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.
 26/07/14 Dailybhaskar.com

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Air force chopper crashes in UP's Sitapur, 7 dead

Lucknow:  At least 7 people were feared dead after an advanced air force chopper crashed in a field near Sitapur on Friday evening.

According to reports, the advanced landing chopper-307 was on its way to Allahabad from Bareilly when it crashed in a field in village Ahirwa in Sitapur district, around 70 Kms away from the state capital.

According to reports, the incident happened around 5pm after the chopper lost the link with both the Bakshi-Ka-Talab (BKT) Air Traffic Control (ATC) as well as the one in Lucknow airport. The chopper was tracked from ATC of air force station in Delhi until evening when suddenly the link with the aircraft was lost. District magistrate, Sitapur, JP Singh confirmed that the pilot, co-pilot and five people on board the chopper were killed in the crash. He said that the chopper was completely burned and there was no possibility of anyone surviving the crash.
25/07/14 Pankaj Shah/Times of India

Serious faults hit 2 Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliners just ahead of take-offs

New Delhi:Air India suffered a double whammy once again when two of its Dreamliners reported serious faults just before take off from here for Birmingham and Sydney and had to be grounded, airline sources said today.
The two Boeing 787s, which were to take off for their destinations just 10 minutes apart yesterday, had to be replaced with new planes which flew the passengers to their respective destinations, they said.
Last week too, two of the airline's Dreamliners, one set to launch its Moscow operations and the other to Singapore, had suffered technical problems almost simultaneously.
Yesterday afternoon, the Dreamliner, operating flight AI- 302 to Sydney with 246 people on board, was grounded after a suspected snag in the engine. Another aircraft was arranged for the stranded passengers and the flight, slated at 1325 hours, left three hours later.
Another Boeing 787, operating AI-113 to Birmingham with 126 passengers on board, experienced trouble when it was taxiing for take-off as the crew found that one of the doors had not shut properly.
The aircraft returned to the bay and efforts by engineers to shut the door failed, forcing replacement of the airplane, the sources said, adding that the passengers were deplaned and another aircraft was deployed to fly them. The flight, scheduled to depart at 1335 hours, was delayed by 90 minutes.
26/07/14 PTI/Financial Express

InterGlobe seeks FIPB nod for foreign funding in IndiGo

New Delhi:  InterGlobe Aviation — the parent company of IndiGo, India's largest airline by domestic carriage — has sought Foreign Investment Promotion Board's (FIPB) nod for possible funding ahead of its proposed initial public offer.

The move comes even as several foreign airlines such as Qatar Airways had evinced interest in buying into the airline. The company's matter is listed for discussion for FIPB's meeting next Friday.

While IndiGo did not comment what its proposal for the FIPB is, sources indicated the airline also wants clarity on the roadblock it faces on being 48% foreign owned — with the current FDI limit being 49% for investment by foreign airlines into local carriers. Rakesh Gangwal, a co-founder of IndiGo along with InterGlobe chief Rahul Bhatia, owns 48% in IndiGo through his US-based firm Caelum Investment.
26/07/14 Times of India

Flying permit process progressing well: Tata-SIA

Jamshedpur: Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd today 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 in Jamshedpur.
Varadarajan, who was in the steel city to participate in the HR Conclave 2014 organised 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.
Earlier, the JV company got a go-ahead from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in October 2013 and was awaiting AOP for launching a full-service carrier.
26/07/14 PTI/First Post

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.
26/07/14 PTI/Times of India

Jet Airways revamps management team

New Delhi: As part of its ongoing major revamp, Jet Airways has appointed Raj Sivakumar as the chief commercial officer with immediate effect. Sivakumar will be responsible for the overall development and implementation of sales strategy to enhance the company's market share and maximize revenues. Sivakumar will report to the CO

Rajeev Nambiar has joined Jet's management team as vice president - sales (India). "He will be responsible for developing and directing the implementation of the strategic, business and operational goals of the sales function. He will have management responsibility for the achievement of customer acquisition and revenue goals (passenger sales) for India points of sale/territories," a Jet statement said.

Jet has appointed Martin Drew as vice president - cargo (designate). His appointment is subject to requisite government/regulatory approvals including security clearance. He has over 20 years of experience in the air cargo industry with leading airlines like Lufthansa Cargo, ANA Aviation Services, DAS Air Cargo etc. At Jet Airways, he will be responsible for maximization of cargo revenues.
25/07/14 Times of India

Mid-year turbulence hits Jet Airways as domestic market share dips sharply

India’s largest full-service carrier Jet Airways lost domestic market share sharply in June compared with the previous month by almost 2 percentage points to 15.3%, according to industry data. In fact, Jet’s market during the month on a yearly basis fell even more sharply by almost 3 percentage points.
The slide in market share to rivals like Spicejet, GoAir and even its own low-cost subsidiary Jet Lite (operates under the JetKonnect brand), has led the Naresh Goyal-promoted airline to announce up to 50% discounted fares on Thursday for both domestic and international routes. Jet, which posted a record R4,130 crore loss in FY14 and sold a 24% stake to Abu Dhabi’s Etihad last year for over R2,000 crore, has embarked on a three-year restructuring of its loss-making domestic business with a target to turn profitable by FY17.
“This sale by Jet Airways is a first on two fronts — it is the first sales initiated by a full-service domestic carrier, and secondly, it is also the first offered on international routes. Jet Airways, along with Etihad, is keen to build loyalty and increase their customer base and therefore are rewarding loyal flyers with double flying miles. We are certain that this discount of up to 50% by Jet and Etihad is going to see a sharp increase in bookings both for domestic as well as international travel,” said Sharat Dhall, president at booking portal Yatra.com.
26/07/14 Financial Express

Jet Airways appoints Sivakumar as chief commercial officer

Mumbai: Private airline Jet Airways on Friday appointed its senior vice president Raj Sivakumar as chief commercial officer with immediate effect, besides appointing Rajeev Nambiar as vice president for sales (domestic market).
In addition, Jet Airways has also approved the appointment of Martin Drew as vice president for cargo, a statement said.
Sivakumar will be reporting to the chief operating officer and will be responsible for the overall development and implementation of a robust sales strategy for driving the goals of enhancing the company's market share and maximising revenues, the statement said.Similarly, Nambiar will be responsible for developing and directing the implementation of the strategic, business and operational goals of the sales function.
He will have management responsibility for the achievement of customer acquisition and revenue goals (passenger sales) for India points of sale/territories, Jet Airways said.
Drew's appointment, however, is subject to receipt of all requisite government/regulatory approvals, including security clearance, the airline said.
26/07/14 IBN Live

Centre okays international flights from Chandigarh temporarily

Chandigarh: Union defence minister has given the much-awaited clearance for operation of international flights from Chandigarh airport beyond 8pm as an "interim measure".

In a recent communication to Punjab chief minister, Parkash Singh Badal, defence minister Arun Jaitley has said that Spice Jet and Indigo Airlines have already been accorded permission for international operations from Chandigarh.

Jaitley has also informed that presently, civil aircraft operations at Chandigarh were cleared from sunrise to 8 pm, but international flights would be facilitated beyond the existing watch hours as and when international flights were finalized, as an interim measure.
26/07/14 Times of India

A match made in hell: Air India and Boeing Dreamliner

As of July 21, Air India had welcomed its 16th Boeing Dreamliner into the family. Yet already this year close to 150 Air India Dreamliner flights have been grounded, according to a news report. That’s almost nine groundings per Dreamliner this year.

The problems seem unending. Two Air India Dreamliners hit by snags in a day, Air India Dreamliner flight from Melbourne makes emergency landing due to 'glitches' and Air India Dreamliner windshield develops cracks. If nationalised airlines are an attempt to present the best of a country's engineering, efficiency and aesthetics, Air India does not show India in a good light.

The Boeing Dreamliner planes were introduced on Air India in September 2012 and the combination has been beset by problems since. The plane was met with a lot of fanfare as it is light weight and therefore consumes less fuel. Better fuel efficiency implies lower flying costs for the airline. At least Air India can claim it has never had a battery problem. During the three-month global grounding starting in January of last year, Air India flew three of its planes, albeit without passengers, without a hitch.
The issue is exacerbated because it is not simply one kind of trouble that Air India is having with its Dreamliner aircrafts. It’s all different types. A flight from Melbourne to Delhi was diverted to Kuala Lumpur after all three of the jet’s navigation computers failed simultaneously. Two other planes had cracked windshields within a month of deployment – windshield cracks typically occur in planes that are more than 4-5 years old.
26/07/14 Scroll.in

AI terminates contract of 30 pilots

New Delhi: Air India has terminated the services of almost 30 pilots who were working on contract, including all expats hired for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, in the past six months. With each contract pilot getting almost Rs 10 lakh per month, cash-strapped AI hopes to save about Rs 4 crore from the move.

"We have terminated contract of 11 pilots of Boeing 777, two simulator instructors who used to get Rs 4,500 per hour, two pilots of Boeing 747 and about 15 expats hired for the Dreamliner," said a senior official. The airline has not hired any new pilot recently and has only seen some resignations.

"AI has inducted 16 Dreamliners over the past two years. AI and Indian Airlines together have 1,450 pilots. The Dreamliners are being flown by an equal number of pilots drawn from both these erstwhile airlines without any new pilot being hired. We will launch new routes on this plane from Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai," said an official.
26/07/14 Times of India

Mangalore Airport to be Expanded

Bangalore:  The state government has plans for the expansion of Mangalore International Airport, including a new terminal and extension of the runway by one kilometre, the Legislative Council was informed on Friday.

Replying to Congress member Ivan D’Souza, Minister for Information and Infrastructure, Roshan Baig, said the government has already earmarked Rs 33.99 crore to acquire around 396.67 acres for the expansion.

“The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will take up the expansion works once the land is handed over,” Baig said.

Stating that the directors of Mangalore International Airport and the AAI have submitted an initial technical feasibility report on the proposal, Baig said the expansion is expected to cost over Rs 1,120 crore.

The report, however, does not mention the financial viability and the cost-sharing pattern, the Minister noted.
26/07/14 New Indian Express

Union minister visits new airport terminal

Nashik:  Union road, transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday visited the new Ozar airport terminal building during his Nashik tour.

His visit to the airport terminal lasted around 20 minutes during which time he to spoke to officials of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and the public works department.

The airport terminal building was inaugurated four months ago, but not a single commercial flight has taken off from here. The terminal is yet to receive the security clearance from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

Nashik president of Builders Association of India Vilas Biriari, whose firm Harsh Constructions had won the PWD contract and constructed the airport terminal building, said, "The airport terminal building is ready, but it is yet to be operational. The issue of operation is now with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Airport Authority of India (AAI) Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) of the central government. All associations in the city, including BAI, are waiting for it to become operational as it would boost Nashik's growth. We had urged the Union minister to visit the new airport terminal building during his Nashik visit so that he could speed up the process."
26/07/14 Tushar Pawar/Times of India

Mangalore-Kuwait flight: Delegation from state to meet aviation minister

Bangalore: Minister for infrastructure development and information Roshan Baig on Friday July 25 assured that a delegation from the state would meet the minister of state for civil aviation in New Delhi to urge the restoration of direct flights from Mangalore to Kuwait.

He was responding to a question raised by MLC from Mangalore Ivan D'Souza during the state Legislative Council session, on reasons for stopping direct flights between Mangalore and Kuwait.

Ivan also said that due to the stoppage of the direct flight operation, commuters from Mangalore have been badly hit. "Out of the 7.62 lac NRIs in Kuwait, 1.3 lac are from the coastal Karnataka region alone. They need to be given this facility," he urged.

Baig said that the prime reason for stopping direct flights on Mangalore-Kuwait route was the lack of passenger response. To this, Ivan D'Souza replied that when the Air India Express direct flight was in operation on this route, only 60 seats were reserved for Mangaloreans and the rest 120 were for Keralites who boarded from Calicut. "The seats reserved for Mangaloreans were always full, but the response was not the same from Keralites, which gave the impression that the overall response was less," said Ivan.
26/07/14 Daijiworld.com

Emirates A380 says “Namaste Mumbai”

Emirates, which flies daily direct from Lusaka to Dubai and Harare, has commenced its first scheduled Airbus A380 service to India with a daily flight between Dubai and Mumbai. EK500 took off from Dubai International airport at 21:55 hours on 21st July, arriving at Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai at 02:30, covering the approximate 2,222kms at an average cruising speed of 822kms per hour.

The return flight EK501 took off from Terminal 2 in Mumbai at 04:30hrs and arrived back at Emirates Terminal 3 in Dubai, the airline’s home and hub for its specially designed A380 terminal - Concourse A, at 06.00 hours.

Emirates’ Ahmed Khoory, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, West Asia and Indian Ocean said: “Mumbai was one of the first destinations on our route network when we launched in 1985. Dubai and Mumbai share a rich tapestry of partnerships, business and culture. In the past 29 years, we have flown over 42 million passengers between India and the UAE and so it is quite fitting that the city becomes our 29th A380 destination. Now our customers on the route can experience the luxury, the quietness and the outstanding service onboard an Emirates A380, in addition to the other four daily services we will continue to operate to the city.”
25/07/14 UKZambians

Chennai Not an Ideal Airline Destination?

Chennai: The city may be hot, but it certainly isn’t a hotspot for airlines to set up shop. Reason? Because lots of airline operators feel that the operational capability of the staff and facilities here is ‘slow and lethargic’, compared to privately-owned terminals. And for once, faulty passenger facilities are at the bottom of the complaint list.
Private airlines have never really liked the idea of setting up a HQ in Chennai, but
AirAsia jumped at it when all that space in the Kamaraj Domestic Terminal came up for grabs. Two years later, that picture has all but dissolved. “The truth is, we’re talking to AAI about a whole lot of things and lot of parts of the airport need to be upgraded. Getting licences and approvals was easy both in Chennai and Bangalore, but when it comes to operational efficiency, it’s a lot easier in BIAL,” said Mittu Chandilya, AirAsia India’s vibrant, young CEO. And despite the threat of AirAsia pulling out and moving HQ, AAI officials have reportedly done little to stop them.
Four out of six new airlines have been issued permits by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, adding to the Jet-Etihad and Tata-SIA airlines that are marching forward. Despite Chennai airport being considered South India’s biggest aviation hub — with upper-air space harmonisation, GBAS, night parking and so on — none of the airlines has voiced interest in setting up operations here, “Just to get a plane from the hangar to the tarmac, Jet and Deccan planes would have to wait for 20- odd minutes, because their planes were parked at the back and ATC didn’t want to find a quicker way. When this is the attitude at a time when all private airports are offering great hangars and facilities, how will anyone come?” queries a Jet Airways pilot.
26/07/14 New Indian Express

Tevar climax moves from Mumbai to Delhi airport

The climax of producer Sanjay Kapoor's film Tevar starring his nephew Arjun Kapoor, which is currently being shot, had to be shifted from Mumbai airport to Delhi for practical reasons.

According to sources, permission to shoot in Mumbai was difficult to obtain. "So the entire team moved to Delhi airport where Arjun is currently shooting some action sequences," says the source.

As per eyewitnesses Sonakshi Sinha is also participating in the current climax sequences for Tevar on the airport.
25/07/14 Subhash K. Jha/Bollywood Hungama

Man reports innocent ex-wife as ‘terrorist’ to authorities

A Queens man called 911 to report that a woman flying to New York City from India was a “terrorist” involved in a “plot” – even though she was really his innocent ex-wife, according to his Brooklyn federal court complaint.
Jacob Thomas, 51, phoned 911 twice on July 5, 2014 to falsely report that a woman named “Shakeela” was “traveling to commit some type of terrorist act,” the complaint states.
Law enforcement agents who investigated the call found that there was a Shakeela traveling to JFK Airport from India but when they met her at the airport to search and question her they found no evidence of terrorism.
Thomas had recently expressed anger that his ex-wife was visiting the US and when federal agents questioned him he apologized for wasting their time, his complaint states.
26/07/14 Josh Saul/NY Post

Over Rs 10 million worth Gold seized from the Airport within 24 hours.

Katunayake airport customs seized a stock of gold worth more than 10 million rupees during the last 24 hours.
The airport customs seized a stock of gold worth 8.95 million rupees which were to be smuggled out of the country by two women who were scheduled to fly to Bangalore last evening.
The two female suspects arrested are aged 26 and 36 and residents of Batticaloa and Trincomalee areas.
Meanwhile, Katunayake airport customs also arrested a woman who was attempting to smuggle a stock of gold worth more than 2.2 million rupees this morning.
The suspect, who is a resident of Battiacaloa area was planning to travel to Chennai, India.
26/07/14 Hiru News