact that Kirpan is not allowed inside International Airports so he had booked a domestic flight where it is allowed. Singh alleged that status of the flight was changed from domestic to International and as such he suffered from mental agony and harassment.
Singh stated before the forum that a month and a half before the travel date, September 24, 2013, he broke his leg in an accident and instead of treating him with sympathy he was treated in a harsh manner. As the complainant denied removing his kirpan and board the flight, he later came to Amritsar on a train after a few days.
Air India representatives, in their reply to the forum, stated that as per the guidelines, rules and regulations, carrying of a kirpan is not permitted in the cabin of an aircraft on an International flight either on domestic or International sector. It was submitted that on such International flights kirpan can only be carried in registered baggage in aircraft hold.
30/09/14 Sikh Sangat News