Monday, July 28, 2014

Bid to set up Northeast Aviation Council

Guwahati:  The College of Aeronautical Engineering has proposed a Northeast Aviation Council to the DoNER Minister Gen (Retd) Dr VK Singh. Representatives of the college demanded a major overhaul in the aviation sector in the North-east arguing that lack of connectivity must not hamper the growth of the region.
The project worth Rs 300 crore is supposed to provide direct benefit to tourism, health, disaster management, trade and commerce and government administration, among others.

Addressing the media here recently, Bikram Singha Lahkar, chief patron of the college said that improved aviation facilities in the region in the form of air medical support service, charter aircraft, one Northeast Regional Airlines service, connecting the capitals of eight States and other facilities proposed in the project would be the major employment generator in the region directly helping 10,000 youth.

Despite spending a huge amount of money as subsidy to Air India and many private airlines, the Northeast aviation industry is in a pitiable condition. Whereas many of the airfields including Pasighat, Rupsi, Teju, Zero and Kamalpur are still not operational, only 11 out of total 22 airports are considered as fully operational.
27/07/14 Assam Tribune

SpiceJet to discontinue operations from Mysore

Mysore: The sole commercial flight connecting Mysore with Bangalore and Chennai will be discontinued with effect from September 1, in what could be a major setback to the region’s connectivity with other business centres.

SpiceJet, which was operating the flight, has indicated that it is withdrawing operations from the city. Confirming this with The Hindu, C. Manjunath, officer in charge of he Mysore Airport, said he received an SMS from the airline’s local representative indicating the closure of operations with effect from September 1. The airline has also cancelled flights from Mysore till August 10.

Mr. Manjunath said services during June and July were erratic as the airline had suspended flights citing operational reasons.

“One of its aircraft was grounded for technical reasons and hence there were frequent cancellations and change of schedule in operations to Mysore,” said Mr. Manjunath.
29/07/14 The Hindu

‘Will Complete All Airport Projects Soon’

Davangere:  All pending airport projects in the state, including Gulbarga, Bijapur, Hassan, Bellary and Shimoga will be completed soon, said Minister of State for Civil Aviation G M Siddeshwar.

He was speaking at a press conference at Anagodu after reviewing the release of Tungabhadra water to Anagodu tank. If the aviation industry suffers heavy losses, the ministry will take steps to rejuvenate it with the advice of the Union Finance Ministry, he said.

“I have a dream of building an airstrip in Davangere. Around 500 acres is needed for the purpose. I have already consulted the Deputy Commissioner in this regard,” he said. Efforts are on allot land for the airstrip near Karilakkenahalli village, he added.
28/07/14 New Indian Express

Flight operations to stop at Hubli airport for two months

Bangalore/Hubli/Belgaum: The twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad will have no air connectivity for at least two months from August 1, as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will take up an expansion project. However, small aircraft such as four to six-seaters and helicopters can land at the airport.

Spicejet has been operating two flights per day on the Hubli-Bangalore, Hubli-Delhi-Jabalpur-Mumbai routes. The airline will provide service from Belgaum city during the period. Spicejet is the only service provider from Hubli.

The AAI will increase the length of the runway from 4,500 ft to 7,500 ft and width from 90 ft to 135 ft, at a cost of Rs 60 crore. It is feared that the project would get delayed as the Hubli-Dharwad City Corporation and other local utility providers are not co-operating.

Though the Public Works Department (PWD) has handed over three km of the road (major district road) that has been acquired for expansion, the urban local body and the traffic police have not taken steps to stop vehicular movement on the stretch.
27/07/14 Deccan Herald

SpiceJet discount offer unlikely to get ministry go-ahead

The ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) is unlikely to approve budget carrier SpiceJet's proposal to offer restricted non-changeable, non-refundable fares, saleable at any time for domestic travel.

While the airline had in its proposal to the government argued issue of such tickets would help improve occupancy and allow them to discount by half even last-minute or spot fares, highly placed sources in the ministry said SpiceJet would have to refund to passengers the charges levied in an air ticket by the government and airport operators in the event of cancellations.

A senior official in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), confirming such a request from SpiceJet, said, "The total fare charged by any airline includes levies by government and airport operators. These components like CUTE (common user terminal equipment) Fee, ADF (airport development fee), Service Tax, Passenger Service Fee (PSF) which remain unutilised in event of cancellations would have to be returned to passengers."
28/07/14 Sharmistha Mukherjee/Business Standard

DGCA fails to plug safety loopholes even as FAA review meeting looms

Despite tall claims by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of having plugged most deficiencies pointed out by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the regulator has so far been able to recruit only 35 of the 75 chief flight operations inspectors (CFOIs).
The dismal picture emerges even as the DGCA prepares to move the US regulator next month to revoke the January downgrade of India's aviation sector from category I to category II.
The downgrade has barred Air India and Jet Airways from expanding their operations in the US and impacted codeshare arrangements with their American counterparts.
A DGCA official told MAIL TODAY that although top bosses are rushing ahead with scheduling the meeting, the time is not right as FAA is likely to take a more stringent view with a series of crashes have taken place globally the last month or so.
The DGCA plans to submit its final report and make a comprehensive presentation before FAA on the progress made in rectifying the defects pointed by the US regulator.
DGCA had appointed US-based firm The Wicks Group under a bilateral assistance programme funded by the United States Trade and Development Agency to help it upgrade their operations in order to restore the category-I status.
28/07/14 Business Today

Can India accommodate more domestic airlines?

New Delhi: The old debate on whether India has an appetite for more domestic airlines has again got a lease of life after GM Siddeshwara, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, told the Lok Sabha that during the last three-four years, six companies applied for scheduled and regional scheduled operator permits.

Of these, four – AirAsia (India), Quickjet Cargo Airlines, Ligare Aviation and LEPL Projects (Air Costa) — have been given air operator permits after they completed the process for starting new airlines.

AirAsia (India) and Air Costa have already started operations.

Technically speaking, getting an air operator’s permit is the second and final step in starting an airline in India. A new start-up airline first has to approach the Ministry of Civil Aviation and seek a no-objection certificate (NOC). At this stage, the Ministry seeks clearances from various Government agencies, including the Home Ministry, which checks the background of individuals that the airline wants to induct on its board. With the Ministry’s NoC, the airline approaches the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for clearances to fly. These clearances are given after the regulator examines all the manuals of the airline and conducts route proving flights, after which the airline can take to the skies. However, just completing all the formalities is a long drawn-up process.
27/07/14 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line

Directorate General of Civil Aviation mulling to introduce easier flying licence rules for small operators

New Delhi: India's civil aviation regulator is likely to make it easier for companies to start flight operations, especially those seeking to use small planes. It's also recommended that small operators be allowed to run scheduled services to boost connectivity of destinations that aren't served by airlines.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is preparing a new set of civil aviation rules that would substantially ease the process of getting an air operator's permit or flying licence for so-called non-scheduled operators (NSOPs), said a senior official at the regulator.

Such companies typically run corporate or chartered flight services. The proposed rules could result in the time an NSOP needs to get a flying licence being slashed to six months from around a year now.

Currently, both scheduled and nonscheduled operators have to meet the same guidelines for a flying licence.
28/07/14 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Regular flights to link Gujarat cities soon

Ahmedabad: The union civil aviation ministry has identified six places — Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Kandla, Keshod, Daman and Diu — in and around the state to promote regional air connectivity as part of the central government's plan for Tier-II and Tier-III cities of the country.

Small airports that can handle scheduled flights on a regular basis will be built at the six places identified by the civil aviation ministry. These places currently do have airstrips but they handle very few flights. For instance, one scheduled flight operates daily out of Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Diu. The airports that are planned will not be as big those in Ahmedabad and other large cities but they will be more than airstrips.

According to officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the small airports that are planned will be able to handle 70-80 seater ATR aircraft and Boeing 737s and will have frequency of up to 15-16 flights.
According to officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the small airports that are planned will be able to handle 70-80 seater ATR aircraft and Boeing 737s and will have frequency of up to 15-16 flights.
28/07/14 Piyush Mishra/Times of India

Govt aims to develop 5 airports, award contracts

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry will start the development of five no-frills airports and award management contracts of four airports to private operators in the current financial year. The targets were set in a meeting between secretaries of ministries and Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi on Saturday.

Planning Commission Secretary Sindhushree Khullar coordinated the meeting attended by secretaries from the railways, road transport and highways, civil aviation, power, coal, renewable energy, ports and shipping, telecommunications, petroleum and natural gas ministries and the PM.

A ministry official said, "The outlay for the civil aviation sector has been increased 66 per cent. It was decided to start work on five of 50 low-cost airports. The locations are yet to be finalised. We have decided to award management contracts in at least four of six airports to private operators, processes for which were started last year."

The year’s outlay for the civil aviation ministry is Rs 934 crore.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had last year started the process to award management contracts at airports in Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Guwahati, Jaipur and Ahmedabad to private operators. The process had to be stalled earlier this year due to Assembly elections.
28/07 14 Business Standard

Odisha Govt to establish mini airports at Paradip, Dhamara, Kalinganagar

Bhubaneswar: The State Govt has decided to set up new mini-airports at Paradip, Kalinganagar and Dhamara. Meanwhile in Malkangiri, land acquisition work for seting up a new airport there has been finished.

According to sources of General administration department, the state government is taking necessary steps use the airport located at Jharsuguda for commercial purpose. Similarly, the state government has decided to make Jaipur airport in Koraput district a full fledged one.
28/04/15 Odisha Dairy

Kadapa airport works nearing completion

Kadapa: Works undertaken at Kadapa airport is nearing completion and it would be inaugurated shortly, District Collector K.V. Ramana has said.
After reviewing the progress of works with officials of forest, roads and buildings and fire department at the airport here on Monday, the Collector said that issues pertaining to security arrangements and steps to check the entry of deer into the airport were yet to be addressed. He directed Roads and Buildings officials to put up speed breakers on the main road leading to the airport.
28/07/14 MV Subramanyam/The Hindu

Report sought on Dreamliner snags

New Delhi:  Repeated glitches in Dreamliner planes have prompted the civil aviation ministry to seek a report from Air India on the problems faced in the use of the aircraft.

“On a daily basis something or the other keeps happening to one of these planes. The airline is spending considerable time, energy and manpower just to take care of these issues. When an aircraft is grounded right before it takes off, it causes inconvenience to passengers, delays the flight and is not good for the reputation of the carrier. We have asked the airline to file a report detailing all the troubles it has faced with the plane,” said a senior ministry official.

The official said the ministry might take action and demand an explanation from manufacturer Boeing.

According to reports, Air India had recently declined to take the delivery of the sixteenth aircraft after it faced glitches, including problems with the landing gear, in the test flights. Ministry officials said the airline would give a detailed report soon.
28/07/14 The Telegraph

flydubai to start five-times-a-week flights to Mumbai from October

Mumbai: Commencing on October 28, 2014, flydubai will operate direct flights five times a week between Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 2 and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, and increase the frequency of flights to Delhi to five weekly. With the addition of Mumbai to its network, flydubai now serves seven destinations in India, with 25 flights a week, a release states.

Flight FZ445 will depart from Dubai at 2240 hrs local time on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, landing in Mumbai at 0300 hrs local time.

Flight FZ446 will depart from Mumbai at 0400 hrs on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and arrive in Dubai at 0600 hrs local time.

In June, flydubai doubled its network in India with the start of flights to Delhi, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The new flights were a result of the expanded bilateral agreements that India has signed with Dubai over the past 12 months.
28/07/14 TravelBizMonitor

GMR Infrastructure plans to list airport business this year

GMR Infrastructure's airport business that made a profit last financial year after three years of losses is now set upon a financially stable path which entails an imminent IPO, cash compensation from an earlier project, a stringent filter on future projects and limited capital outflows, its group finance chief said recently.

The plans fit the Bangalore conglomerate's overall strategy of raising cash, paring debt, transforming itself into a light-asset company and unlocking potential in individual businesses, Madhu Terdal told ETin an interview.

"We are planning to list our airports energy businesses this year," said Terdal, adding that it aims to raise $250 million from share sale.
28/07/14 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Flight delay: DGCA asks SpiceJet to refund fare

New Delhi: In a first-of-its-kind action, DGCA has directed SpiceJet to refund fare to all passengers of a Mumbai-Delhi flight that was delayed by about five hours last month, officials said on Monday.

The aviation regulator also asked the no-frills airline to refund the money it charged from passengers of this delayed flight by selling food and beverages, instead of offering it free in accordance with the laid-down rules.

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft (VT-SGO), carrying 172 passengers including two infants, suffered engineering problems which led the pilots to abort take-off and return to the bay.

Another plane was pressed into service, replacing the 189-seater aircraft, to operate Flight SG-419 on June 16 after a delay of over four-and-a-half hours.

Acting on a complaint of a passenger, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) conducted an investigation and found that the flight was delayed due to "technical problems twice on account of 'leading edge flap transit light' and rejected take-off due 'take-off configuration' warning, tthe officials said.
28/07/14 PTI/Zee News

Tourism businessmen protest to demand air services

Jaisalmer: The tourist season has almost started, but there is no hope of air service starting in Jaisalmer. Disappointed over the indifference of centre and state governments, the businessmen in Jaisalmer took out a silent procession under the banner of Golden City Tourism Confederation Development Society and I Love Jaisalmer and submitted memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union civil aviation minister.

The Society's president Prithviraj Singh and spokesperson Rajendra Kumar Awasthi said in the memorandum that Jaisalmer along with being a tourist place is a border district too due to which demand for air service is high not only for tourism but also for military. Despite the civil airport lying ready for two years, air service has not started till now.
Every year, over 100 chartered flights come to Jaisalmer which clearly shows how important the air service is in Jaisalmer. "If step-motherly treatment continues with Jaisalmer, then it will lag behind in all areas and setting up of new industrial plants will remain a distant dream," the memorandum said.
28/07/14 Vimal Bhatia/Times of India

Now, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security orders closing VIP lane at airport

Nagpur: The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has also now directed MIHAN India Limited (MIL), the operator of Nagpur's Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, to completely shut down the erstwhile VIP lane, which is now called the Emergency Lane.

MIL had, during the aerodrome committee meeting in September last year, taken a decision to convert the then VIP drop-and-go lane into Emergency Lane. The intention was to stop use of the lane, especially as a parking area by VIP and other vehicles.

However, the declaration didn't prove to be enough and many 'VIPs' continued to use the lane as a parking area since the decision was not strictly implemented. Finally, MIL constructed a gate to the lane and locked it up in April this year and issued a circular to the effect.

However, demands from various quarters still keep coming to the airport operators for special permission to use the lane. Many self-styled VIPs continue to create a scene in order to use the Emergency Lane. "The lane is supposed to be used by only emergency vehicles. But we keep getting a lot of demands to open the gate," said an airport official.
28/07/14 Times of India

Ceptian dreams up international terminal for Surat airport

Ahmedabad:  At a time when the Centre has announced modernization of Gujarat airports and decided to develop them according to global standards, a city student has come up with a model for an international terminal for Surat airport as an extension of the existing domestic terminal.

In his model, Ajay Mistry of Cept University addresses key aspects of airport design. The challenge was to adopt the architectural language of the existing building to blend the international terminal model with the existing one so that they complement each other.

Traditionally, airports are designed as light-roofed structures with a horizontal, one-dimensional spread. In designing the model for an international terminal, Mistry has visualized a large and grounded structure. During take-off or landing, passengers in a plane will see the terminal as elevated ground.
28/07/14 Ankur Tewari/Times of India

Plan to give extra waiting area to airport visitors

Lucknow: : Extra waiting area would be provided to visitors at the international terminal of the Amausi airport soon . Airport authorities have drawn out a plan for converting part of the open area near the canteen into a waiting shed.

Airport director Suresh Chandra Hota said there have been repeated demands from visitors for more waiting area at the international terminal. "We have agreed and directions have been issued to come up with a plan," he said.

"A lot of visitors arrive to receive or see off others at the international terminal. All of them do not seek entry into the main waiting lounge. The new waiting area will be free. They can wait and leave as and when they want," Hota said,
28/07/14 Times of India

CIAL posts record profit

Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has registered an impressive growth rate of 11.68 per cent in its profits rates to post a record profit of Rs. 124.42 crore during the fiscal 2013-14.

According to official estimates, the company’s gross profit stood at Rs. 157.46 crore while the total turnover was at Rs. 361.39 crore. Of this, 44.8 per cent of income (Rs. 161.99 crore) comes from non traffic sector.

The total revenue of the company during last financial year was at Rs. 306.5 crore with a profit after tax of Rs.111.41 crore.
28/07/14 Hiran Unnikrishnan/The Hindu

Surat residents demand extension of airport runway

Surat: Members of the We Want Working Airport at Surat (WWWAS), a group crusading for the development of Surat airport, have started a 'signature campaign' on the social sites including Facebook demanding corrective measures to remove limitations on the airport runway.

The group members have urged the Airport Authority of India (AAI), through their online petition, to extend the runway by 1,800 foot to the original plan of 9,000 foot.

Originally the airport master plan had a runway length of 9,000 ft for safe operations of twin aisled wide bodied twin engine aircraft. However, as Air India was the only operator using single aisled aircraft, the runway construction was stopped at 7,200 ft.

The petition has been initiated by a Boston-based NRI, Tarun Chugh who is urging his group members and his contacts on Facebook and other social sites to sign the petition, which will then be sent to the AAI officials.
28/07/14 Times of India

Kochi’s ‘Flying Fish’ trains naval pilots

Kochi: In a historical first, naval air squadron no. 550, called the ‘Flying Fish’— the fountainhead of naval aviation in India — has taken on the task of training naval pilots.

The first batch of three pilots who underwent their basic conversion course on the Dornier maritime reconnaissance aircraft at the squadron, based under the Southern Naval Command in Kochi, will receive the ‘wings’ at a passing-out ceremony at the command on Wednesday.

“The Indian naval aviation inventory, which boasts 223 aircraft, is bigger than that of some air forces in the world. We are set to make a fresh cycle of inductions, which requires us to augment our crew strength as well,” said Commodore G. Prakash, director of Maritime Warfare Centre (Kochi).

Until now, basic flying training of naval pilots was done by the Air Force at its academy at Dundigul, where 17 seats are earmarked for naval flyers. “But with the IAF also growing rapidly, it is unable to cater to our increased demand for training. Then the Navy decided to send its officers opting for the flying stream to train at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA) at Rae Bareli,” Cmde Prakash said.
27/07/14 S. Anandan/The Hindu

5 held at RGIA for bid to smuggle out gutkha

Hyderabad: Customs officials on Sunday apprehended five passengers at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport while they were trying to smuggle out 5,000 packets of 'gutkha' to Doha. Gutkha is banned in India.

The customs officials pulled aside the five when they noticed gutkha packets stuffed in their checked-in luggage and stopped them from boarding a Doha-bound Qatar Airways flight in the wee hours of Sunday. "We found 5,000 packets of gutkha stuffed inside their checked-in baggage. They were natives of Hyderabad and were going to Qatar for jobs," a customs official said.
28/07/14 Times of India

Increased smuggling a worry in Bangalore

Bangalore: Increasing attempts to smuggle in gold across the nation-including at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA)-is becoming a major headache for the authorities. Airports across major metros and other important cities have been reporting increasing smuggling activity, and, officials attribute the reason to the hike in gold import duty, which was hiked from 2% to 10% last year. The issue is troubling the retail industry in the country too.

In 2013-14, there were 99 cases of gold smuggling in KIA, which saw authorities seize 73.431-kg of gold worth an estimated Rs 25.3 crore. This is an increase from two cases with 2.4-kg of gold worth Rs 69 lakh being seized in the previous year.

This year, the number of cases at KIA has already touched 34, with 31.08-kg of the yellow metal worth Rs 8.85 crore having been seized. "...We've seen cases in the past. But the sheer magnitude in increase is alarming," a department of revenue intelligence (DRI) official said.
27/07/14 Chetan Kumar

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Get pilots who can tackle bad weather and wet runways: DGCA tells airlines

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered domestic carriers to ensure that their pilots are certified to fly during the monsoon as there is a high risk of planes skidding out of control on wet runways. The DGCA has warned airlines, "It will be the responsibility of the operator (airline) to formulate a comprehensive training programme for allweather operations depending upon the flight crew experience, aeroplane capability and aerodrome facilities." When asked, a senior DGCA functionary said, "The orders in this regard have been issued to domestic airlines to ensure that all their pilots are well trained to deal with rough weather".
All airlines and aircraft operators have also been asked to formulate and conduct allweather operations (AWO) training programmes for their crew members.

The DGCA's circular also recommends the AWO training programme on simulators for initial and recurrent training and in-flight training on a particular plane type for all crew members. "Simulation techniques are a valuable training aid for limited visibility operations," says the circular.

Air India and Jet Airways officials claim their pilots have already been trained to operate on wet runways and have undergone the required refresher course. Pilots are given day-long classroom lessons besides training on simulator and route check to make them aware of route on which they would operate.
27/07/14 Sanjay Singh/India Today

DGCA to seek fresh audit of India's aviation safety oversight mechanism

With new procedures in place and skilled manpower recruited to carry out aviation safety surveillance, DGCA is ready to seek a fresh audit of India's safety oversight mechanism which was downgraded in January by its US counterpart FAA.

In a bid to meet all deficiencies in 33 areas found by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after it carried out two safety audits last year, the DGCA has been on an overdrive to recruit flight inspectors, one of the key findings of the US aviation regulator. Following these deficiencies, FAA had downgraded India from the top Category-I to II on January 31 this year.

While a large number of full-time Flight Operations Inspectors (FOIs) and other skilled and technical manpower have already been recruited, a spate of interviews are still on to further enhance the strength of such officials to enable DGCA fulfil all the criteria and seek a fresh audit. The sources said DGCA has sought a meeting with FAA next month to submit its final report and make a comprehensive presentation on the progress made in rectifying the defects and allaying the concerns expressed by the US regulator.

The FAA's downgrade of the country's safety mechanism came after it found deficiencies in 33 areas, including severe shortage of skilled manpower even at the top levels in India's aviation regulator and lack of regulations and procedures on safety surveillance and related issues.
27/07/14 Daily News & Analysis

Abandoned Dakota aircraft at Kolkata airport was flown by Biju Patnaik

Kolkata: A Dakota DC-3 aircraft parked for decades at the Kolkata airport was used by former Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik to rescue former Indonesian vice president Md Hatta and prime minister Sutan Sjahrir on July 22, 1947, a researcher has unearthed. Anil Dhir, who is based in Bhubaneswar and has made efforts to track down all the aircraft of Kalinga Airlines over the last two years, has written to Odisha chief minister and Biju Patnaik's son Navin Patnaik to salvage the aircraft and park it outside the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar.

Kalinga Airlines was a private airline that operated from Kolkata. It was founded by Biju Patnaik and operated nearly a dozen Dakotas. Patnaik was it's chief pilot. Indonesia was under Dutch control till 1941 when the Japanese occupied the country. After the Japanese surrender in World War II, Indonesian freedom fighters declared independence. The Dutch would have none of it though and made an attempt to regain control of the country, launching a full-scale attack on July 21, 1947.
After the Dutch attack, Dr Sukarno, who had declared himself the president of independent Indonesia, ordered Sjahrir and Hatta to leave the country to create international public opinion. The two were unable to do so, however, as the sea and air routes were controlled by the Dutch. This was when Jawaharlal Nehru came to Indonesia's assistance and asked Patnaik to fly to Jakarta and rescue Sjahrir and Hatta.
26/07/14 Jayanta Gupta/Times of India

Tata-SIA hopes to launch flights by September-October

Jamshedpur: Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd on Saturday said it hoped to launch flights by September-October this year as it expressed "satisfaction" over the progress made in getting the flying licence from aviation regulator DGCA.

"The AOP (Air Operator's Permit or flying licence) exercise is progressing well and we are expecting to launch the full service airlines' domestic service in September- October," S Varadarajan, chief human resource officer and chief of corporate affairs of the airline, said.

Varadarajan, who was in the steel city to participate in the HR Conclave 2014 organized by CII Jamshedpur, said Tata- SIA has shared all relevant issues, including the route network plan of the company with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and was awaiting the AOP.

The company would procure four to five aircraft by end of March next year and enhance the procurement to 20 in next few years, he said.

To a query on the route network and destinations to launch flights, Varadarajan refused to comment saying the airline's route network wing was taking care of it.
27/07/14 India TV News

Air India ends contract of 30 pilots, including 15 expats

New Delhi:  Air India has ended the contracts of almost 30 pilots, including expatriates, over the past six months, a move that would help the cash-starved national carrier make some savings.
Fifteen of these pilots are expatriates who were hired for flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliners till Air India's crew got trained, airline officials said, adding that their contract was not renewed any further.
With the number of Boeing 777s in Air India's fleet depleting with five being sold to Gulf-based Etihad Airways and three more on the block, the contracts of 11 pilots of these aircraft have also been terminated, they said.
The remaining pilots whose contracts have not been renewed include two simulator instructors who are senior pilots and two of Boeing 747 jumbos, sources said, adding that this was a continuous process.
26/07/14 PTI/Economic Times

Air Costa to enhance connectivity on Chennai-Madurai sector

Mumbai: Regional carrier Air Costa today said it will enhance connectivity on Chennai-Madurai-Chennai sector from next month.

With the launch of second flight to Madurai connecting Chennai, Hyderabad and Vijayawada, effective August 6, Air Costa customers will enjoy same day return flights between these cities, the airline said in a statement.

The introduction of these new flights will take the total number of daily services operated by Air Costa to 36 from across nine domestic airports, it said.

"It gives me immense pleasure in announcing this additional flight between Chennai and Madurai. Chennai-Madurai-Chennai sector has started attracting both leisure and business passengers in the recent past, and holds immense potential for Air Costa," airline's managing director LVS Rajasekhar said.
27/07/14 PTI/Economic Times

Navy clears Visakhapatnam airport expansion

Visakhapatnam: In a welcome relief, the authorities of Eastern Naval Command (ENC), has hinted that it has no objections to  the expansion of the Visakhapatnam airport, which also houses naval air station INS Dega.
Locals have been demanding that the Indian Navy shift its air station to NAOB as they were of the opinion that the expansion of the present airport is being hindered. However, in what could come as a disappointment for the locals, the Eastern  Naval Command (ENC) seems to be in no mood to heed to their demand to shift the operations of the Navy.
“We don’t have any objections to the expansion of the airport. We  extend full cooperation for that. However, at the same time, INS Dega is strategically located for our operations. We also need another air station for other operations that we are considering other places,” said a top ENC official.
27/07/14 Deccan Chronicle

Navi Mumbai Airport: Cidco Extends Bid Deadline Again to Sept 2

Mumbai: After the Civil Aviation Ministry recently approved the revised tender document for the proposed Navi Mumbai airport, the nodal implementing agency Cidco has extended the deadline to submit requests for qualification (RFQs) to September 2.

Last week, a Cidco delegation had presented a revised tender document draft to aviation minister Ashok Gajpathy Raju, which he approved immediately. This is the second extension for the bids since June 18.

"Bidders had requested us to make certain changes in the existing tender document. Accordingly, we revised it and submitted it to the ministry for its approval, and was granted the same. Bidders have now a month's more time till September 2 to submit RFQs based on the revised tender," City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) vice-chairman and managing director Sanjay Bhatia, told PTI.

The state-run agency had floated tenders for the over Rs 14,500-crore project in February and had fixed June 18 as the date of submission of RFQs. The deadline was, however, extended to July 30 as the bidders sought time to submit the tenders.
27/07/14 Outlook 

A year of airplane disasters: Is 2014 a bad year for flying?

New Delhi: It’s almost halfway through the year, Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives (B3A) have reported 991 fatalities in 2014 already. Do you know this is double the number of plane crash casualties in 2013?

So, is 2014 could be the worst year for aviation? It’s surely been a bad year for flying. With four major airline tragedies on record, 2014 is quickly becoming the year of the airplane disaster. There is a lot of anxiety over boarding a plane is flying high for many people.

To being with the Malaysian Airlines MH370 that went missing in March earlier this year, three planes crashed within a week which took the number of airplane crash fatalities to over 900. The crash of an Algerian passenger plane is the third fatal airline incident in a week. The wreckage of an Air Algerie plane missing since early Thursday with 116 people on board has been found in Mali near the Burkina Faso border.
The incident came after the crash of TransAsia Airways flight GE222 in storms in Taiwan which claimed lives of 48 people while other 10 were injured.
Besides them, the loss of Malaysia Airlines MH370, with 239 people onboard, over the Indian Ocean and the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, with 298 people onboard, took the death toll to over 900. However, industry experts are working to comprehend the cluster of tragedies, while some believe there is no evidence of a systemic problem as each crash appears to have had a different cause.

Air India systems integration with Star Alliance: SITA completes technical requisites

New Delhi: Global aviation IT firm SITA today said it has completed a variety of technical requisites for Air India to integrate its systems with that of Star Alliance, including those concerning ticketing, e-commerce, departure control and revenue integrity.

The Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques (SITA), which earlier integrated the systems of erstwhile Indian Airlines and Air India after their merger, also provided its Horizon Passenger Services System (PSS) suite of solutions for Air India to seamlessly integrate with the global airlines' grouping.

The PSS suite comprises technological solutions for various activities like integrating reservations, frequent flyer programmes, departure control services, fares and revenue integrity and e-commerce. It also provides passengers with an efficient online booking engine, kiosk check-in and web check-in, a SITA statement said.
27/07/14 PTI/Economic Times

Andhra Pradesh: Narrow escape for Spicejet passengers after bird hit

Rajahmundry: Passengers of SpiceJet aircraft had a miraculous escape when it suffered a bird hit while landing at Rajahmundry airport at about 12 noon on Saturday. The aircraft carrying nearly 56 passengers was supposed to land when one of its engines was hit by a bird. The aircraft landed safely and there was no emergency landing.

SpiceJet authorities cancelled tickets of passengers who were bound to Hyderabad and refunded them fully while making alternate arrangements for those who wanted to reach Hyderabad.
27/07/14 Deccan Chronicle

Royal Jordanian to shut down Delhi, Mumbai flights

Dubai: Royal Jordanian Airlines has decided to stop all its services to Mumbai and Delhi. The decision is taken due to reduced demand on travel to these cities, aggressive growth of regional competition and increased operating costs.

RJ will stop operating to Mumbai on September 10 and to Delhi on October 31, this year. The airline is also shutting down its Lagos route with effect from October 10.

With the closure of the three destinations, the RJ routes will count 51.

RJ Chairman of the Board/President and CEO Nasser Lozi said that the decision is part of a synchronised plan to turn around the airline covering operations and financial structure.
27/07/14 PTI/Economic Times

Spurt in public grievances over facilities at airport

Chennai: Air passengers’ reluctance to fly through Chennai airport has certainly become more pronounced over the years, going by available data.
The number of public grievances recorded at Chennai airport has increased over the past two years.
From 83 complaints in 2012, the number had gone up to 89 in 2013. The first five months of 2014 alone have seen 22 complaints, according to information provided by Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Airport director H.S. Suresh said, “The two areas where we receive complaints are lack of cleanliness in toilets and maintenance of trolleys. We are taking steps to resolve these issues.”
Nearly Rs. 6 lakh will be spent to service the 2,800 trolleys at the airport, he said.
Civil aviation minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju has come down heavily on AAI officials, over lack of maintenance, and given them a month’s time to upgrade facilities.
27/078/14 Sunitha Sekar/The Hindu

Air India plane tyres burst

Ahmedabad: As many as 45 Ahmedabad-bound passengers had a narrow escape on Friday night after two tyres of Air India flight AI-130 burst while landing at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. But the flight landed safely and all passengers were reported safe. The flight had left Delhi at 8.30pm and reached Ahmedabad at 10.10pm.

"We experienced some jerk but landed safely. Only when we got down, we came to know that the tyres had burst. Thankfully, we are safe," said a passenger.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials said that they would look into the matter and ascertain the cause of the burst in case there was something wrong on the runway. The two tyres that burst were on the left side of the plane. The same aircraft was supposed to fly back to Delhi at 11.50pm. But Air India cancelled the return flight AI-030 citing technical issues.
27/07/14 Times of India

Gold smugglers exploit Indian female pilgrims

Jeddah: Customs officials in India have arrested two Indian Umrah travel agents for smuggling in gold from the Kingdom to India through elderly female Umrah pilgrims.
Ten female pilgrims were initially arrested after being found to be carrying 5.3 kg worth of gold upon arrival in the form of 48 gold bangles and three gold bars.
The women had arrived in Hyderabad from Jeddah on a Saudia flight on Wednesday, according to media reports.
Officials said that the women passengers, mostly aged 60 to 80, were unaware of the plot and that they agreed to wear the gold bangles after being asked by the tour guides before boarding the flight, media reports said.
“The main kingpin — named Amin, who has since run away — and the arrested duo convinced the women that the gold was bought for relatives who were getting married in Hyderabad and that the gold would be allowed through at the airport if it was worn,” said a customs official. “This is why they agreed to wear it.”
Officials eventually arrested Mustafa and Rahman, Hyderabad-based tour guides who were accompanying the pilgrims, and let the women go.
27/07/14 Irfan Mohammed/Arab News