Saturday, August 29, 2015

Aviation regulator okays SpiceJet’s ‘zero baggage’ fare scheme

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given its nod to no-frills airline SpiceJet to offer discounts to passengers travelling without check-in baggage.
As per the scheme firmed up by the airline, all passengers travelling without check-in baggage will be able to avail of a discount of Rs 200 at the time of booking their air tickets.
A senior official in the DGCA said, “Passengers will get a discount of Rs 200 if they travel without check-in baggage. But if the passenger reports for the flight with check-in baggage, he will have to pay Rs 400 at the airport.” This charge would include a penalty of Rs 200 and the Rs 200 he had availed of as discount earlier.
The official added that SpiceJet had sought permission to charge a penalty of Rs 750 per passenger but the government did not approve the levy. “A meeting was held recently in which it was decided that the airline can charge total penalty of Rs 400 only”, informed the official. The decision will be communicated to SpiceJet shortly.
The ‘zero baggage’ scheme is expected to attract a lot of corporate travellers who usually travel light with only cabin baggage. In June this year, the budget carrier had rolled out a scheme, offering a discount of Rs 200 to every passenger who books a flight with only one handbag and no check-in baggage. The offer, however, came with a rider that those who book tickets at discounted fares but later decide to carry check-in baggage would have to pay a fee of Rs 500 for up to 10 kg and Rs 750 for up to 15 kg baggage.
29/08/15 Indian Express

HC notice to Centre on aircraft maintenance schedules

New Delhi: A public interest litigation moved in the Delhi High Court has accused the civil aviation authorities of ignoring the alleged violation of aircraft maintenance schedules by the private airlines and circumventing of provisions for airworthiness and air safety, which it said was endangering the passengers' safety.

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, on Friday, issued notices to the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), seeking their response to the writ petition by October 7. The Court also asked them to file a short affidavit on the steps taken on the issue.

The petition, filed by Alok Kumar, has sought directions to the aviation authorities to ensure safety of passengers on aircraft flying in and out of India. It said the DGCA should formulate a procedure to systematically and periodically monitor adherence to the maintenance schedules.
29/08/15 Mohammed Iqbal/The Hindu

Mihan finds nucleus in Reliance Aerospace Park

Nagpur: It is 'acchhe din' at last for Mihan. The world-class infrastructure facility waiting for a take off for over a decade finally struck its biggest investment with Anil Ambani, who plans to invest Rs6500 crore in the proposed Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park. This biggest investment till date also changes the very complexion of Mihan-SEZ to a potential aviation hub.

Maharastra Airport Development Company, which is executing Mihan, on Friday handed over a land allotment letter to the ADAG head honcho. Handing over the letter at a glittering function here chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is also chairman of MADC, said the Reliance defence unit would now work as Mihan's nucleus bringing Vidarbha's most ambitious project to fruition. The proposed aerospace park will be the first greenfield private defence project since opening up of country's defence sector for 100% private investment by Narendra Modi government.

Ambani plans to develop the park as a one-stop shop for entire aviation sector. Besides spares and components, helicopters for both civil and military needs and building of fixed-wing aircraft is proposed. Together with Boeing's MRO and more such players from aviation field joining in, Mihan could become country's aviation hub in the long run. The Ambani unit will provide 3000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect, once all ancillaries come up.
29/08/15 Ramu Bhagwat & Shishir Arya/Times of India

Govt allots 289 acres to Anil Ambani’s RAL, to be India’s first pvt sector defence aviation unit

The Maharashtra government allotted 289 acres of land to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Aerostructure Ltd (RAL) here for its proposed aircraft and helicopter manufacturing unit Friday. It is going to be India’s first private sector defence manufacturing project. The project is likely to be known as Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park. As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project ‘Make in India’, RAL will set up the 6,500 crore unit in Multimodal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) to manufacture military as well as civil aircraft. The unit will also collaborate with Russia to manufacture the Kamov 226T helicopters, besides aerospace platforms. Describing the project as a milestone for MIHAN and Vidarbha, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Anil Ambani has been praising MIHAN during his visits to Russia, France and has in a way served as its brand ambassador. This canvasing of MIHAN will help bring many global companies to MIHAN.”
Reminiscing about his association with Anil Ambani’s father Dhirubhai Ambani, Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said, “I had his blessings when I completed the Mumbai-Pune Expressway as he was initially very apprehensive of the project. For the this project, I told Anil Ambani that MIHAN is the perfect place and he readily agreed to be a part of the project. It will hugely trigger the development of MIHAN.”
29/08/15 Indian Express

'Aurangabad airport can be utilised for parking'

Aurangabad: The Aurangabad airport is under utilized and hence the idea of provision of parking slot here will be promoted. The government would also like to give concession and incentives for the airlines preferring Aurangabad airport for parking their airplanes, said Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju, while interacting with the media at the Aurangabad airport on Friday afternoon

He said that the allotting of parking slot will increase employment in the city. "The aircraft and aviation is a continuous process. Airport is like a road which is used by various air crafts. The Aurangabad Airport has very less conjunction. The request for using the empty space at the airport for the parking slots will be forwarded by the ministry. Concession will be offered to those using it as parking." He also said that the turbo company wanted to connect the Tirupati with Shirdi. But later they chose Aurangabad airport for landing. The city airport has the capacity of 1,400 ton as cargo and to develop more facilities like cargo and runway more land will be required.
29/08/15 Times of India

GoAir crewmembers revive 76-yr-old after he falls unconscious

Two crewmembers of an airline managed to revive a senior citizen, a passenger of another company, who had fallen unconscious at the domestic airport, recently. The incident took place on August 25, when at around 11.15 am, Mukundrao Panshikar (76), a passenger of Air India arriving from Nagpur, suddenly fell unconscious on an aerobridge.
Two crewmembers of GoAir were returning to their cabin crew centre along with team members, when they saw him lying unconscious between Bay A-8 and A-9. The two, Rayomand Sidhwa and Arshee Khan, had returned after operating their flight G8 368 from Ahmedabad. “They saw some airport staff and passengers trying to make some calls to get medical assistance and swung into action,” said an airport official at Terminal 1A. He further added, “They rushed to evaluate the passenger’s state, and found his pulse and breathing missing. They realised he had suffered a cardiac arrest and immediately started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and continued doing so for over 5 minutes until the passenger revived,” he added. An MIAL official confirmed that Sidhwa and Khan continued to be with the passenger and made him comfortable until medical aid arrived.
29/08/15 Neha LM Tripathi/Mid Day

Hopping into an app-based cab in airport? Pay more!

Mumbai: Passengers hiring popular taxi services like Uber and Ola to and from Mumbai airport will now have to pay Rs110 extra. The airport authorities have recently started levying this amount on these vehicles.

Earlier, these app-based cabs parked themselves inside the airport premises and congested the area. Even then, it was not easy for passengers to get an Uber or Ola near the airport as the security staff would drive them out to clear the congestion. The passengers were then forced to walk for a distance in order to board their hired cabs.
29/08/15 Shahkar Abidi/Daily News & Analysis

Gurezi sees off Hajj pilgrims at Srinagar Airport

Srinagar: Deputy Speaker, Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, Nazir Ahmad Gurezi gave a warm send off to the Hajj pilgrims who left for the holy city of Medina in 17th special flight from Srinagar International Airport today.
As many as 5779 pilgrims of the State have left for Medina to perform Hajj till date, the Deputy Speaker was informed.
29/08/15 Kashmir Images

Bank loan for airport project affected persons

Navi Mumbai: The Navi Mumbai International Airport project has provided an opportunity for the airport project affected persons (PAP) to avail loans from banks or exploit the developed plots under the 22.5% scheme allotted to them at Pushpak Nagar, Cidco joint M D, V Radha said.

PAPs can also opt for pooling their land and constructing bigger buildings to make more money on sale of flats. She talked about this at the Cidco investors meet held on Friday at Cidco exhibition centre in Vashi, where 16 banks and airport PAPs participated.
29/08/15 Times of India

GMR puts airport hotel on the block yet again

Hyderabad: Infrastructure major GMR Group has put its hotel property at the Hyderabad International Airport on the block as a part of its asset light and asset right strategy. The 304-room Novotel Hyderabad Airport Hotel is expected to fetch anywhere between Rs 300-400 crore.

This is second time that GMR Group has put this luxury hotel property on sale under the Swiss Challenge model as it could not finalise the sale despite receiving some bids in 2013-14 fiscal.

“The GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) a step down subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL) had initiated the process of divesting its equity stake in GMR Hotels and Resorts Limited or GHRL (that owns and manages the Novotel Hyderabad Airport Hotel), in the year 2013-2014 itself,” the infra major said in a release.
29/08/15 Hans India

Goa customs foil gold smuggling bid

Panaji: The air intelligence wing of the commissionerate of customs in Goa on Friday found three persons smuggling 3.5kg of gold worth 90 lakh. The trio was travelling to Bengaluru, on a Dubai-Bengaluru flight via Goa. The passengers were detained after landing in Bengaluru.

Commissioner of customs, Goa, K Anpazhakan said that the three passengers boarded the flight in Dubai and were travelling to Bengaluru. When the flight landed at Goa international airport, Dabolim, at around 4.16am on Friday, the three passengers were found in possession of gold during a random search by customs officers. The gold was in form of biscuits and gold ornaments, he said.

"The passengers were not entitled to bring the gold as they had not paid the duty to do so," Anpazhakan said.
29/08/15 Times of India

Friday, August 28, 2015

Airfare War Continues: Jet Airways Tickets at Rs 1,031

Domestic airlines continue to be locked in fare war, with Jet Airways now offering tickets at Rs 1,031 (all-inclusive).

To avail Jet Airways' 'LoFares' offer, customers can book tickets till October 7, and the travel period to avail these special fares also ends on the same day. "Travel must commence and the entire journey must be completed on or before October 7, 2015," Jet Airways said.

The Jet Airways offer is valid on select domestic routes.
28/08/15 NDTV

Charge Rs 400 for 'zero-bag' violations: DGCA to Spicejet

New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA has nixed a proposal by no-frills airline Spicejet to charge up to Rs 750 from passengers who avail a "zero-bag" discount while booking a ticket but turn up with check-in baggage at the time of travel.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, instead, has suggested the Gurgaon-based carrier to levy Rs 400 as penalty, including taking back the Rs 200 discount that is to be availed by the flyer, sources said today.

SpiceJet is being informed of the regulator's decision, sources said.
In June this year, the budget carrier had rolled out a scheme, offering a discount of Rs 200 to every passenger who books a flight with only one handbag and no check-in baggage.
28/08/15 PTI/Economic Times

New Civil Aviation policy in advanced stage of finalisation

New Delhi: The new civil aviation policy, which is in the advanced stage of finalisation would provide a long-term road map for the sector's growth, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said.

"Government is in the process of developing a comprehensive Civil Aviation Policy which shall provide a long term road map for the aviation sector...the growth of aviation and tourism industry also has significant ripple effects on other segments, particularly in the services and hospitality sectors", Raju said while inaugurating the 8th International Conference on Indian Civil Aviation & Tourism,' organised here by Assocham.

Noting that aviation and tourism have an inter-dependent relationship, the minister said that the tourism market grows by itself with new connections and a popular destination attracts the operation of more flights.

The rapid growth of the tourism industry, both domestic and international supported by the entry of airline operators offering low fares, has led to the rapid growth of air traffic in the country, Raju said.
28/08/15 Sameersachdeva/iGovernment

Do away with 5/20 norms for international operations: CAPA

New Delhi: Favouring scrapping of the international flying norms for domestic airlines on the ground that its continuation would only result in more un-utilised bilateral, an off-shore aviation consultancy research firm today welcomed government's decision to go for public consultations prior to finalising the new aviation policy.

At present, an Indian carriers is allowed to fly overseas only when it has completed five years of domestic operations and have a minimum of 20 aircraft fleet.

The norm popularly known as "5/20" is, however, being reviewed by the government.
CAPA is a Sydney-based aviation research and consultancy firm.
His comments came following a review of the draft aviation policy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi early this week, which has been drafted by the Indian arm of the Amsterdam-headquartered global auditing firm KPMG.
28/08/15 PTI/Economic Times

Subramanian Swamy calls for cancellation of KPMG's aviation adviser contract

Washington, DC: Complaining of conflict of interests, a senior BJP leader has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel the contract to consultancy firm KPMG which is helping the government in drafting a new civil aviation policy.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has alleged that KPMG was "deliberately chosen" to support the case made out by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to abolish the 5/20 rule to favour some new airlines.
The 5/20 rule bars domestic airlines from flying overseas unless they have completed five years of domestic flying and have a fleet of 20 aircraft.
28/08/15 Economic Times

Sudden Deployment of Oxygen Masks Forces Jet Flight to Return

Chennai:  A Delhi-bound Jet Airways flight carrying 165 passengers and seven crew members onboard was forced to return today after the sudden deployment of oxygen masks in two rows of the aircraft.

Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has initiated a probe into the incident, which happened this morning, sources said.

The probe would look into the reasons for the sudden deployment of the oxygen masks on Jet Airways flight 9W-820, which could also be because of some maintenance issue, they said.

The aircraft remained airborne for almost twenty minutes before landing back at the Chennai airport at around 10:30 am, they said.
28/08/15 PTI/NDTV

High Court to consider accusation against civil aviation, issue notice

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today decided to consider a petition accusing the civil aviation authorities of overlooking alleged violation of aircraft maintenance schedules by airlines, endangering passenger safety.

The court issued notice to the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Director General for Civil Aviation's (DGCA) seeking their response on the charge that various private airlines operating in the country were "violating/circumventing the mandatory provisions for airworthiness and air safety".

All aircraft maintenance checks are periodic inspections that have to be carried out on all commercial or civil aircraft after a certain time or flying hours. There are several levels of checks which have to be performed on the planes as per the given schedules.

"Notice issued to the ministry and DGCA. They will file a short affidavit with regard to the steps taken on the issue raised in the petition. The same shall be filed before the next date of hearing on October 7," a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said.
28/08/15 PTI/Economic Times

Israel and Russia are building aircraft for India

Israel and Russia have started creating two aircraft for Airborne Early Warning and Control for India. Work has already started in Taganrog, where they are installing Israeli radar on an IL-76.

The Military Gazette wrote that Israel and Russia have started creating two aircraft for Airborne Early Warning and Control for India. This is the joint project called Falcon – an airborne early warning radar system created by Elta, installed on the IL-76 aircraft manufactured by the Ilyushin Company.

Back in 2004, India signed a contract for the delivery of three of these aircraft, which were delivered in 2009-2011. Work on the creation of another two new aircraft is being carried out under an option provided for in this contract. As the publication noted, Israel purchased two IL-76 airframes from Uzbekistan. Russia, for its part, acquired two mostly completed IL-76 platforms from the Chkalov Aviation Production Association (now the Tashkent Mechanical Plant) in Tashkent. The aircraft frames were brought from Tashkent to the Beriev Aviation Scientific-Technical Complex in Taganrog, where they will be custom finished by the Israeli side, and where Israeli radar will be installed.

Qatar Airways to revive Doha-Nagpur direct flight by December

New Delhi: Gulf carrier Qatar Airways plans to resume a direct flight to Nagpur from Doha by December, which it had discontinued over six year ago due to poor passenger traffic on the sector at that time.

The reinstated flight will be serviced by a 144-seater Airbus A320 in two class cabin with 12 seats in business class and 132 in economy class, Qatar Airways said in a release today.

Qatar Airways had previously operated air services to Nagpur from Doha between January 2008 and May 2009.

28/08/15 PTI/Economic Times

160 Kamov choppers to be built in India, 40 in Russia

Moscow: India can manufacture 160 out of the 200 Kamov Ka-226T Light Utility Helicopters -- which will eventually replace the vintage Cheetah and Chetak choppers -- while the rest will be made in Russia, the CEO of a state-run business and manufacturing conglomerate here has said.

Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Russian state-run business and manufacturing conglomerate Rostec Corporation, on Thursday said under the agreement reached between Russia and India on manufacturing 200 KA226T helicopters, New Delhi will be free to build and export the aircraft to other countries.

This is considered a major step forward towards realisation of the 'Make in India' campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which is being seen with keen interest here.

Chemezov said under the helicopter manufacturing project, the first 40 will be produced in Russia and the rest will be made in India with transfer of technology and licence for production.
28/08/15 PTI/Brahmand

SpiceJet in talks with aircraft makers for a ‘sizable order’, says promoter

New Delhi: Gurgaon-based no-frills airline SpiceJet is in discussion with the aircraft manufacturers for ordering more aircraft, Ajay Singh, the airline promoter said.
Singh did not specify whether he was in talks with Airbus, Boeing or any aircraft manufacturer.
“We have not discussed any specific numbers but we expect the aircraft order will be a sizable one. Negotiations have been on for a while and we expect to complete the negotiations and place the order this financial year,” Singh said on the sidelines of a conference on civil aviation organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
Singh added that a decision on the 55 Boeing MAX aircraft which the airline had ordered earlier will also be decided during the on-going negotiations.
“We will let you know when we finalise the order. There is no paucity of capital available to SpiceJet. We have many offers of capital, depending on how much capital is required to fund the purchase,” Singh said when asked how the mega order for SpiceJet will be funded.
28/08/15 Business Line

Vistara adds Bhubaneswar to its network

Bhubaneswar: Seven months since its operational launch in India, Vistara continues to follow its sustained growth strategy. With bookings for Bhubaneswar opening since August 26, Vistara’s fast growing network now stands at a total of 11 destinations across metros and non-metros.
Starting October 01, 2015 Vistara will offer daily flight on the Delhi-Bhubaneswar-Delhi route. Bhubaneswar is a city steeped in rich culture and history and at the same time cosmopolitan enough to fascinate domestic and international travelers for diverse purposes such as religious, tourism and business.
The introduction of Bhubaneswar, Vistara’s third destination in the east, coincides with the airline’s next phase of expansion, where the focus will be on scaling up operations and strengthening the value proposition to suit customers’ demand.
28/08/15 Odisha Channel

Now, a study to see how noisy choppers impact Kedarnath wildlife

Dehradun: The forest department has asked Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to study the impact of helicopters on flora and fauna in the eco-sensitive Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS). The National Green Tribunal has already expressed concern over the illegal operation of helicopters in the area, many of which fly without the mandatory no-objection certificates from the forest department.

Forest minister Dinesh Aggarwal said, "Owing to the controversy on this issue, I have asked WII to study the impact of helicopters on the biodiversity of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary."

Akash Verma, who was recently removed as divisional forest official of KWLS, had submitted a report in 2013 to the chief wildlife warden of the state saying that ever since the Kedarnath yatra resumed from May 10, 2013, helicopters using the airspace above the sanctuary between 6 am and 6 pm were creating a noise that soared above 80 decibels, perceived as the levels that disturb even human beings. Animals living in the higher reaches found the noise levels exceedingly disturbing. Comparative surveys conducted before the yatra (in April) and afterwards found that many endangered species like musk deer, Himalayan thar, monal and griffon vultures, found in relatively large numbers in Naikhanda, abandoned the area once flights began to ferry pilgrims who prefer not to trek the 16 km to the Kedarnath temple.
28/08/15 Seema Sharma/Times of India

ILS trial run at airport Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram:The US-made Instrument Landing System (ILS), installed in the Thiruvananthapuram international airport to guide aircraft to precision landing will be subjected to trial run from Friday.The calibration of the ILS was carried out using the calibrating aircraft of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) that was rushed here following last Tuesday’s “near crash” of a Jet Airways flight from Doha, with 155 on board, when it was diverted from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram due to inclement weather.
28/08/15 Nyooz

Pilots body to conduct secret ballot to decide strike call

New Delhi: The pilots body of the erstwhile Indian Airlines would conduct a secret ballot to decide on a strike call against the exclusion of pilots from workmen category.
The decision to conduct secret ballot, which would take place between August 31 and September 9, was taken by the Central Executive Committee meeting of the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA), sources said.
ICPA represents narrow-body pilots in Air India.
"It is indisputable that the management is trying to fight one-sided by trying to manipulate the law and remove us from the workmen category as they fear losing a case, pending in the Honourable Supreme Court," the association said in a notification to its around 650 members.
The Central Executive Committee is of the strong judgement to declare strike, it said adding, " A secret ballot
Is called for this purpose from August 31 to September 9 for a mandate as per the Constitution of ICPA."
28/08/15 PTI/Business Standard

Court warns of terminating licence of Nagpur airport if aeroplane not removed

The aeroplane of Continental Airlines that is stranded on the runway of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport for many years has been asked to be removed from the place as soon as possible. An order to this effect was pronounced by the court. The court has also warned Mihan India Limited (MIL) that if the plane is not removed as directed, then the license of the airport will be cancelled.
After the MIL failed to move the plane to a safer place, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had approached the court which ordered that the plane should be removed immediately.
The plane being stranded near the runway of the airport is a grave danger to the taking off of planes from the airport. However, the DGCA has now taken a stern view of the matter now. It may be noted that the Continental Aviation Limited had started Mumbai-Nagpur-Bhopal flight about 25 years ago.
28/08/15 Nagpur Today

Nepal Airlines to resume direct flights to Kolkata

Kolkata: Nepal Airlines is likely to resume direct flight operations between Kolkata and Kathmandu around October-November this year.

Flight services had been stopped some three years back for want of aircrafts. As of now, Air India is the only carrier to have direct flights between the two cities.

According to Deep Kumar Upadhyay, Ambassador of Nepal to India, the flight services will resume around Durga Puja or latest by Diwali, later this year.
28/08/15 Business Line

AirAsia launches 8th route to India

AirAsia has expanded its route network from its main base at Kuala Lumpur (KUL) with the addition of a new service to Goa (GOI) in India. The thrice-weekly service (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) on the 3,360-kilometre route launched on 27 August and will be flown by the carrier’s A320s. The route is not served by any other carrier. Goa becomes AirAsia’s eighth route to India as it already serves Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Tiruchirappalli and Visakhapatnam. In total AirAsia now serves 68 destinations non-stop from the Malaysian capital.

Delhi airport to expand facilities to reduce overcrowding

Mumbai: Delhi International Airport Limited which runs the country's busiest airport, is working on a detailed plan to de-congest its domestic terminals 1D and 1C (used by low cost airlines) and expand facilities to meet the projected traffic growth of 100 million by 2033.

These measures were discussed in a meeting between airport officials and airlines on Thursday, following passenger complaints on overcrowding at Terminal 1 (which includes 1D for departures and 1C for arrivals).

Delhi airport handled 41 million passengers in FY15. Over 26 million passengers were handled at T3 and the remaining by T1. While T3 has a design capacity of 34 million passengers, Terminal 1 can handle 16 million passengers. Terminal 1 is used by IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet is reaching a saturation point as it .
28/08/15 Business Standard