Thursday, April 24, 2014

Broken wings delay Dreamliner delivery

New Delhi: After a spate of technical glitches, Boeing Dreamliner is now giving structural nightmares to Air India. The B-787 that AI was supposed to take delivery of this month in the US has developed hairline cracks on its carbon-fiber composite wings.
In fact, a number of other Dreamliners under varying stages of assembly in the US have also developed similar problems, delaying their delivery to respective airlines. AI is now hoping that Boeing will be able to resolve the latest problem with the Dreamliner and expects to get its 14th plane next month.
"We have 13 B-787s in our fleet presently. The 14th one was to be delivered to AI in US this month. But the discovery of hairline cracks in the wings of this plane has delayed its delivery. A number of other B-787s under assembly have also suffered the same issue. Boeing has told us that this aircraft will be delivered to us in May," said a senior official.
"None of the in-service Dreamliners, or at least those with AI, have the cracks-in-wings problem. The AI Dreamliners are perfectly safe to fly. It is only the undelivered planes that have suffered this issue and Boeing is working on that. Also, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assured all airlines that it will ensure this problem is satisfactorily sorted out before these planes are delivered," said the official.
24/04/14 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

DGCA panel suggests steps to avoid flight diversion due to fog

New Delhi: In a bid to check fog-related diversions from IGI Airport, a DGCA panel has recommended several steps like upgrading of neighbouring alternative airports, meteorological facilities and runway radar coverage.
It has recommended that airports near Delhi like Jaipur, Lucknow and Amritsar, should be upgraded to Category-IIIB level of Instrument Landing System, which has a runway visibility range of 150 feet or almost near-zero visibility condition. CAT IIIB is operational at the IGI Airport.
A total of 289 flight diversions were caused due to fog in the last three winters from Delhi airport - 57 in 2011, 89 in 2012 and 143 in 2013. It is expected that after the recommendations of the DGCA panel are implemented by the stakeholders the chances of such diversions would come down drastically, officials said.
The committee, set up in January and headed by DGCA Joint Director General Lalit Gupta, also recommended that all airlines would have to annually provide details on how many of their aircraft were equipped to operate under CAT-IIIB situations and crew members trained to fly in such conditions, officials said.
24/04/14 PTI/IBN Live

Runway clear for AirAsia: DGCA nod likely next week

New Delhi: After much delay, low-cost carrier AirAsia (India) is expected to get final approval for starting commercial operations next week, a senior company official told FE. Aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), will issue an air operator's permit (AOP) to the airline after its officials conduct the last level of checks, a ‘proving flight’, by Monday.
“The DGCA formalities are not complete yet. They should be done by Monday. They have to do a proving flight and we are waiting for their schedule to be given to us. Everything is in place at our end, but we have not decided when to start,” the AirAsia official said. The new airline, which took delivery of its first aircraft (A320) last month, will add more planes to its fleet only after the AOP is granted, the official said.
Though the Foreign Investment Promotion Board had given its approval for AirAsia's investment in April last year, and the civil aviation ministry gave a 'no-objection certificate' to the airline in September 2013, AirAsia (India) has been awaiting the final step, an AOP from the DGCA, for the last six months. Initially, the airline had aimed at starting commercial operations by January-March, 2014, but industry experts say that scheduled operations may only start by May now.
24/04/14 Roudra Bhattacharya/Financial Express

She is good, Air India says about grounded pilot

Chennai: At a time when the ministry of civil aviation is struggling to maintain the safety record of aviation in the country, Air India management has given a clean chit to a pilot who was grounded for using a mobile phone inside the cockpit. She was also found to be at fault for not having taken a breathalyzer test before a later flight.
The DGCA investigation is yet to be completed against the co-pilot. As per a directive from the aviation regulator, the airline has grounded the pilot for three months. The airline management, meanwhile, has issued a letter certifying that the co-pilot's conduct has been good, just two days after she was found to have operated a flight without signing her pre-flight medical check (PFMC). She signed it after completing the flight from Chennai.
"This is a serious lapse, but the management is trying to protect the pilot because they cannot afford to have a pilot grounded, since that would put operations under strain," said an official. Sources said that the letter has come from general manager's office and sent to DGCA. "Issuing a good conduct letter when a complaint exists against a pilot is not fair," the official said.
24/04/14 V Ayyappan/Times of India

Now, another Malaysia Airlines-owned plane in emergency, 64 passengers escape tragedy

Kuala Lumpur: A Malaysia Airlines-owned unit's plane was forced to turn back 15 minutes after its departure from Penang Airport today due to technical difficulties.
The Firefly flight-bound for Kota Baru, experienced technical problems and returned to Penang International Airport, a statement released by the airlines said.
Firefly is a full-service point-to-point carrier and a full subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines.
"This was because the aircraft's landing gear was unable to retract after being airborne," it said.
The incident comes four days after a Bangalore-bound Malaysia Airlines plane with 166 people on board turned back shortly after takeoff due to problem in its landing gear.
The airline is still reeling from the loss and presumed crash of flight MH370, which disappeared March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
24/04/14 PTI/Financial Express

MH370: New investigating team set up

Kuala Lumpur: Kuala Lumpur has set up a new International Investigating Team (IIT) that will cover all aspects  of investigations into  missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The new team, which will evaluate and determine the causes that led to the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER twinjet, will likely rope in members from Asean with expertise and technologies in dealing with aircraft-related incidents and accident investigations.
Members of the IIT, which will be under three groups, will independently look at the aircraft's airworthiness and operational aspects, as well as the medical and human factors.
The findings will hopefully prevent a recurrence.
Experts in the groups will focus largely on the plane's maintenence, structures and record systems.
They will also examine the flight recorders and metereological factors as well as analyse the psychological, pathological and survival factors related to the flight, which had 239 people on board.
The cabinet, at its weekly meeting yesterday, deliberarated on matters surrounding MH370 at length and approved the establishment of the IIT.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the team, whose members and terms of reference would be decided on soon, would make public their findings.
24/04/14 Aliza Shah and Zafira Anwar/New Straits Times

Troubled Airports Authority of India pins hope on new government

New Delhi: The new government will have to sort out the mess in the Airports Authority of India (AAI) that has been created during the tenure of civil aviation minister Ajit Singh.
Senior AAI officials told M AIL T ODAY that there are serious differences between AAI management and the aviation minister on how airports should be run.
AAI chairman V. P. Agarwal had to abruptly leave in January this year as he reportedly refused to toe the line of the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA).
Agrawal had risen from the AAI ranks to head the orgainsation. The AAI does not have a full- time chairman since January 1 this year.
Joint secretary in MoCA, Alok Sinha was given additional charge as the AAI chairman.
Interestingly, under Singh's tenure organisations under MoCA have been handed over to IAS officials instead of promoting professionals within the orgainsation.
24/04/14 Sanjay Singh/Business Today

IndiGo's A-320 fleet to undergo major maintenance in Sri Lanka

New Delhi: No-frill carrier IndiGo's Airbus A-320 fleet would now on undergo major maintenance checks in the hangars of SriLankan Airlines in the island nation.
An agreement to this effect was signed between SriLankan and IndiGo's parent company, InterGlobe Aviation Limited, to enable the Indian carrier's fleet of 78 A-320s undergo 'C' checks by SriLankan's Engineering Division at the country's second international airport, Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in Hambantota, a SriLankan release said.
A 'C' check is performed approximately every 20-24 months or a specific amount of actual flight hours or as defined by the manufacturer.
This extensive check requires a large majority of the components to be inspected in a hangar, thus putting the aircraft out of service for almost two weeks.
24/04/14 PTI/Economic Times

SriLankan signs MRO deal with InterGlobe Aviation

SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, has announced the signing of a long term Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) agreement with InterGlobe Aviation Limited (IndiGo), India’s fastest growing low-cost airlines with the largest market share, consisting of a fleet of 78 Airbus A320 aircraft flying 482 daily flights to 36 destinations.
The agreement came into effect from April 1, 2014 and will see SriLankan Airlines’ Engineering Division carry out ‘C’ checks on IndiGo’s entire Airbus fleet.
SriLankan, which has been providing such MRO services to IndiGo since February 2009 on an annual contract basis, reached the impressive milestone of completing the 100th IndiGo ‘C’ check in January this year.
SriLankan Airlines Head of Engineering, Priyantha Rose attributed SriLankan Engineering’s excellent maintenance track record and relationship with IndiGo over the last five years to the success of the new agreement, which was awarded on a competitive basis.
“We have developed an excellent relationship with the IndiGo management in the last five years and the selection of SriLankan to continue to provide maintenance services was aided in no small part by a meeting of the leadership of both airlines which took place late last year in Delhi, as part of initiatives to expand the scope of services and mutual cooperation in the areas of flight training, GSA networks and other areas in the Aviation field.”
24/04/14 Lanka Business Today

Half-a-world flight without skull bone

Kolkata: When 64-year-old Ivan Lin Chung, a Canadian citizen of Chinese origin, was wheeled into a private hospital in Kolkata last February, his right side was paralyzed and his speech had been affected by a clot in the brain. Doctors rated his chances of survival at less than 50%. Removing a skull bone was the only option left to them. They not only operated on him successfully but accompanied him in his 32-hour journey on connecting flights to hand him over to his family members in Toronto.
Ivan, who was on his way back home after a trip to China, had stopped over in Kolkata to spend the Chinese New Year with relatives. During a two-month stay at the hospital, he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage, forcing doctors to remove his skull bone to ease the pressure on the brain. On April 13, Ivan — a doctor himself — left the city on a Jet Airways flight for Mumbai, en route to Brussels from where he flew business class to his home in Toronto, accompanied by a doctor and a nurse from the hospital. He made the journey lying on a stretcher, semi-conscious and without his skull bone, even as a battery-operated monitor tracked his vital parameters.
24/04/14 Prithvijit Mitra/Times of India

Ktk govt to ask GMR to withdraw objections on Bidar airport

Bangalore: Karnataka Infrastructure Minister Roshan Baig today said he would be holding talks with the GMR Group during his visit to Delhi on April 29 to ask them to withdraw their objection to operation of facilities available at Bidar airport.
"I will try to convince them to lift their objections against operation of facilities available at Bidar airport," he told reporters here.
The GMR Group had objected to the operation of facilities at Bidar airport in northern tip of Karnataka citing distance factor from Hyderabad Airport, Baig said.
He also said the state government was ready to hand over maintenance and operation of Bidar Civilian Airport facilities to the GMR Group, which operates Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad. "We are ready to hand over maintenance and operation of Bidar Airport facilities to them," he said.
He also said he would meet officials of the Civil Aviation Department, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Defence Ministry in this regard and also on the issue of improving air connectivity across the state.
24/04/14 PTI/Business Standard

Mandakalli airport gets centre's nod for upgrading

Bangalore: Following clearance from the Union Ministry for Civil Aviation, the State government has decided to upgrade the Mandakalli airport in Mysore by acquiring 80 acres of additional land, said Minister for Infrastructure Development R. Roshan Baig here today.
Speaking to media persons, Baig also declared that the project would be executed jointly by the Central and State Governments and added that the Ministry of Surface Transport has been urged to provide the required land.
24/04/14 Star of Mysore

SpiceJet offers limited time low fares from South

New Delhi: SpiceJet is offering cheaper fares to flyers from eight southern cities, including Bangalore, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mangalore and Thiruvananthapuram.
To make use of these cheap fares, a passenger has to make a booking by April 25 and travel has to be completed between June 10 and August 10. The offer allows a passenger from Bangalore to travel to 27 cities, including Delhi, for a fare staring at 2,049 while flyers from Kochi can look at flying to 13 cities, including Hyderabad, at an all inclusive fare of 1,949.
23/04/14 Business Line

Chakulia airstrip of the times of WWII awaiting revamp

Jamshedpur:  The historic airstrip situated at Chakulia in Baharagora Assembly constituency, situated some 40 kilometres away from Jamshedpur, is lying in shambles in want of government care.
Once used in the Second World War, this airstrip resembles a barren land abandoned by the authorities concerned since last many years.
The airstrip was used as a military airbase from 1942 till 1945 during WWII. Its main runway is 7284 metre long and 100 metre wide. Compared to it, the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi is merely 2713 long and 45 metre wide. The Chakulia airstrip is thus three times larger than the Birsa Munda Airport. Spread over an area of 400 acres, it has the capacity of accommodating 10 aeroplanes and 25 helicopters.
But despite its huge capacity, the state government has long been neglecting this heritage site. Now most part of the land around the airstrip is used as a grazing place for cattle and a garbage disposal site by factories and local residents, sources said.
24/04/14 Avenue Mail

HC stays Akola airport expansion

Nagpur: The high court here on Wednesday ordered status quo on proposed expansion plans for Shivni airport in Akola after Vidarbha Association for Research Technology and Development in Agricultural and Rural Sector (VART-DARS) filed a PIL through its president Balwant Bhatkal.
A division bench of Justices Bhushan Gavai and CV Bhadang gave the order in respect of possession and the status of the land of Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) while issuing notices to respondents.
According to counsel for petitioners Firdos Mirza and Tejas Deshpande, PDKV's executive council had resolved that it had difficulties in transferring land for the airport expansion in its meeting on January 22 last year. They cited TOI report of August 31 last year that PDKV would lose its important infrastructure and projects if the land were taken away.
The university wrote to the collector too that depriving it of said land would have adverse effect on important research projects.
24/04/14 Vaibhav Ganjapure/Times of India

Gate to stop VIP misuse of airport emergency lane

Nagpur: Continuing misuse of emergency lane in city airport's Drop and Go zone has led authorities to construct a new gate that will be locked at the entrance of the lane. This follows declaration made in September 2013 converting the erstwhile VIP lane into emergency lane by Mihan India Limited (MIL), the airport operator.
Even six months later, the emergency lane has not been completely effective in achieving its objectives. The main aim of this conversion was to stop the parking of VIP and other vehicles in the lane nearest to the terminal building. The parking of vehicles in close proximity of the airport building was viewed as a security threat by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) during its security review. Also, keeping the lane free would allow easy entry of vehicles such as fire tenders, ambulances and police vehicles during an emergency.
However, it is not uncommon to see VIP and police vehicles parked at leisure in the lane. This includes not only police vehicles on duty but also those that come to fetch or drop off senior government officials or politicians. The private security of the airport and the traffic police have failed to ensure that the emergency lane remains vacant.
24/04/14 Aparna Nair/Times of India

Mihan crisis: Abhijeet softens, but MADC turns down offer

Nagpur:  As the Mihan power supply imbroglio entered the courtroom, Abhijeet Group, which has snapped the connection to this SEZ, offered to temporarily resume supply at old rates during a high court hearing on Wednesday. A directive issued by Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) calling for state-owned power utility MSEDCL to take over power supply has been challenged in court by a group of investors in Mihan.
Abhijeet Group expressed willingness to restart supply till MERC issues a final verdict in the case, so that consumers do not face inconvenience. However, the move was countered by Maharashtra Airport Development Company's (MADC) counsel. The lawyer representing this state government agency and the developer of Mihan-SEZ opposed the move, saying this would lead to disparity among the industrial units.
In lines with the MERC directive, three consumers, which includes MADC itself, have already applied for a connection from MSEDCL. The other two are Tata Consultancy Services and another Tata group company, TAL Manufacturing Solutions.
24/04/14 Shishir Arya/Times of India

False ceiling falls at old terminal at Chennai airport

Chennai: In the fourth such incident in the airport here since last month, a portion of false ceiling collapsed at the old Anna International terminal today.
About ten panels of the false ceiling near bay number 28 came crashing down around 3.30 am. However, none was injured in the incident, airport sources said.
A statement from Airport Authority of India said the slabs measuring 2 feet x 2 feet fell in the international arrival area, which is due for renovation.
"At the time of the incident there was no movement of passengers and the place was cleaned in an hour," it said.
The airport has been witnessing a spate of mishaps such as false ceiling falling and glass panels cracking at its new domestic and international terminals, built at a cost of over Rs 2,000 crore and inaugurated by Vice-President Hamid Ansari in January 2013, raising questions about the quality of the construction.
23/04/14 PTI/Economic Times

Extra flights to India make Abu Dhabi airport busy

Dubai: With six new destinations and 71 extra flights to India, Abu Dhabi International Airport recorded busiest summer in its history this year.
The number of weekly flights available for business travellers and tourists have increased by 18 per cent compared to last summer, from 1,052 to 1,242, a statement released by the local news agency WAM reported.
Around 14 extra flights per week would fly from Abu Dhabi to Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. There will be 10 new services to Mumbai, eight to Cochin and seven to Delhi on a weekly basis.
24/04/14 PTI/Economic Times

TSR urges Jet Airways to reconsider decision

Visakhapatnam: The decision of Jet Airways to take Vizag off their route network with effect from May 31 has caused concern among various sections of the people.
Rajya Sabha Member T. Subbarami Reddy has expressed shock in a letter to Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal. Describing the decision as ‘hasty’, he sought reversal of the decision. He has said that Visakhapatnam is among the four fastest growing cities in India and the largest in Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation.
He has sought reconsidering of the decision and adding of new services on the Delhi-Vizag-Chennai sector in the mornings and Chennai-Vizag-Delhi in the evenings and extension of the Hyderabad-Abu Dhabi service to Visakhapatnam. He is optimistic that these services would be economically viable besides providing passenger convenience.
“It’s their (Jet Airways) policy matter but we appeal to other airline operators like Air Costa and Indigo to start operations from Vizag and benefit from the huge growth potential of the city. There are no flights from Hyderabad to Vizag after 4.30 p.m. and this is essential to those going on business trips and returning at the end of the day’s work,” feels G. Sambasiva Rao, past president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CII), Vizag.
24/04/14 The Hindu

Cat, pigeon blamed for Chennai airport tile fall

Chennai: You’ve all heard of cat-and-mouse games. Here’s one with a twist: a cat chased a pigeon in the middle of the night at the Chennai airport’s old international terminal and managed to cause 10 false ceiling tiles come crashing down.
“A pigeon was in the space between the false ceiling boards and the actual ceiling, when a cat started chasing it. As it chased the bird, the ceiling tiles may have loosened and fallen down,” said an AAI spokesperson.
The tiles fell over the corridor which leads to the arrival gate which passengers use to enter the airport after getting off planes. The 2x2 feet tiles had been installed well over a decade ago and were set to be overhauled along with the old terminal buildings. The last time ceiling panels fell at the airport was nine months ago, when a large 10 foot section crashed down at the new domestic terminal. It caps off a torrid month for AAI as glass breaks have become thrice-a-week affairs.
24/04/14 New Indian Express

Turning pad work gets underway at airport

Thiruvananthapuram: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has awarded work for the standardization of turning pad at Trivandrum International Airport(TIA). The work is expected to commence within 10 days after obtaining mandatory clearances from Civil Aviation.
The AAI has issued notice to airmen between 10.30am and 6am for carrying out the construction work. Two airlines operating large aircrafts, Emirates and Air India, have revised their flight schedules as the construction will reduce the Take-off Run Available, said an AAI official.
AAI had invited tender notice for standardization of turning pad, which is to widen the existing turning pad in both ends of runway 14-32 at the TIA at a cost of Rs 14.72 crore in September. The turning pad will take at least a year to complete. There are other developmental works scheduled to take place shortly at the TIA, which is part of the Rs 106.24 crore developmental work sanctioned by the Union government for TIA last year.
23/04/14 Sangeetha Nair/Times of India

SpiceJet Selects airRM as Its Revenue Management System

Seattle: Revenue Management Systems (RMS) is excited to announce that it has been selected to provide SpiceJet with state-of-the-art revenue management, inventory control, and reporting tools. SpiceJet has chosen airRM, the innovative revenue management software developed by RMS, Inc., to help it identify sales opportunities and maximize passenger revenues. The airRM software allows airlines to closely control pricing and analyze performance through a robust suite of features.
"As one of the most dynamic and innovative Low Cost Carriers in the Indian marketplace, we are very pleased to welcome SpiceJet to the growing list of airlines which use airRM to maximize their revenue," said Ben Druce, Vice President Sales and Support APAC. "In today's dynamic airline marketplace, the ability to react quickly to competitors while easily implementing pricing and inventory strategies is critical. With its robust suite of sophisticated inventory control methodologies, reporting tools and analytical modules designed specifically for today's modern airlines, airRM will provide SpiceJet the power to achieve their revenue management goals."
22/04/14 Consumer Electronics Net

Growing ammo seizures at Delhi airport

New Delhi: Arrests from Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), in a little over two years, of over 100 passengers, who had managed to sneak firearms and ammunition aboard Delhi-bound flights, has set off alarm bells for Delhi Police, who say the number of such incidents is rising.
One hundred and four passengers - 16 foreigners and 88 Indians - were arrested from the IGIA between January 2012 and April 2014.
The majority of the violations took place on domestic flights and, in most cases, the culprits were either from Bihar or Uttar Pradesh who were guilty of carrying live cartridges, while in some cases, one or two weapons were also recovered.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) M.I. Haider, one of the most shocking incidents involved the arrest of a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer, Manny Encarnacion, 35, who was arrested for carrying live cartridges in his bag.
"I wonder how he managed to clear security checks and scanners at the US airport with the live bullets in his luggage," a baffled Haider remarked while speaking to IANS.
23/04/14 Rajnish Singh/Daijiworld.com

420kg of red sandalwood seized, 9 Chinese detained

Ahmedabad: Customs department on Tuesday evening detained nine Chinese nationals and recovered 419.5 kg of red sanders (red sandalwood) worth Rs 8.3 lakh at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport.
The Chinese nationals were trying to smuggle red sanders by air route via Singapore. "A group of nine passengers going to Singapore by Singapore Airlines Flight no SQ-531, all Chinese nationals, were held for possessing prohibited items," said a customs official.
The Chinese nationals were carrying heavy wooden blocks and garlands of wooden beads containing 146.4 kg and 273.1 kg of red sanders respectively. The items have been confiscated by customs and legal process has been initiated.
"Red sanders are in huge demand in China. It is used for making musical instruments, cosmetics and costly furniture for five star hotels abroad," said the official.
24/04/14 Times of India

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Philippines signs airport pact with GMR despite legal issues

Bangalore: Various ongoing legal issues notwithstanding, the GMR-Megawide consortium on Tuesday signed the concession agreement with the Philippines’ Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) for expanding the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
The concession agreement was signed after the consortium paid $320 million as upfront premium.
According to a statement from GMR Infrastructure, this marks the beginning of a transition phase before the operations of MCIA are formally handed over to GMR-Megawide later in the year.
After giving a bid of $320 million, the GMR-Megawide consortium had emerged as the highest bidder for the MCIA project in the international bidding process, which culminated in December. DOTC had formally issued the Letter of Award to the consortium on April 4.
23/04/14 Business Standard

Etihad audit indicates Jet Airways has 700-employee surplus

The indications are clear that after infusing equity of Rs 2,057 crore in India's second largest commercial airline, Jet Airways, last year, Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad is tightening its control over the Indian carrier, and scrutinising its cost structure to make it viable.
Sources in Jet said that in an audit - now a continuous process, undertaken by Etihad - the Abu Dhabi-based carrier conveyed to Jet that more than 700 of its 10,000-plus employees were surplus.
"Going by this number that has been conveyed to Jet by Etihad, the 40 employees who have been asked to leave is just the beginning, and a minuscule number," said a Jet employee who does not want to be identified.
A source at the airline indicated that the airline has not yet handed over termination notices to the 40 employees, although some media reports have said they were asked to leave. "These employees met the management, and... till date they have not been handed over the notices," the source said.
Jet Airways did not comment on specific details about the withholding of notices and the surplus number of 700. But its spokesperson said: "Jet Airways would like to categorically state that the services of no employee at Delhi have been terminated, apart from normal attrition, which is way below industry levels. In fact, the airline continues to recruit in areas like revenue management, cabin crew and pilots based on its operational requirements." He added that there has been a "realignment of the airline's cargo handling operations".
22/04/14 Manisha Singhal/Business Today

Etihad Names Managers Before Transition to Etihad Aviation Group

Etihad Airways announced a series of executive appointments, including the hiring of a former Air Canada manager to head operations as the carrier prepares for a transition into Etihad Aviation Group.
Rick Allen, formerly of Air Canada, was named senior vice president of operations, responsible for flight operations, guest services, crew resources, and operations logistics and standards, the airline said. Other posts at the national airline of the United Arab Emirates include the promotion of Chris Youlten to the new job of senior vice president for airport and network operations, reporting to the chief operating officer.
“The new structure marks the transition from a single entity airline to a wider global aviation group,” Etihad said in a statement yesterday. “It distinguishes the functions relating purely to Etihad Airways and those which support the growth and success of its subsidiaries, joint venture companies and equity partners.”
Etihad has built stakes in airlines including Air Berlin Plc, Air Seychelles Ltd., Aer Lingus Group Plc, Virgin Australia, Air Serbia and Jet Airways India Ltd., and is seeking regulatory approval to invest in Swiss regional carrier Darwin Airline. The strategy feeds more traffic through Abu Dhabi, Etihad’s desert hub. Chief Executive Officer James Hogan is considering an investment in Alitalia SpA, the ailing Italian carrier.
22/04/14 Andrea Rothman and Deena Kamel Yousef/Bloomberg

Soon, you may be able to use your phone in-flight

Mumbai: You may soon be able to keep your mobile phone switched on during flight, with the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) mulling over a proposal to approve it by bringing in amendments in the present laws.
If the rule is implemented, the flyers can turn on their cell phones into 'flight safe mode', thus giving them the independence to work, play video games, listen to music, watch pre-loaded movies or even type their emails. The mails would, however, be sent only after the plane lands at the airport. This, aviation experts say, will give the passengers more time to work, read or play. "It has been a long-pending demand of the airlines," said a DGCA source.
The development will also bring respite to scores of travellers flying in the no-frill airlines, having no access to any form of entertainment during the flight.
23/04/14 Daily News & Analysis

Subramanian Swamy, Federation of Indian Airlines drag Tata Group-Singapore Airlines joint venture to court

Mumbai: The Federation of Indian Airlines and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy have now dragged the venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines to court by appealing against the aviation ministry's recent nod to it.
While the FIA, a lobbying body of local carriers filed a fresh application on April 15, Swamy on April 20 filed an impleadment application on April 20 including the Tatas and Singapore Airlines in an earlier appeal against the government.
To implead is to sue in court in response to an earlier pleading. Swamy had in end February filed an application that the government had violated the FDI policy by allowing investment in a new carrier. That appeal was in relation to the Tata Group's venture with Malaysian carrier AirAsia.
The next hearing for the appeal is tomorrow. The venture got the NOC on April 2 and will now apply to the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation for an air operator's permit.
22/04/14 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

All airlines to operate from Hamad International Airport from May 27

Doha: Starting 9 am on May 27 this year, all airlines are set to operate from Hamad International Airport (HIA). The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued a circular yesterday, informing country managers of airlines of this decision.
It was announced earlier that 10 budget airlines would start operating from the new terminal from April 30. These include Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Iran Air, Air India Express, Yemenia Yemen Airlines, Pakistan International Airline, Nepal Airline, Syrian Airline and Pegasus Airline.
The airport is expected to handle around 8700 passengers per hour and up to 19,500 bags an hour. It will have the largest free span hangar, which will enable it to handle multiple aircraft configurations and a dual runway system built for the world’s largest aircraft such as the A380. Apart from a greater capacity to accommodate more flights and passengers, it will also have a wide range of facilities for passengers including retail and F&B outlets capable of serving over 90,000 meals a day.
The airport opening has been stalled several times in the past. The big launch scheduled for April 1, 2013 was cancelled in the last minute, as authorities said safety standards were not met.
22/04/14 Just Here

Air India to shift Pune-Dubai service to Sharjah

Pune: Air India Express, a low-cost airline subsidiary of national carriers Air India (AI), will shift its Pune-Dubai direct flight service to Sharjah from May 1 in view of the partial closure of runway at the Dubai International Airport.
"With partial runway closure at Dubai airport from May 1 to July 20, flights between Dubai and Pune, Amritsar, Lucknow, Trichy and Jaipur will operate to and from Sharjah," Air India Express said in a notice put on its website. The airline has advised customers to check their websites for detailed flight timings.
In an official release, Dubai Airports said all systems would undergo a comprehensive runway upgrade as part of the project to boost safety, service and capacity levels at the world's second busiest international airport.
23/04/14 Vishwas Kothari/Times of India

SpiceJet pips IndiGo to win punctuality race

Mumbai: Low-cost airline IndiGo has successfully sold its airline on its much touted marketing plank of ‘IndiGo Standard Time’. But recent data show rivals challenging its numero uno position.
Data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) show that in the months of December 2013 and January and February this year,  SpiceJet topped the on-time performance (OTP) ranking among all domestic airlines. The data for December and January was collected from the four metropolitan cities and Bangalore and Hyderabad.  In February, data from Chennai and Kolkata were not available.  IndiGo and Jet Airways took the second and third rank, alternatively, during this period. DGCA has not yet released the March data.
The data show SpiceJet fared better than the rest at Chennai and Kolkata airports with over 96 per cent on-time flights in December and January. DGCA did not provide the data of these two airports for February. IndiGo had a better OTP than rivals at Mumbai and Delhi during those two months.  OTP of airlines has been the lowest at Mumbai airport in recent months, as the  ongoing taxiway work is causing flight delays.
23/04/14 Business Standard

Cochin Airport plots ambitious duty free expansion at new international terminal

Cochin International Airport Ltd has begun work on its new international terminal, with completion expected by mid to late 2016. And the company has pledged an impressive commercial offer, including close to 40,000sq ft of duty free space. The expansion is in anticipation of rapid growth in passenger numbers. These hit 5.39 million in the latest financial year, up by more than +10% year-on-year.
The new terminal will measure 1,500,000sq ft with the capacity to handle 4,000 passengers during peak hours. This is the biggest expansion of the airport since it began operations in 1999.
Airport Director A.C.K.Nair said: “CIAL has decided on a major expansion considering the passenger growth. We started the construction of a new International Terminal and this is expected to be completed within 30 months. This terminal is to cater to the needs of at least the next 15 to 20 years. We are also creating more retail area in the terminal to maximise the commercial revenue.”
Alpha Kreol India, a joint venture with World Duty Free Group, has managed Cochin International Airport’s duty free business since 2002.
22/04/14 Dermot Davitt/Moodie Report

Bangalore students’ aircraft model wins in a field of 170 teams

Bangalore: Their aircraft crashed five times in a row. The worst part is this. It crashed just ahead of an aeromodelling contest, leaving its builders with only a few hours to put it together again.
The students built it in three hours straight, tested it in the morning and packed it before catching a Delhi-bound train in the afternoon. Their efforts paid off: they stood first in the national level aeromodelling competition organised by Boeing and five IITs.
Meet the trio from ACS College of Engineering, Bangalore who made the city proud by defeating 170 other teams in the National Aeromodelling Competition at New Delhi. Interestingly, the first runner-up position was also bagged by another Bangalore team (BMS College of Engineering).
Tabrez Nadvi, a third-year aeronautical engineering student from ACS was logged into Facebook and by chance, came across the aeromodelling competition page. He and his friends enrolled and stood third in the zonal level competition held at IIT Kharagpur.
23/04/14 Sridhar Vivan/Bangalore Mirror

Aero-bridge installed Biju Patnaik International Airport

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Patnaik International Airport has got the requisite permissions form the Air Authority of India (AAI) to build a lower area control centre (LACC) in its premises to have more control over flights. Sources said the proposed centre would ensure better control of aircrafts flying up to a height of 25,500 feet making air travel in them safer. “Earlier, the total control was with Kolkata. But under space harmonisation, we are now given the permission to have lower area control and approach control. Kolkata will control the aircrafts flying over 25,500 feet high,” said Airport Director Sharad Kumar.
23/04/14 Odisha Diary

Aviation Management Services looks to grow business through IPIndian Premier League

New Delhi: Flight support provider Aviation Services Management (ASM) which is providing flight support services to the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL Tuesday said it is using the mega-event to further penetrate the Indian market.
“As a leading player in flight support services, ASM is very excited to be associated with the IPL. We believe India is a very exciting market for us and being part of the IPL is allowing us an opportunity to showcase our services to a large cross section of potential clients,” said Vito Gomes, founder and managing director, Aviation Services Management.
22/04/14 IANS/Mizo News

Networkplay enters into an exclusive partnership with T3 IGI Airport

Mumbai: Delhi International Airport (Private) Limited and India’s leading digital media solutions company, Networkplay, have entered into a long-term partnership to create a first-of-its-kind Airport–TV Network within Terminal 3(T3) – Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), Delhi. Commissioned in the year 2010, T3 is the world’s eighth largest passenger terminal.
 The Airport-TV Network will air world-class HD-content to entertain, inform and relax the T3 traveller before they board their flight. Placed strategically to engage a captive audience, these TV Screens will offer world-class edutainment content to passengers, who spend between 40-90 minutes on an average, waiting to board their flights. The Airport-TV Network will air a good mix of short-form and long-form content, keeping in mind, the dwell time and content consumption habits of a premium traveller on the move. The Airport-TV Network covers over 125, 42-inch or more HD-Television screens located at ambient dwell opportunities within T3 near the boarding area, baggage reclaim area and at other captive locations.
22/04/14 India Television

Travel Agents Seek Support of Aviation Ministry

Kochi: IATA Agents’ Association of India (IAAI) national president Biji Eapen has pointed out that the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) has made it clear that ‘commission is a part of the fare’ and that airlines should determine the quantum and no amount over and above the tariff can be allowed. The MCA order, dated August 24, 2007, directed 5 per cent commission and adequate airway bill stock to all cargo agents by all the airlines.
The annual general meeting of IATA Agents’ Association of India (IAAI) has urged the MCA to support the travel agent fraternity in the country and ensure that due commission is paid to the agents by the airline companies.
Since the law does not distinguish between cargo and passenger sales agents, the ministry certainly can issue a similar order for passenger sales agents too, so that there is no discrimination between the two. The IAAI approached the ministry again, categorically mentioning that the ministry is deliberately silent on the issue.
22/04/14 New Indian Express

Bombay High Court shocked by Airports Authority of India's attitude in denying child-care leave

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court pulled up the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for not considering the plea of a woman employee who had sought child-care leave as prescribed by the government norms, to take care of her daughter who suffers from learning disability.
"We are surprised at the adversarial stand of the AAI ....We are shocked by the attitude of the AAI. As an employer you should have taken a sympathetic approach," said the division bench of Justices V M Kanade and Anil Memon.
The court was hearing a petition filed by S Mangala, Deputy General Manager (Aviation Safety), AAI, seeking implementation of child care leave norms recommended in the Sixth Pay Commission in 2008.
The Judges reserved the order after hearing both sides. Mangala approached the High Court after her request for leave for attending to her 12-year-old daughter was rejected.
22/04/14 PTI/Economic Times

Childcare leave: Bombay high court raps AAI for not being sympathetic to woman employee

The high court has rapped the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for not being sympathetic to an employee who had sought two years' childcare leave, as prescribed by the Union government, to take care of her 12-year-old daughter who has learning disability.
"We are surprised at the adversarial stand of the AAI.... We are shocked by its attitude. As an employer you should have taken a sympathetic approach," said justice VM Kanade.
A division bench of justices Kanade and Anil Memon was hearing a petition by S Mangala, AAI deputy general manager (aviation safety), seeking implementation of childcare leave as recommended in the Sixth Pay Commission in 2008.
Mangala approached the high court after AAI had rejected her request for childcare leave.
Ajay Khaire, the AAI counsel, argued that their policy did not include childcare leave. "We have increased maternity leave from 135 days to 180 days. But there is no provision for childcare leave," said Khaire.
Ravi Shetty, counsel for Union government, said that several public sector undertakings had their own policies and benefits for employees and did not follow Central government guidelines.
23/04/14 Urvi Mahajani/Daily News & Analysis

Chinese gangs implicated in India gold smuggling

Mumbai: A Dubai based Chinese mafia appears to be playing a key role in gold smuggling incidents, especially in South India, customs officials in India say.
Over the last few months, customs officials at the Rajiv Gandhi international Airport in Hyderabad, have detained more than 50 passengers and recovered approximately 80 kilograms of gold. On April 1, about 7.70 kilogram of gold was seized from two passengers by the Directorate of revenue intelliegence sleuths, which was the first instance to alert the investigating team about the role of the neighbouring nation.
"Though it sounds incredulous, investigators have come across enough evidence to indicate that Chinese gangs are hiring operators in other countries and smuggling gold into Hyderabad, Kerala and other Indian cities," said Kalyan Revella, Assistant Commissioner, Customs and Central Excise, at Hyderabad.
Revella said that his investigators had found passengers from Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia carrying illegal gold into Hyderabad. "During the course of the investigation, most of them disclosed that they had been handed the gold to smuggle into the city. They were to get a commission of $8,254 (Rs 500,000) per 1 kilogram," he said.
"Based on the confessions of detained passengers, we have investigated the cases and got some leads that some middlemen were hired by gangs based in China, who were targetting other gangs in Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai. The motive of the gangs is to smuggle gold to India, and the middlemen lure passengers by offering attractive commissions," Revella added.
22/04/14 Mineweb