Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo Locked in Fare War Again

Indian domestic carriers have sparked off another round of fare war. Jet Airways has announced all-inclusive fares starting from Rs 899 under 'Diwali Dealites' offer. The booking for this Jet Airways offer is open till October 26. And travel must commence between November 1, 2014, and December 15, 2014.

This offer is valid for travel in economy class flights within India operated by Jet Airways and JetKonnect.

SpiceJet too has come up with a promotional scheme under a "Diwali Dhamaka" offer. SpiceJet is offering all-inclusive fares starting from Rs 899. The sale is valid for travel on direct flights on SpiceJet's domestic network

Bookings for this SpiceJet offer are open till October 26 (inclusive) and the sale is applicable for travel between November 1, 2014, and December, 15, 2014 (both dates inclusive).

IndiGo too has come up with a promotional scheme, offering all-inclusive fares from Rs 1590 on domestic routes. The booking for this IndiGo offer is open till October 26 and is valid on travel between November 1, 2014 and November 15, 2014.
22/10/14 NDTV

Air India intercepted by 2 Italy jets?

New Delhi: After a European aviation blog claimed that an Air India aircraft heading for Rome on October 16 had been shadowed by two Italian Air Force fighter aircraft in Italian airspace after the AI aircraft appeared to have developed some communications trouble, an Air India spokesperson insisted late on Tuesday night that no such incident had occurred.
The blog had claimed that an Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner flying between Delhi and Rome (flight AI-123) was intercepted by two Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon interceptors from the Grosseto airbase on October 16.
The blog cited the Italian Air Force as saying that the Air India aircraft had lost radio contact with the Air Traffic Control agencies and had entered the Italian airspace unauthorised and that for this reason, the Quick Reaction Alert cell of the Italian Air Force at Grosseto airbase was scrambled to intercept, identify and escort the aircraft.
22/10/14 Asian Age

Yet another AI Dreamliner in trouble, DGCA orders probe

New Delhi/Mumbai: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is probing the incident of an Air India flight, AI 123, from New Delhi to Rome losing radio contact over Italy on October 16. The regulator has directed the airline to submit a report on the incident.

An Air India Dreamliner, registered VT-ANQ, lost radio control with air traffic control in Italy on October 16. Consequently, the Grosseto airbase was asked to intercept, identify and escort the aircraft. Two Italian air force Eurofighter Typhoon F-2000A jets· ·reached the B787 at 24,000 feet to the southeast of Rome. The Typhoons identified the plane, shadowed it from a distance and at 30 km from destination they were cleared to return to their base. According to sources in the know ·of the developments, the Air India aircraft was given direct routing into Italy. But pilots failed to establish contact with ·air traffic control upon entering Italian airspace due to failure of the jet's VHF radio sets. Italian air traffic controllers subsequently managed to establish contact on an emergency frequency. There are three radio sets on an aircraft, one of which is used only on the emergency frequency. "It can be said to be a case of overreaction on part of the Italian authorities", said an industry source.
22/10/14 Business Standard

Seaplane makes trial landing in Mumbai

People of Mumbai and tourists may soon avail intra-city seaplane flights between Juhu and Girgaum Chowpatty as the sea plane operated by MEHAIR in association with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) successfully conduction a trail landing on sea near South Mumbai on Wednesday.

MEHAIR and MTDC have been working on the project for nearly 2 years and have already obtained crucial clearances from several authorities including the nod from the Ministry of Defence, Coast Guard, Indian Navy, and Mumbai Police, Urban development department, BMC, Mumbai Port Trust, Mumbai Police, environment department and the Airports Authority of India.

MEHAIR is already operating daily seaplane flights between Mumbai and Pawna Dam.
22/10/14 Lalatendu Mishra/The Hindu

Intra-state air travel to get cheaper

Lucknow: Tourists looking to fly to Agra from Lucknow, Allahabad and Varanasi will soon be able to avail of cheaper airfares, thanks to the UP government. In a policy decision effected on Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh government announced a reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on aviation fuel to promote air travel to and from Agra to Lucknow, Varanasi and Allahabad. Against 22% VAT, airlines will now have to pay only 4% on aviation fuel.

According to estimates, of the 18 companies that entered the fray, the North East Flight Company will begin operations in early November. The state government has assured the companies a guaranteed 30% booking of seats in each flight for bureaucrats and politicians in order to make the services viable.

The Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government is also believed to be pursuing seriously a new air terminal project in Agra and has already announced increased compensation to farmers whose land is to be acquired for the new facility at Dhanuali village.
22/10/14 Times of India

Centre clears sixteen airlines but only two take off

Mumbai: Though the civil aviation ministry has given no-objection certificates (NOCs) to 16 companies to launch airlines in the past five years, only two - AirAsia India and Air Costa - have taken off so far.

Data secured from the ministry under the Right to Information Act show the ministry received 20 applications and it granted NOCs to 16 firms between 2009 and now.

The 16 include Vistara, Zexus Air Services, Air One, Premier Airways, Turbo Megha, Air Carnival and Zav Airways, which were granted an NOC in 2014.

Securing an NOC from the aviation ministry is the first step towards launching a scheduled airline. Upon receiving it, companies need to secure a permit from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to start operations.

The NOC is valid for 18 months and is issued for both regional or national operations. While AirAsia holds a national permit, Air Costa has a permit for regional operations.
22/10/14 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

MoEF gives nod for expansion, development of Hubli airport

Hyderabad: An Expert Appraisal Committee under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has accorded green signal to the expansion and development of an airport at Hubli in Karnataka.

However, the committee has sought additional details to give environmental clearance for development of airport at Belgaum. Both the airports are run by Airports Authority of India (AAI).

"After deliberation, EAC recommended the proposal (for environmental clearance) with the following conditions in the EC letter for strict compliance by the proponent (AAI)," the EAC said in the minutes of the meeting.

The EAC in its meeting held in August 2014 noted that the existing and predicted noise levels presented by the AAI appeared to be 'unrealistic' and hence wanted them to be re-examined  during the aircraft 'landing and takeoff' and 'compare and validate' the values with the predicted noise levels by appropriate modelling.
22/10/14 PTI/Deecan Herald

Passengers stage dharna at airport after GoAir cancels two flights at the last minute due to technical snag

Mumbai: Over 90 passengers of a New Delhi-bound GO Air G8-337 flight protested at the domestic terminal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on Wednesday afternoon, after their flight got cancelled at the last minute due to a technical snag and left them stranded for over five hours. Disheartened and angry, passengers who were eager to reach their destinations on time for Diwali celebrations staged a dharna in protest. A harried passenger exclaimed, “They were not at all concerned about what we were going through. After giving us our boarding passes, they announced that the flight has been cancelled. Initially, they refused to accommodate us in some other flight. How can they leave us stranded like this for hours and expect us to leave with the refund?” Most of the 90 passengers had a connecting flight to Patna and Ranchi at 5.10 from New Delhi.
“When we asked them to give us an alternate flight as soon as possible, they refused and said that no arrangement could be made before Thursday and that too for just ten passengers, said Amit Sinha, a bank employee.
22/10/14 Indian Express

Mysore set to fall off the air map again

Mysore: Mysore city is set to fall off the air map of the country again. The sole commercial operator from the city, SpiceJet, is withdrawing operations after Saturday, following which Mysore airport will face redundancy, though it will continue to serve chartered flights.

Officer in charge of Mysore airport C.N. Manjunath told The Hindu that talks with other airlines such as Air Costa had not yielded any results though proposals and details about the facilities at the airport and the air passenger traffic potential of the city were explained. “As on Tuesday, there is no indication from SpiceJet of continuing the services,” said Mr. Manjunath.

SpiceJet operated its penultimate flight from here on Tuesday. Flight service to Mysore is also off the winter schedule released by the airline.

The airline has cited poor load factor as one of the reasons though airport representatives have said that the passenger load from Mysore was high and the 78-seater Bombardier aircraft used to have 40 to 45 outbound passengers from here.
22/10/14 The Hindu

GoAir to start operations from Odisha capital to Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai from 26th of October

Bhubaneswar: This year on Diwali, AAI, Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar is proud to inform that GoAir will be starting its operations from the 26th of October, 2014, from Bhubaneswar to Delhi/Kolkata/Bangalore/Mumbai. Sharad Kumar, Airport Director, said “It is a proud and joyous moment for the state as a fourth airline operator is about to start its operations. This will give a varied plate of options to all the commuters, between lowest fares, suitable timings, etc.
22/10/14 Odisha Diary

India 2nd fastest growing air cargo market after Middle East: IATA

New Delhi: India has emerged as the second fastest growing air cargo market after the Middle East and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of about seven per cent over the next five years, an IATA forecast said today.

India would also be among the ten largest international freight markets by 2018 led by the United States supplying 10,054,000 tonnes and China with 5,639,000 tonnes, the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Industry Forecast 2014-2018 shows.

It estimated that "the second fastest-growing market, India, will experience a compound annual growth rate ( CAGR) of 6.8 per cent to add 622,000 extra tonnes."

Apart from the US and China, the remaining eight largest international freight markets would be the UAE (4,974,000 tonnes), Germany (4,763,000), Hong Kong (4,648,000), Republic of Korea (3,487,000), Japan (3,480,000), the United Kingdom (2,808,000), Chinese Taipei (2,350,000) and India (2,223,000).
22/10/14 PTI/Economic Times

Aviation ministry not taking action against pvt airlines: Min

Agartala: The Tripura government today attacked the Union Ministry of aviation was not taking action against private airlines which were charging abnormally high rate for air tickets operating on Agartala-Kolkata route.

Railway services from Lumding in Assam to Agartala was stopped due to a mega block imposed by the railways department for conversion of the railway tracks from meter gauge to broad gauge from the October 1, state Transport Minister Manik Dey said.

Taking advantage of this, private airline companies were charging undue prices from the passengers, the Transport minister told reporters here.

He alleged that despite informing the matter to the central government, no action was initiated against the private operators.
22/10/14 PTI/Business Standard

‘Served from India’ scheme adds to Indian airlines’ woes

New Delhi:  Indian carriers' financial woes have worsened with airlines unable to use their Served From India Scheme (SFIS) duty credit scrip to pay excise duty on fuel. Airlines are learnt to be having SFIS duty credit scrips worth almost Rs 1,500-2,000 crore that are about to expire without being used, with Air India and Jet Airways among the biggest sufferers.

"The SFIS scheme was applicable to the aviation industry upto January 2011 when the scheme was discontinued. The federation of Indian airlines has been asking for continuity of this scheme. Then SFIS scrips issued by DGFT are valid for 18-24 months and were issued one to two years. The unutilized scrips with Indian carriers should be made tradebale and they should be accepted for the purpose they were issued for. Otherwise it is a gross national loss," said a senior airline official.

Though the DGFT office permitted the utilization of these scrips for excise duty payable on fuel, the modalities of adjustment of these scrips at refinery gates have not been spelled out by the department of revenue, resulting in lack of clarity in adjustment of these scrips by excise authorities. "Due to this scrips worth Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 crore are lying untilized with airlines. Some scrips have even expired. The Scrip also needs to be made tradeable to suit the convenience of the exporter to utilise it on a broader scale," the official added.
22/10/14 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Chennai is on Asia’s ‘worst airports’ list, yet again

Chennai: Infrastructural issues have once again pushed Chennai airport to the list of worst airports in Asia in a survey conducted by a website.

This is the third year in a row that the city’s facility has appeared on the list of “Worst airports of Asia”, in the online survey conducted by the travel website The Guide to Sleeping in Airports.

The only solace is in the fact that from the fourth worst spot last year, the airport has advanced to the tenth worst this year.

In 2012, along with Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata too had been rated poorly. But this year, no other airport from India has featured on this list.
22/10/14 Sunitha Sekar/The Hindu

Flight transports life-saving drug from Ahmedabad

Chennai: A life-saving drug was flown out of Ahmedabad to Chennai on Tuesday night via an Air Costa flight, whose crew volunteered to carry it.

The drug, NovoSeven, is used to stop bleeding, and was needed urgently for a patient at Apollo Hospitals who had undergone a multi-visceral transplant earlier this year.

According to Anand Khakhar, director of the liver and muti-visceral transplant programme at the hospital, the patient, Thalaimalai, a resident of Chennai, had undergone a liver, pancreas and intestine transplant in June.
22/10/14 The Hindu

FSTC to train Vistara’s pilots

New Delhi: Pilot training FSTC (Fight Simulation Technique Centre) Wednesday said that it has signed an agreement to train pilots of the upcoming Tata-Singapore Airlines’ venture Vistara.
According to the company, its facility is already being used by airlines such as Spicejet, Indigo, Jet Airways, and JetLite to train their pilots.
FSTC is a joint venture company between Flywings Aviation Group and SIM Industries BV, Netherlands, which is a Lockheed Martin Company.
22/10/14 IANS/NVO News

Airport storage charge hike will increase cost of imported goods

Mumbai: After a proposed shortage in demurrage-free period from 72 hours to 48 hours, the prices of imported items like food, electronics, machinery and pharma drugs, are expected to rise, according to custom clearance agents.

The agents allege that airport operator Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) has been slacking in developing infrastructure at cargo terminals, as its 'slow pace' helps it in recovering higher revenues from demurrage charges.

Last week, the trade bodies of cargo agents held a meeting with senior officials from the civil aviation ministry to discuss their apprehension in this regard. One of the largest cargo dealers operating out of the city airport sarcastically opines, "While our PM says Make in India, the MIAL's motto seems to be Quit India."
22/10/14 Shahkar Abidi/Daily News & Analysis

India to step up travel surveillance to stop any Ebola outbreak

New Delhi: India stepped up its efforts on Tuesday to prevent an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, conducting mock drills at its airports and installing surveillance systems.
Global health authorities are struggling to contain the world's worst Ebola epidemic since the disease was identified in 1976. The virus has killed more than 4,500 people across the three most-affected countries, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
All international airports and sea ports in India will soon be equipped with thermal scanners -- similar to Nigeria, which has been declared Ebola-free -- and other detection equipment, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
"We have removed all stops to constantly upgrade equipment and retrain staff," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said. "There is need for constant maintenance, frequent calibration."
While more than 22,000 passengers have been screened, India has so far not reported any cases of Ebola. The WHO, that has warned of 5,000-10,000 new cases globally every week by December, is supporting India's preparations.
22/10/14 Reuters/Deccan Chronicle

Second AI flight delayed in four days at Pune airport leaves passengers irked

Yet another Air India flight was delayed on Monday evening, putting Diwali holiday plans on hold for several of the airlines’ disgruntled passengers. This is the second AI flight to be delayed at the Pune airport in four days, after passengers of a delayed Delhi-bound flight were put through a 24-hour ordeal on Thursday.
On Monday as well, it was a Delhi-bound flight, AI850, which was delayed by two hours and twenty minutes, after some technical problems were reported in the aircraft. The flight, originally scheduled to depart at 6.40 pm, eventually took off at 9 pm from the airport.
It didn’t help of course, that the AI had already set a bad example just four days earlier, when flight AI854 was grounded due to a technical snag, and passengers had to wait for 24 hours before the airlines could arrange for an alternate aircraft.
The flight was supposed to take off at 9 pm on Thursday, but the passengers eventually flew out of the airport the next day, at 8.30 pm. Enraged by the long wait, several passengers even protested by blocking the airport’s apron (area where aircraft are parked, boarded, refuelled, etc.), until they were cleared out by security.
22/10/14 Anuj Ismail/Mid Day

After huge jet orders, budget airlines eye rich seam of aircraft leasing

Singapore/Paris: From Scandinavia to Southeast Asia, low-cost airlines have ordered record numbers of planes in recent years, redefining the jet industry. Now they plan to lease out scores of their new planes, re-ordering the aviation business all over again.

Between them, Indonesia`s Lion Air, Malaysia`s AirAsia and Norwegian Air Shuttle have ordered more than 1,400 Airbus and Boeing jets, worth about $140 billion at current list prices. They`re about to test the growing market for rented planes, competing with established finance firms that lease out aircraft to cash-strapped carriers from China to the United States.

Jet makers and the finance companies which dominate aircraft leasing question whether budget airlines have the know-how to succeed, and some in the industry wonder whether they have simply ordered more planes than they need. But the low-cost carriers` sights are trained on new revenue streams, and net profit margins of about 20 percent enjoyed by global aircraft lessors - well above the airline industry average.
22/10/14 Reuters/ZeeNews

Air India launches mobile app and takes off on Twitter

Mangalore: Air India started the festive season on a positive note with the launch of a mobile app to make bookings quick, simple and convenient while on the go. It also took off on the micro blogging site Twitter.
The app is initially available on the Android platform but will soon be extended to the iOS platform as well. The Air India mobile app allows the user to book tickets, manage the booking, check-in for a flight, look up fare details and also make special requests for meals and wheelchair.
Other features like checking flight status, schedule, baggage information, special offers and concessional fares , will be introduced shortly, stated a release from Air India.
21/10/14 Stanley Pinto/Times of India

Stranded Air India Express passengers arrive from Saudi

Mangalore: Passengers, who were stranded at Dammam, Saudi Arabia, due to technical snag in the Air India Express aircraft, arrived at the Mangalore International Airport at 5.55am on Tuesday.
Sources in Air India said that of the 129 passengers, four were infants. The aircraft with remaining 39 passengers left for Calicut immediately thereafter.
The aircraft was grounded at Dammam airport due to a faulty brake assembly.
21/10/14 Stanley Pinto/Times of India

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Did another A-380 shake up Singapore Airlines Airbus big bird?

New Delhi: People flying an Airbus A-380 may feel very safe considering that they are in the world's largest commercial airliner. However, they would now do well to be wary of another aircraft the same size! The severe turbulence caused on a Mumbai-bound Singapore Airlines (SIA) Airbus A-380 that left 22 people injured on Saturday night may have been caused by another A-380. Preliminary investigation by the directorate general of civil aviation has indicated that another super jumbo may have been flying in the opposite direction to the SIA big bird SQ-424 which was descending to land in Mumbai.

"A vertical separation of 1,000 feet must be maintained between two aircraft. An International Civil Aviation Organization study showed that wind turbulence of an A-380 can travel up to 300 metres, which is 985 feet. The initial reports we are getting is the SIA aircraft came in the reciprocal wake turbulence caused by another A-380 going in the opposite direction," said a source. The regulator will also check if there was a breach of minimum separation between the two planes, causing more problems for the one at lower level as vortices (air flow from wing tip as a result of producing lift) travel downward. The fact that an A-380 — it is kept airborne by four extremely powerful engines - can shake up another big bird of its size has surprised some. Smaller planes are known to suffer this impact very often — an A-380 caused the same problem to an Indian carrier's aircraft 10 days ago.
21/10/14 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

SIA Airbus turbulence: DGCA launches probe into case

New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA has launched a probe into a Singapore Airlines superjumbo A-380 being hit by severe turbulence while landing at Mumbai airport, leading to injuries to 22 people, including 14 crew members. In a close shave, the packed Airbus A-380, carrying over 430 people, was hit by sudden turbulence during descent on Saturday night.

All the eight injured passengers and 14 crew members were admitted at two private hospitals in suburban Andheri, of whom 20 were discharged in a few hours after medical treatment. While DGCA sources here said it had started investigating into the occurrence, Singapore Airlines in a statement said it would “provide full assistance to the authorities in their investigations.”
21/10/14 PTI/India.com

Spicejet announces 'Diwali Dhamaka' sale with fares starting at Rs 899

Chennai: SpiceJet today announced its "Diwali Dhamaka" sale, with one way fares starting as low as Rs 899 (all-inclusive).

The fares for the Bangalore-Chennai-Kochi circuit start at Rs 899 while for Bangalore-Goa it is Rs 1,599 and rest of India it is Rs 2,499, the airline said.

The tickets for the offer can be booked between October 21 and October 26 for travel between November 1, 2014 to December 15, 2014. The sale applies to all direct flights on SpiceJet's domestic network.

Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, SpiceJet said, "These sales have helped airlines fill empty seats, allowed more Indians to travel by air than ever before and have helped air travel grow significantly year-over-year benefitting the entire travel ecosystem and larger economy."
21/10/14 Business Standard

AirAsia India's Diwali Offer: Fares Start at Rs. 999

Budget carrier AirAsia India's Diwali special offer has fares starting at Rs. 999.  The booking period for this AsiaAsia offer is between October 20 and October 26, 2014. This offer is applicable on travel between October 26, 2014 and April 30, 2015.

As part of this AirAsia offer, tickets for the Bangalore to Chennai and Kochi route are priced at Rs. 999. On the Bangalore to Goa route tickets are priced at Rs. 1699. Fares on the Bangalore to Jaipur and Chandigarh route are Rs. 2999. (See Fares For All Routes)

AirAsia India is a three-way joint venture between Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad, Tata Group and investment firm Telestra Tradeplace. Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad holds 49 per cent stake in AirAsia India.
20/10/14 NDTV

Centre moots plan to spur air connectivity to smaller cities

 Dharwad : In an effort to give a fillip to the development of smaller airports in the country, the Union ministry of civil aviation has mooted the concept of 'Incentive DEstinations' .

Under the concept, it proposes to encourage airlines to operate flights to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in the country. In Karnataka, the ministry has proposed to include Hubli, Belgaum and Mysore under the plan given their potential for growth.

Under the plan, flight service providers would be offered subsidies that would bring down the operational costs and other expenses, making the services affordable for passengers and viable to service providers. The minister said he was keen on having an airport in his home district of Davanagere. But, acquiring land was the problem. If the state government provides the land, then I can take up the proposals, he said.
20/10/14 BUsiness Standard

Navigation System to Track Flights Implemented: AAI

New Delhi: ADS-B, a satellite-based navigation system to track and guide flights over vast oceanic area, has been implemented to meet the challenge of a burgeoning air traffic in the region around the Indian coastline, a top AAI official said today.

"We have been consistently upgrading the systems and procedures. We have accomplished implementation of ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast) in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata flight information regions with overlapping coverage," Airports Authority of India's Air Navigation System chief V Somasundaram said here.

ADS-B is a cooperative surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked. The technology was implemented months after the Malaysian flight MH-370 went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board.

Somasundaram was speaking at a seminar on Indian air traffic management, organised by Air Traffic Controllers Guild (India), which was inaugurated by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
20/10/14 Outlook India

Diamond barons' chartered flight service to launch today

Surat: Diamond Aeronautics, a private airlines company floated by three diamond barons, will launch their first air charter services from Surat airport on Tuesday.

The company, promoted by Lalji Patel, chairman of Dharmanandan Diamonds, Govind Dholakia, chairman of Shree Ramkrishna Exports and Savji Dholakia, chairman of Harikrishna Exports Private Limited - and Lavji Badsha alias Daliya, a real estate company owner, will launch the inaugural flight to Bhavnagar.

The company has purchased three Cessna Caravan (C208B Model) aircrafts - nine and six-seater ones - and a chopper to cater to the frequent fliers in the city. The chartered flights can be booked by the residents to any destination across the country.

An inaugural function has been organized at Surat airport.

Patel said, "In a month or so, we will be starting inter-state flight services connecting Surat with destinations like Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bhavnagar, Amreli, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhuj."
21/10/14 Times of India

Air Costa to start Chennai-Jaipur service, cut winter flights

Mumbai: Regional carrier Air Costa today said it will launch a direct daily flight between Chennai and Jaipur from Sunday even as it has reduced capacity by 10 per cent during the winter schedule owing to several reasons.

The Vijayawada-based airline also said it will offer a special Diwali discount of Rs 500 in fares across its flights booked between October 21 and October 25 for travel up to March 28 next year.

Air Costa will launch a daily non-stop flight between Chennai and Jaipur effective October 26 with a starting fare of Rs 4,999, the airline said in a release here.
21/10/14 PTI/Economic Times

AAI scrambles to secure radar link

Kolkata: The last-mile cable disruption that severed critical radar feed to Kolkata airport for 13 hours on Saturday has forced Airports Authority of India (AAI) to scramble for new measures to secure the vulnerable point that can ground a hi-tech air traffic service and compromise flight safety.

Feed from radars is a crucial tool for traffic controllers to monitor aircraft and direct them safely. If the feed is cut off, as it did on Saturday, controllers virtually turn blind as dots representing planes in a defined section of the sky disappear from the monitor screen.

According to the top man at the communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS) wing of AAI in Kolkata, three specific measures have been proposed to secure the vital final leg of cable network that carries feeds from nine radars and eight associated aircraft positioning equipment situated across east and north-east India to Kolkata airport.
21/10/14 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India

Star Alliance to develop Delhi and Mumbai airports as its hubs

Frankfurt: Airports at Delhi and Mumbai would be developed as 'seamless hubs' by the 27-member airline grouping Star Alliance and work on it may start next year itself, a top alliance official has said.

"We are looking at developing Delhi and Mumbai as our seamless hubs for transfering passengers with ease from international to domestic flights, domestic to international and international to international," Star Alliance Vice President (Customer Experience and IT) Justin Erbacci told reporters here.

Noting that the Alliance partner Air India's support would be required for establishing a hub at its home country, Erbacci said a decision on whether Delhi or Mumbai airport would be developed first was expected to be taken by the year end. He said the seamless hub project would normally take 6-8 months to be completed.
21/10/14 Economic Times

Pilots' strike hits Lufthansa services to India

New Delhi: Lufthansa operations to India have been affected by the pilots' strike.
According to an airline spokesman, today’s early morning departures from Delhi to Frankfurt and Munich had to be cancelled, as well as from Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai to Frankfurt.
21/10/14 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line

Uttar Pradesh cuts taxes on aviation fuel

Agra: Uttar Pradesh has announced a reduction in taxes on aviation fuel in a bid to promote air travel in the state.

Officials said a policy decision has been taken according to which airlines will now pay only 4 percent VAT on aviation fuel as compared to the 22 percent they were required to pay.

They said this will promote air travel to Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi and Allahabad in the state and it should give a push to tourism in the new arc being promoted to benefit Buddhists visiting shrines in the state.

For the Agra airport, which mainly caters to chartered flights, 18 companies had entered the fray to operate regular flights. But only North East Flight Company was given permission and it will begin operations early November.
21/10/14 IANS/daijiworld.com

Air France to launch personalised 1st class service for Bangalore

Bangalore: Air France today said it would introduce La Premiere - an exclusive and personalised first class service during the coming winter schedule on its Bangalore route.

As an ongoing effort to raise the standards in luxury travel, from October 27 to March 2015, the first class service will be available on Bengaluru-Paris-Bengaluru route, Air France said in a release. A state-of-the-art Boeing 777-200 would be operated on this route.

Additionally, with the help of the revised flight timings Air France brings the west coast closer to Bengaluru, which means customers can enjoy the shortest flying hours to return home for travel from San Francisco to Bengaluru, it said.
21/10/14 PTI/Economic Times

Passenger assaults airhostess

Imphal: In a bizarre incident of on-board squabble, a male passenger on board a Jet Airways flight reportedly assaulted an airhostess of the flight following an altercation.
Later, the man was handed over to Singjamei Police Station by security personnel of Imphal Tulihal Airport.
The incident occurred today around 1.50 pm when the flight (no 9W-2363) coming from Pune was supposed to land at Imphal via Guwahati.
20/10/14 Hueiyen News Service/E-Pao

Departure time gets a new meaning in aviation

New Delhi: The past four years have seen a steady stream of talent from the aviation sector leaving for industries such as hospitality, financial services, travel and infrastructure companies like GMR and GVK even as promoters of airline companies have been scrambling to bring in chief executives from overseas. With opportunities in India shrinking, many aviation executives who couldn't see themselves as part of any other sector have even left the country to work for airlines overseas.

"There's no denying that the sector has seen more than its share of exits in the last few years and that's mainly to do with the state of airlines in India. The churn in the sector has led to a churn in jobs," says Kapil Kaul, CEO of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, an aviation consultancy, who has been a witness to this trend in the past few years.

One of the prime reasons for exits from the sector has been the recurrent demise or buy-out of airlines in India - Air Deccan and then Kingfisher Airlines, Sahara (after the buyout by Jet Airways), Paramount, MDLR and Modiluft, and Damania and East West in an earlier phase. Almost all these airlines saw many senior-level exits - either atthe time of buy-out or closure.
20/10/14 Business Standard

Andaman & Nicobar Administration plans to Charter flights to improve accessibility to the islands

Port Blair: In order to make Andaman Islands more accessible to tourists from mainland and that too at affordable rates, Andaman & Nicobar Administration is planning to charter flight to operate between mainland and Port Blair. Talking to media at the Raj Bhavan, Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar, Lt. Gen. (Rtd) A K Singh said that the Administration is in “advanced level of talks” with Air India to commence a Charter operations from Kolkata and Chennai. While 50% of the seats will be reserved for the islanders at a subsidized rate, remaining 50% will be offered to tourists, again at a subsidized cost.  “Air fare is a big dampener for tourism growth.  Despite our continued persuasion, the fares haven’t come down. That is why we are now thinking  of introducing charters,” LG said.

The LG blamed the LTC segment and big travel consolidators for the high air fares to the island. The Administration is in talks with various private airlines to commence operations to the island.  Air India is also expected to commence international operations between Delhi and Phuket via Port Blair from January next year.
21/10/14 P Krishna Kumar/Hospitality Biz India.com

Adil Hussain denied boarding pass on a flight

Mumbai: Adil Hussain went through a harrowing time at the city airport on Monday morning as he was turned down by Air India despite having booked his ticket in advance. The actor was supposed to jet off to Delhi and had reported at the city airport 90 minutes prior to his 7am flight. His ordeal began when he asked for his boarding pass at the airline’s counter.
Adil says, “I reported at the airport at 5.20am and stood in the queue for my boarding pass. My ticket was confirmed but I was told that my luggage weighed more than the permissible limit. I told them that I was willing to pay for the extra kilos and was asked to wait. But they did not give me my boarding pass. After having waited a long time, I asked them for my pass but to my shock, they informed me that the flight was full.” The actor says he was not the only one to have been kept waiting. “I heard a commotion at another corner of the airport and found out that a family of three had been given the same excuse. The supervisor of the ground staff had no explanation to our problem and even lacked the courtesy to apologise,” he adds.
21/10/14 Sonali Joshi Pitale/Mid Day

Forwarders and airlines up in arms as Mumbai Airport plans levy on e-AWBs

Forwarders and airlines are becoming increasingly concerned about a proposal by Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) to charge them a fee for e-AWBs.

Forwarders are claiming that MIAL is planning to make using its community portal, GMAX-GVK MIAL Air Exchange, mandatory, and charge a fee of about $6 per e-AWB.

“There is going to be a levy on the forwarder, who will pass it on to the customer, but forwarders are not sure that the levy is justified,” said Hemant Bhatia, director, Tulsidas Khimji, and vice-president of Indian forwarders’ association ACAAI.

“Forwarders have invested in various software systems for the airlines, and they now have to get this through different agencies – in effect, they may have to do it twice. And airlines have all the data, so why does the airport community system need it? We are still in doubt as to the need and the benefit.”
20/10/14 The Loadstar

Ebola effect: Thermal scanners to be installed at Ahmedabad airport

Gandhinagar: Aiming to isolate Ebola patients and to pre-empt spreading of the virus in Gujarat, the state Health Department has procured a thermal body scanner from the Central government which is likely to be installed at the Ahmedabad International Airport by Tuesday. The scanner will help health officials identify any international flier with high fever — a basic symptom of Ebola — at the airport so that proper health check up of that person could be done to ascertain if the person is suffering from Ebola or not.
Government sources said that apart from this, the Health Department has also sent a team to Delhi to train them to handle the Ebola patients. This team will, subsequently, impart training to the health staff in Gujarat. The Health Department has also set up a special Isolation Ward at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital to quarantine any patient suspected to be suffering from Ebola.
21/10/14 Parimal A Dabhi/Indian Express

TCS-developed data base for Star Alliance goes live

Frankfurt: A premium customer data base, which helps Star Alliance recognise customers who are Gold and Silver members more easily than in the past, went live on September 30 this year, said Justin Erbacci, Vice-President, Customer Experience and IT, Star Alliance.  The data base has been developed by TCS.

 The data base is likely to benefit Air India frequent flyers as the State-owned carrier joined the 27-member global airlines club in July this year.

 In an interaction with Indian journalists at the Alliance headquarters, Erbacci said the partnership accrual interface hub too had gone live at the end of June this year making it easier for passengers who are members of one frequent flyer system to get their miles credited on another carrier.
20/10/14 Business Line

Cathay Pacific announces two key appointments for South Asia

Mumbai: Hong Kong-based full service airline Cathay Pacific today said it has appointed Abhijit Abhyankar as its regional marketing communications manager for South Asia.

Besides, it also announced the appointment of Sandhya Suraj Kankanady as the airline's assistant regional corporate sales manager for South Asia.

In his new position, Abhyankar will be responsible for the development and execution of all marketing communications' activities for Cathay Pacific and its sister airline Dragonair, in the subcontinent, a release said.
20/10/14 Economic Times

Gold seized at airport

Mangalore: Customs officials at the international airport here have seized 384 gms of gold worth Rs 10.46 lakh from a passenger who arrived here from Dubai, airport officials said.
The gold was found concealed in the form of 10-tola bars inside a motor toy-jeep and a toy-dog and the remaining in the form of paint-coated cylindrical objects hidden in the wheels of a stroller-suitcase the passenger was carrying, the officials said.
21/10/14 PTI/Business Standard