Monday, October 12, 2015

India's new airlines face major cash, operational challenges

Mumbai: A majority of India's new and aspirant airlines appear to be facing major cash and operational issues, delaying salaries, putting off aircraft induction, grounding planes and cancelling flights, leading to questions about whether they can cope in a sector that demands patience to deal with bureaucratic delays and the ability to overcome lobbying by incumbents.

Chennai-based Premier Airways is waiting for an air operator's permit and hasn't paid salaries for the past three months, said  said four people, including ex-employees.

Regional airline Flyeasy, based in Bengaluru, is also waiting for a permit. The company has delayed salaries for two months and lost senior executives such as head of sales and marketing Mani Rayaprolu.

Three other south-based airlines that are operating flights have their own set of problems, with either aircraft being grounded or mass flight cancellations. Many of Premier's 150 employees are said to have quit and joined airlines such as SpiceJet and IndiGo. Earlier this year, the airline agreed to purchase 40 A320 Neos from Airbus but hasn't been able to get Reserve Bank of India approval to import the planes.

"I don't think they have the money. I won't be surprised if the project is dead," said a top executive at a supplier, who didn't want to be identified.
12/10/15 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Are Indian airlines slowly facing a major staff poaching crisis?

Rahul Bhatia promoted IndiGo attracted majority of pilots who left Jet Airways and Air India in a little over one year. As many as 62 pilots of Jet Airways and Air India flew out of the two airlines.

While private carrier Jet Airways has lost 30 pilots in 15 months to budget carrier IndiGo, state-owned Air India has seen the migration of 32 pilots in the past one year, industry sources said.

"Some 30 pilots including ATR commanders and Boeing 737 first officers have left Jet Airways in the past 15 months to take up employment with IndiGo for better pay packages and work environment," sources told PTI.

Most of these pilots have already joined IndiGo after serving the mandatory 6-month notice period, they said, adding the rest are expected to board the airline in the next one to two months.

A Jet Airways spokesperson termed the resignation of the pilots as a part of normal attrition faced by organisations.
11/10/15 Business Insider

Ten seats in a row: Airlines squeezing economy for profit

New Delhi: Across the world, airlines are increasing the number of seats in economy class by shrinking seat width, armrests and aisles, and packing in more passengers per inch. The biggest aircraft are being moved to a 10-abreast configuration, which means a row has 3-4-3 seats to maximize revenue.

Studies have shown that seat widths of less than 18 inches aren't very comfortable for passengers, but most seats in economy are now 17 inches or less. However, US' Boeing and Europe's Airbus, the two largest aircraft manufacturers, are busy blaming each other about the shrinking seat space.

Among the Indian carriers, only Air India and Jet Airways have wide-body aircraft. Just how important number of seats is to economic viability becomes clear from the fact that Air India ordered eight B 777-200 (long-range) aircraft from Boeing in 2006. The 200-LR had just 238 seats as AI wanted to give passengers a luxurious experience, both in economy and business because the aircraft was likely to fly nonstop between India and the US.

But with so few seats, Air India kept these planes on the ground and used the 342-seater B777-300 (extended range). Air India recently sold five of the eight 200-LR to Etihad and now plans to use the remaining three for nonstop flights to San Francisco. "We have a 3-3-3 configuration in the economy section of ours B-777s to provide maximum comfort to passengers on long haul flights," said a senior AI official. Jet Airways has 10-abreast on some of its wide-bodies.
12/101/5 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Plush economy class in air

New Delhi: The humdrum comforts of the economy class in planes now have a premium cushion - more legroom, better meals and bonus air miles.
Welcome to the world of premium economy class, where all airlines are pushing for an entry and win over flyers.
Singapore Airlines will roll out its premium economy service on the Singapore-Delhi route from October 25 and Singapore-Mumbai from January 2.

Vistara, the newly launched joint venture between the Tatas and Singapore Airlines, has already introduced this option for domestic flyers.
Lufthansa and Air China will offer the service on the Mumbai-Munich and Mumbai-Beijing routes, respectively, from October 25.

Premium economy falls between the economy and business classes. It offers wider seats, greater seat recline, more leg room, more luggage allowance, bigger entertainment screens and slightly more personalised services. This segment is priced 60 per cent below the business class and 40 per cent higher than economy.
12/10/15 Jayati Ghose/Telegraph

Kingfisher Airlines allegedly diverted portion of loans to tax havens

New Delhi: : Kingfisher Airlines had allegedly diverted a substantial chunk of Rs 4,000 crore in loans secured from public sector banks to tax havens which has now come under the scanner of the CBI that has expanded its probe in the matter.

The material recovered during searches yesterday indicated that the airlines, which stopped flights in October 2012, has allegedly diverted part of loans taken from 11 nationalised banks, with total exposure of Rs 4,000 crore, to tax haven countries for different purposes not specified in loan applications, sources claimed.

They claimed that the agency will be expanding the ambit of the probe from Rs 900 crore loan from IDBI bank to loans received from 10 other public sectors banks as well which have total additional exposure of Rs 3,100 crore to the company.
11/10/15 PTI/Economic Times

SpiceJet gains on introducing 6 new aircraft to its fleet

Mumbai: Shares of budget carrier SpiceJet are trading higher by 3% at Rs 30 on the BSE after the company decided to induct six new aircrafts into its fleet to its schedule from Kochi effective from October 25.

The airline has augmented its frequencies on the Kochi - Mumbai and Kochi-Hyderabad routes while adding a new onward connection to Ahmedabad from Kochi.

The company currently operates 250 flights on a daily basis but starting October 25 it will operate 291 daily flights during the winter schedule The airline will install four Boeing 737 and two Airbus A319. At present, SpiceJet has 20 Boeing 737s and one Airbus A319, along with 14 Bombardier Q-400s in its fleet of 35 aircraft.

The new flight schedule will include 10 new sectors, 30 increased frequencies and 22 connected flights.
12/10/15 Business Standard

Air India: Getting Its Act Together

In less than 18-months after getting the delivery of 21 Dreamliners aircraft – Boing 787-800 – national carrier Air India has decided to sell the remaining nine of them under the a ‘Sale and Lease Back (SLB)’ arrangement. Air India has already sold and leased back 12 Dreamliners under the SLB arrangement.

SLB arrangement allows the seller to lease back the asset from purchaser for a long-term period. Air India’s SLB arrangement will have the guarantee of the Government of India which will cover the lease rental obligation during entire leasing period.

Air India is hoping to raise around Rs 7,000 crore from these sales whose proceeds will go towards reduction in debt, repayment of existing loans and towards acquisition of smaller/other aircrafts. After the sale, the national carrier plans to lease back these nine aircrafts for a period of around 12 years, Air India said in an ‘invitation of offer’ document.

The airline has fixed a reserve price of not less than $120 million for the planes acquired in 2015 and $120 million for the aircraft inducted in the fleet during 2014, it said.
12/10/15 Ashish Sinha/Business World

Tirupati International Airport inauguration on Vijaya Dasami

Tirupati: The terminal building of the international airport at the temple city of Tirupati is all set for inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 22, coinciding with the auspicious ‘Vijaya Dasami’.

The terminal, developed in an area of 16,500 sq.m. at a cost of Rs. 175 crore, can handle 700 passengers a day, while the parking lot can accommodate 300 cars, according to Airport Director V.V. Rao. Apart from Mr. Modi, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Union Minister for Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapati Raju are among the delegates expected to take part in the inaugural.
12/10/15 A.D. Rangarajan/The Hindu

CM to Decide on Compensation to Airport Land

Visakhapatnam: HRD minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao said that compensation to the farmers, who ceded their lands for the Bhogapuram International Airport, will be decided after discussions with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu Monday. The Chief Minister is arriving in Visakhapatnam Monday to participate in various programmes.

Ganta Srinivasa Rao along with Rural Development minister K Mrunalini convened a review meeting on the status of the works related to the Bhogapuram airport Sunday.
On the occasion, Ganta Srinivasa Rao said that there were several categories of lands which were being acquired by the government for the airport.

The government had decided to allot 5,300 acres of land for the airport, of which 1,600 acres belong to government and D.Patta land and the rest is of private parties.
12/10/15 New Indian Express

Seaplane Arrives at CIAL, Hopes Run High

Kochi: An amphibious aircraft meant for conducting service between Kerala and Lakshadweep arrived at the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) at Nedumbassery on Sunday, covering four continents.

The seaplane has been purchased by Seabird Seaplane Private Ltd, which is an initiative by two technocrats with financial support from an associate company of INKEL Limited. The ten-seater Quest Kodiak-100 amphibian, which landed on Friday night at the airport, is the first aircraft purchased by the company. The seaplane will be based at the Kochi airport.

The aircraft took off from the South St Paul airport in the United States on September 27, manoeuvred by two Kochi-based pilots.

Flying over four continents - North America, Europe, Africa and Asia - under varying weather conditions, the seaplane flew for more than 80 hours before arriving at its destination.
12/10/15 New Indian Express

Mizoram govt mulling over handing lone airport to IAF

Aizwal: Mizoram government is mulling over handing the lone Lengpui Airport near Aizawl, the only state-owned airport in the country, to Indian Air Force (IAF), state chief secretary Lalmalsawma today said.

Talking to media persons, Lalmalsawma said that the move was initiated by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command. He wrote to the state Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla on June 24 asking for leasing the Lengpui Airport to the IAF for 45 years.

As per the proposal of the IAF authorities, the Air Force would look after the entire operational area of the airport while the state government would continue to manage the Terminal building and the apron.

"The proposal was discussed at a meeting between the state government officials headed by the chief secretary and representatives of the IAF on October six," he said, adding that it was a preliminary discussion and no decision was made at the meeting.
12/10/15 Business Standard

Air Odisha to hire 100 state youths

Bhubaneswar: Local carrier Air Odisha, which signed an agreement with the government to run flights within the state, said on Sunday that it would provide jobs to 100 youths of the state.

The carrier will start operations from November-end with a nine-seater aircraft. "We have decided to hire local people, who have expertise in the sector. We will require engineers, ground staff and pilots. For back and front office staff also, we will give preference to local people. Since it is a small aircraft, we will not have any airhostess," said Air Odisha founder Santosh Pani.

He added that according to the guidelines of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), they have already given list of six pilots. "They are trained pilots and have the required flying hours. Four of them are from the state," said Pani.
12/10/15 Times of India

No flights from Chandigarh Airport from October 16 to 18

Chandigarh: All flights to and from the Chandigarh Airport will remain suspended from October 16 to 18 due to repair of the runway by the Indian Air Force. From October 19, the flight operations will shift to the new terminal that was inaugurated last month by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Several airlines including Air India, Jet Airways, Spicejet, Go Air, Air Asia and Indigo operate flights to different destinations from the Chandigarh Airport. There are a total of 26 flights that operate from here. An airport official said that from October 16, there will be no flights operational from the existing terminal building. He added that the Air Force would undertake repair work at the runway for three days. All the domestic flights would be shifted to the new terminal from October 19.
12/10/15 Indian Express

Political turmoil over Kannur airport project

Kannur: The Kannur International Airport is all set to be a poll issue once the campaign hots up in the district in a couple of days.

This may sabotage the current tenuous consensus among political parties over the ongoing airport works, the local protests against land acquisition for its runway extension, and on road development.

The first salvo against that move was fired by Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] Polit Bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday when he said that the UDF government was planning to hurry the commissioning of the airport as soon as 2,400 metres of the runway is in place, instead of waiting for the completion of the planned length of 3,600 metres.
12/10/15 The Hindu

UDF Govt. trying to inaugurate open airport in haste: CPI(M)

Kannur: CPI(M)'s former Kerala unit secretary and polit bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan today alleged the UDF government was trying to inaugurate the Kannur Airport before completion of workon the runway and this would be seen as a serious anomaly. He demanded that the runway of should be 4000 metres and the government must take necessary steps to extend it from the existing 3400 meters. talking to newspersons here. Mr Vijayan alleged the UDF government wanted to inaugurate the airport in December this year by constructing only a 2400 meters of the runway.
11/10/15 UNI/Web India123

The birth of Delhi airport’s flight simulator

New Delhi: Want to feel the chill of landing in Delhi in zero visibility on a foggy winter night or the constant chatter from Air Traffic Controller (ATC), the buzz from another aircraft, radio telephony and the beauty of the ever-changing sky?

“TheCockpit”, a flight simulator at the Delhi airport, gives passengers an opportunity to feel the rush of flying a Boeing-737 aircraft while waiting for a flight.

The birth of the simulator, launched in March this year and slowly becoming a hit with passengers, began with a conservation that veteran pilot Ehsan Khalid, the brainchild behind the project, had with a chartered accountant friend of his.

“My friend Ashish Pant was one day telling me about his childhood dream of becoming a pilot and how it is an impossible dream to fulfil. The dream of being seated in the Captain’s seat and commander an aircraft, and get the complete feel,” Captain Khalid recalled.

The 48-year-old veteran pilot with almost 30 years of flying experience under his belt, started his career with the Air Force and later joined civil aviation, working with Air Sahara and Kingfisher Airlines. In between managing “TheCockpit”, he still flies chartered aircraft for corporate houses.
12/10/15 Sidhartha Roy/The Hindu

Cathay Pacific considering new destinations in India

Seattle: With India projected to become the third largest aviation market in the world by the end of the decade, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways have started examining traffic potential on routes beyond the six metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad to add new points of calls and launch new services once fresh bilateral rights are made available.
James Tong, director, corporate affairs, Cathay Pacific Airways, “India is among our top 10 markets. It is a big expanding market and traffic from India to Hong Kong is growing in double-digits. I expect the country to move up in our pecking order in the coming years.” Over half the traffic that Cathay Pacific flies out of India currently travels onwards to destinations in North America and Australia.
Cathay Pacific operates 48 weekly departures from six metros in India to Hong Kong. The airline has exhausted the allotted bilateral air traffic rights. When more seat entitlements are made available, the airline would launch flights to more destinations in the country.
12/10/15 Sharmistha Mukherjee/Indian Express

AAP MP joins protest to name airport after Bhagat Singh

Chandigarh: AAP's Patiala MP was among others who took part in a protest rally here, demanding the Centre to name the new civil air terminal in the district after Bhagat Singh "without further delay".

AAP's Patiala MP Dharamvira Gandhi took part in the protest, which was led by Bhagat Singh's 57-year-old nephew Abhay Singh Sandhu.

"The airport should have been named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh much earlier. But now it should not be further delayed and the Government should immediately do the needful," the MP said.

The protesters, who gathered here from different parts of the country, in a symbolic gesture also fixed a temporary board near the protest site with a picture of the martyr and an aeroplane at the top, with the caption which read "Shaheed -e-Azam Sardar Shaheed Bhagat Singh International airport".
11/10/15 PTI/Business Standard

Sharjah flight grounded after hit by bird while landing

Coimbatore: The city-bound Air Arabia flight from Sharjah with 100 passengers on board was grounded at the Coimbatore International Airport today after it was hit by a bird while landing, police said. The pilot managed to land the plane safely at around 4 am, they said.
12/10/15 PTI

Air India to offer 'Incredible India' holiday packages from Dec 1

Air India will launch holiday packages from December 1 under the Incredible India programme in collaboration with state tourism departments.
According the statement released by the airline, the states which have tied up with the airline are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Sikkim, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.
Tourists will be able to choosing from three-four packages in each state. The two nights and three day packages will be attractively priced and will be available for direct purchase from the Air India website,
The packages will cover a wide range of interests like wildlife reserves, religious places, adventure sports like skiing in Gulmarg and Srinagar, paragliding in Kangra, forts, museums, festivities & fairs like Pushkar in Rajasthan.
12/10/15 Zee News

Flybus from KIA to Mysuru

Bengaluru: The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation will introduce a direct Flybus service between Kempegowda International Airport and Mysuru.

According to a KSRTC release, the new service will depart from KIA at 1.20 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. and reach Mysuru at 5.20 p.m. and 3.30 a.m., respectively.
12/10/15 The Hindu

RGIA joins the campaign

Hyderabad: For the first time in India an airport supported a foundation’s initiative to create awareness about importance of early detection of breast cancer

As part of its efforts towards creating awareness, Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation (UBF) partnered with GMR Airport in an innovative first-of-its-kind partnership in South Asia, to empower thousands of passengers every day through their campaign.

Around 10, 000 breast health awareness information leaflets published by UBF were made available to passengers and airport visitors at the ‘Airport Information desk’ located just before passengers enter the airport terminal building and after exiting the terminal building.
12/10/15 Hans India

Aircraft design competition on Kalam’s B’day

Coimbatore: : As a tribute to former President the late Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, aeronautical and automobile engineering departments of city-based Kumaraguru College of Technology (KCT) will conduct an aircraft design contest and aero modeling competition on October 15, his birthday.
Kalam had a 'vision 2020 for passenger aircraft', which focused on fulfilling the needs of the country's civil aviation industry by indigenous design of a passenger aircraft. To realize his dream and to take it to the younger generation this contest is being held at KCT, a release said.
The aircraft design contest is open for engineering college students to create awareness on indigenous passenger aircraft needs for the country, performing design calculations, preparing the design report and making an effective presentation of their design of the aircraft for the civil aviation industry and to bring out their innovative and creative technical skills.
12/10/15 Times of India

Visa fraud: Immigration Bureau smells a rat in its own ranks

New Delhi: Suspecting the involvement of Immigration Bureau officials in helping passengers fly abroad without proper documents, the department has started an internal probe and provided six airlines with a list of the suspected passengers, who travelled from Delhi to various countries in Europe apart from Gulf nations.
Immigration officials are now carrying out a check on their own officials after senior officials received a tip-off, immigration sources said.
According to documents accessed by Mail Today, the department has named at least 50 passengers who took international flights to Europe and Gulf nations. The bureau has asked the airlines for the visa and travel history of these passengers, but has not mentioned the reason for asking these details. This is not a routine practice and these details have been asked to check the involvement of officials, according to immigration officials.
"We have asked the airlines to provide details about passengers who travelled to various countries, including UAE, Belgium and the US. We have also asked the airlines to provide details like their visa record, booking details and travel history.
12/10/15 Ankur Sharma/India Today

Gold worth Rs 62 lakh recovered at Jaipur airport

Jaipur: Over 2 kg gold worth Rs 62 lakh was recovered from a 26-year-old woman lakh at Jaipur International airport here today.

The woman was on her way from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai via Jaipur when her luggage was checked by Customs officials after which they found the gold hidden in the transformer of the microwave oven this morning, an official said.
11/10/15 PTI Business Standard

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Nearly 62 Jet Airways, Air India pilots move to IndiGo

New Delhi: As many as 62 pilots of Jet Airways and Air India have flown out of the two airlines in a little over one year to join other carriers, with a majority of them boarding the Rahul Bhatia-promoted IndiGo.
While private carrier Jet Airways has lost 30 pilots in 15 months to budget carrier IndiGo, state-owned Air India has seen the migration of 32 pilots in the past one year, industry sources said.
"Some 30 pilots including ATR commanders and Boeing 737 first officers have left Jet Airways in the past 15 months to take up employment with IndiGo for better pay packages and work environment," sources told PTI.
Most of these pilots have already joined IndiGo after serving the mandatory six-month notice period, they said, adding the rest are expected to board the airline in the next one to two months.
When contacted, a Jet Airways spokesperson termed the resignation of the pilots as a part of normal attrition faced by organisations.
"This is part of the normal attrition faced by organisations across industries. In all cases of resignations, the relevant provisions of notice period are applicable," the spokesperson said.
11/10/15 PTI/Daily News & Analysis

50% emergency landings due to snags in Air India fleet

Bengaluru: Two recent back-to-back emergency landings of Air India flights have put the focus on the efficacy of the national carrier's fleet and maintenance.

With both the landings-on September 7 and October 4-caused by hydraulic failures, the Director General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA) and Air India are looking for solutions to prevent any recurrence.

Data sourced from the ministry of civil aviation reveals that Air India has the worst record when it comes to emergency landings caused by technical glitches.

In the past three-and-a-half-years (January 2012-July 2015), a total of 141 emergency landings by all scheduled airlines have been reported in the country. Of these, 14% (20) were caused due to technical problems while 86% were due to medical emergencies.
However, 10 of the 20 emergency landings caused due to technical problems (50%) involve the state-run Air India. Another one involves its subsidiary Air India Charters Limited (AICL). Air India didn't respond to queries on the matter.
11/10/15 Chethan Kumar/Times of India

KIA third highest in arrivals using e-tourist visas

Bengaluru: Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) stood third in India as far as tourist arrivals on e-tourist visa is concerned, accounting for 7.44 per cent of the overall arrivals in September this year.
Over two lakh tourists arrived on e-tourist visa from January to September this year. During September, a total of 31,729 tourists arrived on e-tourist visa, a release said.
The scheme was launched last November. As many as 113 countries are covered, with the Centre extending the facility to 36 more countries from August 15, 2015.
11/10/15 The Hindu

Air India to cross-train cabin crew for entire fleet

New Delhi: In a significant shift from its decades-old practice, Air India will soon start training the cabin crew for all kinds of aircraft rather than keeping a pool of people for a particular fleet.

The move, the first of its kind by any Indian carrier, comes at a time when Air India is battling staff issues as well as poor ontime performance. In recent times, there have also been instances where flights got delayed due to non-availability of the type-rated crew.

With an ambitious long-term perspective and fleet expansion plans, the airline anticipates to add more number of crew in the coming months. At present, it has around 3,500 cabin crew.

Sources said concurrently training the cabin crew for various types of aircraft would provide multiple benefits for the employees including "greater flexibility" in rostering.
11/10/15 Economic Times

Crackers, festive lights distract pilots

Bhubaneswar: Beaming of high intensity lights during festivals and fairs is distracting pilots, who approach the runaway at the Biju Patnaik International Airport from Baramunda. Some pilots have brought the matter to the notice of airport director Sharad Kumar.

Kumar said similarly bursting of crackers near the runway is also distracting pilots.

"In April, we declared peripheral areas of the airport as 'no cracker zone' but it is yet to become so. We have written to police and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) regarding use of high intensity lights during the festive season near Baramunda," he added.

"Bursting of crackers during marriage and immersion processions are a major security threat to aircraft," Kumar said.

The airport's operation area close to its runway borders Gandamunda, Pokhariput, Sundarpada, Baramunda and Jagamara. Airport authorities had conducted a survey, which revealed that the runway looks blurred when crackers burst or high-power light is thrown into the sky. Baramunda is known for being a cluster of hosting several festivals, orchestras, yatras and melas.
11/10/15 Riyan Ramanath V/Times of India

AAI to speedup Tirupati works

Tirupati: Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman R.K. Srivastava on Saturday directed the concerned officials to expedite pending works related to the international airport at Tirupati, before October 15. Reviewing the ongoing works at the new facility, which would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 22, Mr. Srivastava urged the officials to join forces together to complete the remaining works by the specified deadline as the premises would be handed over to PM’s security detail – Special Protection Group (SPG) by October 19.
11/101/5 The Hindu

AAI to install a new ATC at Juhu airport

Mumbai: At a recently held meeting, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) decided to install a new Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower at Juhu Airport. A source from Juhu ATC told The Asian Age that aircraft and helicopters used to miss signals while turning south from Juhu. “The existing tower is old and is in a bad condition so if AAI installs a new tower, it will help us get proper signals which will help helicopters flying towards oil rigs,” said the source.
The source said AAI is going to set up an antenna atop the new ATC situated at the domestic airport in Vile Parle to better assist chopper pilots. An officer from ATC told this newspaper, “With the skies crowded by airplanes, things are becoming difficult for helicopters. They need some extra support for good navigation.”
11/10/15 Asian Age

Seaplane arrives, flights soon to Lakshadweep

Alappuzha: A seaplane belonging to Seabird Seaplane Private Ltd. landed at the Cochin international airport on Friday night. The amphibian aircraft Quest Kodiak 100, which has a capacity of 10 persons, including the pilot, will be engaged in services between Kerala and Lakshadweep, company officials said.
The aircraft was flown in from the U.S. to Kochi after touching down at airports in various countries. The aircraft was flown by the company pilots from the South St. Paul airport in the United States.
The flight began on September 27 and came via Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Scotland, France, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and Pakistan before entering India.
The company was in the process of acquiring one more aircraft, the officials said.
11/10/15 R. Ramabhadran Pillai/The Hindu

Man held with Rs 60.74 L gold at city airport

Mumbai: Acting on specific information, customs officials intercepted Rahuman Arif Ejaz Khan at the domestic terminal of the city airport and recovered Rs 60.74 lakh worth of gold from him.

Khan, a Chennai resident, arrived in the Spicejet flight SG-488 from Kolkata and was found with two gold bars of 1 kg each, and one-half of a cut gold bar weighing 495 grams -- totally weighing 2.495 kg.

A P S Suri, commissioner, airport customs, told Mirror, "The consignment of gold was retrieved by Khan from the toilet of the aircraft that was hidden during the prior journey of the same aircraft on its Bangkok-Kolkata route."
11/10/15 Mumbai Mirror