Monday, August 18, 2014

AirAsia India's Limited Period Offer Starts from Rs. 990

Budget carries AirAsia India has come up with another promotional offer ahead of its expansion into north India. In a limited-period offer, AirAsia India is offering all-inclusive tickets starting from Rs. 990.

This special offer is available on bookings made between August 18-24, 2014 and travel period of September 5, 2014, and January 29, 2015.

Under this offer, all-in fares from Bangalore to Chennai start from Rs. 990 and vice versa. On Bangalore-to-Kochi route, the all-in fares begin from Rs. 1,290 and vice versa. Bangalore-to-Goa fares start from Rs. 1,690 and vice versa.

AirAsia India, which is the domestic arm of Malaysian no-frills carrier AirAsia, had at the time of entering in the Indian aviation market said that its fares will be 35 per cent cheaper compared to the segment players.
18/08/14 NDTV

Jet, Vistara poised to offer more full-service options to Indian fliers

New Delhi: Jet Airways and the yet-to-be launched Vistara are poised to offer more full-service options to Indian airline passengers who are used to budget options, although analysts point out the move may be expensive and take time.

Before Kingfisher Airlines wound up services in 2012, full-service carriers, including Jet Airways and Air India, used to fly over 50% of the passengers. Currently, low-fare carriers such as IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir rule the skies, offering about 80% of the nation's airline capacity and carrying over 65% of the fliers.

They have also started offering premium services, which will make the shift to full-service even more competitive. Air India offers a large part of its capacity in the full-service space. Jet Airways has announced the dissolution of the Jet-Konnect brand and will offer only fullservice capacity to Indian consumers. Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, plans to launch premium full-service capacity in the country towards the end of this year.
18/08/14 Mihir MIshra/Economic Times

Air India Express to lease 8 planes, to up capacity 4% by winter

Mumbai: Air India's budget arm Air India Express plans to increase capacity and induct more aircraft to take on the competition.

Besides deploying 3-4 per cent more capacity from the winter schedule and adding another eight planes to the fleet, the airline will also focus on markets other than the already established southern region, a top official told PTI here.

Budget carriers such as Sharjah-based Air Arabia, Dubai's FlyDubai and Malaysia's AirAsia operate on most of the routes catered to by Air India Express. It also competes with domestic budget airlines IndiGo and SpiceJet.
The Kochi-based airline operates 165 weekly flights connecting 12 international routes and on 11 domestic destinations with a fleet of 17 aircraft. Of these, 87 flights are from Kerala alone.
18/08/14 PTI/Economic Times

Kingfisher fallout: leasing firms wary of doing biz with India

New Delhi/Bangalore: With Vijay Mallya and other directors of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) running the risk of being declared wilful defaulters by various banks for failing to return loans of over ?7,000 crore, the spotlight has once again turned on the impact the airline going bust will have on the domestic aviation sector.

Analysts say that due to some actions by KFA and subsequently by vendors such as the Airports Authority of India to which Kingfisher still owes a lot of money, global aircraft leasing companies are now reluctant to do business with India.

Kapil Kaul, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation, points out that the challenges faced by lessors to repossess Kingfisher’s aircraft continue to hurt the domestic industry.

“Lessors continue to see serious market risks in India,” Kapil told BusinessLine.

Adds Vasuki Prasad, aviation analyst with Flyingengineer, “Leasing companies are wary of India after their bitter experiences with Kingfisher and Paramount. When operating for an Indian airline, the jurisdiction in India does not allow repossession of aircraft, as has been the case with Paramount and Kingfisher.”
18/08/14 Ashwini Phadnis/K Giriprakash

Good regional aviation infra, the need of the hour

The finance minister in his budget speech made a mention of developing new airports in Tier 1 and 2 cities through the Airports Authority of India and the public private partnership (PPP) route.

 While there is talk of building a regional aviation infrastructure in India, the ground work and policy support done for it remains poor and any chance of a change remains elusive.

In a recent seminar on the issue, the stakeholders consisting of airlines and airports came up with their problems. Regional development through aviation is still considered elitist and not a priority. Yet, the prime minister wants tourism, including remote area tourism, and inclusive growth of remote areas. If it is felt that our poor quality roads and railways will not improve overnight, a good aviation infrastructure is necessary.

India has now reached a level of development where regional aviation can play a major role in regional economic development. Connectivity to remote locations and their development also poses a challenge. India is lucky to have 447 airports on book, built largely during the Second World War and now lying mostly abandoned. However, the land in most cases is secure with AAI or state governments. Indian civil aviation sector has given huge volumes in growth revenues to Central and state governments, but there is a bigger prize waiting if right policies are followed.
18/08/14 Sanat Kaul/Deccan Herald

Air India cabin crew to go for a change in dress code in line with global standards

New Delhi: National carrier Air India (AI) is going in for an image makeover with its 4,000-strong cabin crew switching to a stylish new dress code bearing a subtle western touch during the winter schedule, beginning October 25, to maximise gains from the Star Alliance membership.

A top AI official told Mail Today that the new attire, aimed at giving a more contemporary look and in line with international standards, will be a mix of the traditional Indian sari and Indowestern trousers with small kurti and a scarf. The colour of the sari will be changed to mustard yellow from the current red-white-black uniform, which has been in use for a long time.

"The cabin crew will be attired in mustard yellow saris with a little orange print on it. It will also have a mix of colours as in the Air India logo. We have retained the sari because it is part of our Indian tradition and culture," the official explained.

"For domestic flights, cabin crew would have a mix of traditional saris and long kurti and a churidaar. Long-haul international flights will have 50 per cent of cabin crew on board in Indian dress comprising a lower and a kurti with a sash or dupatta. At least, 50 per cent of them will be attired in Indowestern trousers with small kurti and a scarf. Each dress will be in the same colour pattern from top to bottom," the AI official added.

AI officials are keen to revive the Maharaja's declining charm in a highly competitive market and expect the dress makeover to help give some freshness to the ailing carrier, which has now got a brand new fleet of planes but needs to improve its services.
18/08/14 Sanjay Singh/Mail Today/India Today

Even before take-off, rough weather looms for Vistara

Vistara, the full-service airline jointly promoted by Tata group and Singapore Airlines, is expected to start operations in a month amid much skepticism over how another carrier -- and not a low-cost one at that -- will survive or thrive in a market that has been extremely brutal for its participants. India’s aviation industry has been a picture of gloom over the last 10 years as high fuel and operational costs, combined with players willing to lose money instead of dropping out, has led to serious wealth destruction for promoters. In such an environment, Vistara has said it aims to be a full-service “luxury” airline, making analysts wonder there will be enough takers for such a carrier. Other full-service carriers (FSCs) such as the state-owned Air India and Naresh Goyal’s Jet Airways have been saddled with years of losses. The former has been sitting on a debt burden of Rs 26,000 crore and reported a loss of Rs 2,120 crore in FY14. Jet , meanwhile, has turned over a single rupee in profit since 2007 and posted a record loss of Rs 4,129 crore.

French treasure hunter finds 50 pieces of jewellery on Mont Blanc from Air India crash 48 years ago

Paris: A French treasure hunter has found a trove of jewellery, including bracelets and necklaces, on the ice of Mont Blanc belonging to passengers from an Air India plane that crashed on western Europe's highest peak half a century ago.
The find comes a year after a young mountaineer stumbled across a metal box containing 100 diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires valued at €240,000 (£193,000).
Daniel Roche, who has been scouring the mountain in search of objects for years, came across around a fresh set of 50 pieces of jewellery which the Bossons glacier had pushed to the surface.
"They were scattered around a big cone at the Plateau des Pyramides, as if they had been placed the previous day," he told Le Parisien. "There were bracelets, necklaces, pendants, gold chains, earrings." Like the other unearthed gems, Mr Roche said he believed the jewels came from Air India flight Kangchenjunga - a Boeing 707 flying from Mumbai to London which crashed on the southwest face of Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966. Some 117 people died in the crash, including the pioneer of India's nuclear programme, Homi Jehangir Bhabha.
Mr Roche, a former international yachtsman, has discovered a host of objects from the 1966 disaster and another - Air India's Malabar Princess, which crashed on 3 November, 1950 with 48 people on board - including a jet engine and human remains.
17/08/14  Henry Samuel/The Telegraph, UK

Kolhapur airport plans await approval

Kolhapur: Member of parliament, Dhananjay Mahadik, said that the required clearances for trials at the Kolhapur Airport were not completed as he could not meet the civil aviation minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju.

Mahadik is pressing to get final clearances for the proposed airport, which is in demand from various sectors including businessmen, tourists and industrialists. "Civil aviation minister Raju is on tour, so we could not get the two pending clearances from the director general of civil aviation and the ministry. The rest of the 20 clearances have already been obtained," the MP said. He earlier said that the clearances will be obtained before Independence Day, depending on the civil aviation minister's appointment.

In July, the minister of state for civil aviation G M Siddeshwara had said that his ministry had finalized a list of 50 airports across the country. These airports had a potential to be converted as 'low cost' airports and the Kolhapur Airport is a part of this list. Once clearances are obtained, the civil aviation ministry will order trials of planes at the airport. A detailed report on the basis of the trials will be submitted for a final approval for the airport's functioning.
18/08/14 Times of India

DGCA to continue surprise safety checks of airports too

New Delhi: After taking stringent action against several airlines and private charters and grounding 14 aircraft for safety violations, aviation regulator DGCA has decided to continue its spree of surprise checks of airports too through the year, official sources said today.

With Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju favouring such checks, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has prepared a monthly programme of surveillance of airports as well as of all schedule, non-schedule and general aviation companies, foreign airlines and the aviation wings of state governments, they said.

Though a broad schedule of carrying out these checks has been prepared, details regarding which airline or private operator or airport would be targeted are to be decided at the last minute, the sources said, adding the checks would be performed on two foreign scheduled and non-scheduled airlines and on an airport on a monthly basis.
18/08/14 PTI/Economic Times

Air Arabia awaits approval of flights to India from Ras Al Khaimah

Air Arabia is still waiting for approvals to fly to India from Ras Al Khaimah following the closure of RAK Airways, which had operated to the country until last year.
But that is not stopping the region’s biggest low-cost carrier from expanding elsewhere in south Asia. Air Arabia said it would fly three times per week to Chittagong in Bangladesh from next month.
Air Arabia started flying from the northernmost emirate in May after RAK Airways, the emirate’s flag carrier, ceased operations six months earlier. The new hub is its second in the UAE and the fourth worldwide.
“We are still waiting. Every week we write to them and they say wait for a few days,” said Mohammed Qazi, RAK Airport’s chief executive. “We hope to get the approvals very soon, as it affects people in the Northern Emirates.”
In the meantime, the carrier is looking at other regional destinations to add new routes.
“Chittagong is a tried and tested route by RAK Airways. We are very happy to operate this route again by Air Arabia,” said Mr Qazi.
“We are looking at the moment at Nepal and Qatar,” Mr Qazi added, referring to popular routes that were previously operated by RAK Airways.
Air Arabia currently offers direct services to Jeddah, Cairo, Muscat, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Dhaka from its RAK hub.
17/08/14 Shereen El Gazzar/The National

Airport Security Crack the Whip on ‘Fwd’ Tickets

Chennai: With more and more passengers arguing that ‘official’ text messages sent by airlines are enough to gain entry into the airport, security staff have taken a stiff stand— posting the circular at the entry gates and pointing mistaken passengers toward it when they have an issue. “I have used the sms and mail combination on my phone to board planes at Mumbai, but when I showed It here at Chennai, the security staff said that I need an e-ticket from the airline or a print out of the ticket,” said Ritwik Manjar, who was flying home, “When I argued, they pointed to the notice pasted there.” The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security had sent a circular just over two years ago, allowing passengers to show e-versions of tickets on their phones, tablets or laptops to gain entry into the terminal. However, an addendum to the rules clearly states that no SMS or partial information (like an invoice from a travel agent or a forward from a friend) would be entertained by security. “Lots of youngsters come late and pressure us to let them in by just looking at their phones. When we tell them SMS is not allowed they show us the mail and don’t give us time to even check the ticket properly. That is why we are insisting on original ticket receipts,” said a CISF official on duty at the airport’s departure level, on Sunday.
18/08/14 New Indian Express

Ebola virus: Ensure health checks at IGI airport, BJP urges LG

New Delhi: BJP has urged Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to ensure that proper health checks are done at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here to ensure that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa does not spread to India.
Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyay has also urged the municipal corporations here to direct their health departments to undertake proper fogging and other preventive measures to check the spread of any disease in the post-monsoon period.
17/08/14 PTI/Financial Express

‘Identification of bodies was a disaster after air crash’

Mangalore: The issue of identification of victims of the 2010 air crash at Mangalore International Airport was a “disaster” in itself, said A. Prabhakara Sharma, who was then the in-charge Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district.
“It took 12 hours to retrieve the bodies, but relatives had started to claim the bodies. We took a collective decision to handover the bodies. In hindsight, it was the wrong decision and a disaster in itself,” said Mr. Sharma at a talk on ‘Disaster management – a case study of the aircraft accident at Mangalore airport’, organised by the Mangalore Management Association here recently.
Though the management of the disaster was “good”, there were insurmountable challenges, especially the identification of the charred bodies in the lack of quick DNA testing, he said.
While relatives were told that DNA testing – a process that takes weeks – was to be conducted, Mr. Sharma says the pressure was mounting. “It was not political pressure. It was through relatives who wanted the body to complete the final rituals. Withholding the bodies was becoming a tragedy in itself. Some had even said they will not consume food or water.”
Eventually, out of 158 bodies, 136 were handed over, while the rest were kept until DNA results come. “Out of 22 bodies, DNA samples of just 10 claims matched. This meant that 12 bodies had been mistakenly claimed by others,” he said.
18/08/14 The Hindu

Desi carriers' insurance costs rise 20% on global crashes

New Delhi: The spate of serious aviation mishaps globally is all set to impact the financials of already struggling Indian airlines. A leading unlisted Indian airline will have to renew its aircraft insurance in coming days. To its horror, it found that insurance premia charged by foreign companies (Indian insurers do not provide cover for aircraft to airlines) have shot by 15-20%.

"Our insurance covers have to be renewed shortly. The initial talks we had with insurers in past few days showed that premia are up by 15-20%. May be when we actually strike a deal, the hike is softened a bit but general insurers feel that their underwriting risk is up and they are going to charge more," said the CEO of this airline.
Another airline also confirmed that insurance premia are up. "We are trying to minimize this blow as any additional cost has to be passed on to the flyer. In India, however, irrational pricing by some airlines means that we are unable to recover our costs. For airlines in black, it means lower profits. And, for loss-making carriers, it means more red ink on the balance sheet," said a senior official of the airline.
18/08/14 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Why SpiceJet Meals May Taste Different

Have you noticed something different about the food being served on-board SpiceJet? If you have, it is probably because SpiceJet has a new caterer and has revamped its on-board menu.

"We have re-invested in the brand, we have changed the caterer. The food has always been a distinguishing factor of the SpiceJet flying experience. We have made significant in improving the on-board menu options," SL Narayanan, group chief financial officer (CFO), Sun Group told NDTV. Kalanithi Maran-led Sun Group owns SpiceJet. (Watch)

SpiceJet handed over on-board catering responsibilities to Taj SATS and Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) towards the end of May, offering a new menu- titled 'Hot Meals, Warm Smiles' (See the menu).

Mumbai-based chain of hotels- Narang International Hotels was earlier handling the catering for SpiceJet under the brand name Ambassador Sky Chef and subsequently took the airline to court over non-payment of dues amounting to Rs. 8 crore.

SpiceJet is on a cost-rationalisation drive and has been shutting down flights to any route that has not been generating returns. The budget carrier posted a first quarter net loss of Rs. 124 crore, its fourth consecutive quarterly loss.
18/08/14 NDTV

Rafale fighter jet deal contract with France almost ready: Defence ministry

Mumbai: The much-awaited multi-billion Rafale combat aircraft deal with France has moved a step further with the defence ministry finalizing a 'draft contract', according to top defence ministry officials.

Rafale was declared the lowest bidder in Janaury 2012 but the deal has not been inked so far on account of escalation in the cost. The Cost Negotiation Committee, which was set up in February 2012 to work out the modalities for the deal has not reached a conclusion after 30 months of negotiations.

The government raised its concerns over this last month, during the visit of French foreign minister Laurent Fabius to New Delhi.

"Yes, we are in the process of finalizing the draft contract for the deal. And we also expect the Cost Negotiation Committee to submit its report soon," said a senior defence ministry official, who was privy to the developments.

But the official refused to give a time frame for inking the deal. "It is very difficult to predict any date for signing the contract. But, it should happen in the next few months," the officer said, requesting anonymity.
18/08/14 Pradip R Sagar/Daily News & Analysis

In May, Trichy airport handled 1 lakh passengers

Trichy: Trichy airport has handled more than a lakh passengers in May this year, majority of them are international passengers. The airport has surpassed its earlier record achieved early this year when the numbers touched around 90,000. The figures show that the airport has a good potential for growth, say experts.

Five international airlines operate services from Trichy, majority of the flights are to South East Asian countries. There are no direct flights to the Middle East, travellers have to depend on a Sri Lankan airlines service that flies via Colombo.

The airport receives at least 250 passengers daily. According to the data released by Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Trichy international airport handled about 98,178 international passengers in May and 6,512 domestic passengers. The airport had previously recorded 1 lakh passengers in January this year. Airport officials are happy that passenger traffic has been growing almost consistently at the airport. "This is the time to speed up plans to expand the facility," said an airline official.
18/08/14 Harish Murali/Times of India

Mangalorean NRIs demand budget airlines to Gulf

Mangalore: Passengers from Mangalore International Airport (MIA) to Gulf countries demand budget airlines in lines of Kerala. Passengers point out huge difference in the flight fare from MIA and that of airports in Kerala while requesting budget airlines.
According to Mangalore International Airport Users Forum the average flight fare to Calicut, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram from UAE countries is about 580 Dirhams (Approximately Rs 9,600). Meanwhile, it is almost four times higher, up to 2,000 Dirhams (Approximately Rs 33,000) to Mangalore from same countries. The forum demands that budget airlines flights that are being operated on Kerala - Gulf be introduced at MIA and also set up a grievance cell at the deputy commissioner's office to solve various issues pertaining to MIA bound passengers.
Forum coordinator Prabhakara Ambalathere said that passengers, who take off or land at MIA are facing several types of harassments. "After several years of fight we considered ourselves fortunate when a flight landed at MIA eight years ago. Passengers from Gulf to Mangalore were all thrilled and happy to this achievement, but as days passed by, the service has become disappointing. While the fare is high on one side, flight operators restrict passengers from carrying baggage for more than 20 kg and even 'karimani' (mangal sutra) of more than 4 sovereign are not allowed," he said.
17/08/14 Times of India

Flyer feedback to make Chennai airport use-friendly, spiffy

Chennai: For the first time, users will have a say in the way the city airport is managed.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) will soon invite feedback from airlines, passengers, industry bodies and other stakeholders to ensure that Chennai airport is user-friendly. AAI has also set up a 12-member Airport Users Consultative Committee.
The panel includes representatives from trade and industry bodies, the hospitality industry, airlines, passengers associations, travel agents and immigration department officials. The airport took the initiative to set it up after criticism from different quarters about the shoddy state of the terminals though the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority issued AAI a directive to form the committee first in 2009 and again in 2011.
"It took time to identify organisations and send them letters asking for nominations. All the agencies that we wrote to have agreed to be part of the initiative which is designed to discuss and sort out issues related to airlines, passengers, traders and others," said a senior official of AAI.
18/08/14 V Ayyappan/Times of India

High-decibel drama likely over rights issue at CIAL

Kochi: The 20th Annual General Meeting of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), to be held in Kochi on August 29, promises to be stormy with its minority shareholders gearing up to corner the company director board for not considering their demand for a rights issue at par.
“Despite earlier promises, the company is dragging its feet on our demand to open at least 50 percent of the remaining unissued capital on a rights basis, and we plan to raise this issue during the upcoming AGM,” said Devassikutty Padayattil, general secretary of the Shareholders’ Organization of Cochin International Airport Limited.
The shareholders are also planning to meet Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who is also the chairman of CIAL, ahead of the event and submit a memorandum for his consideration.
According to the organisation, Mr.Chandy, in an extra ordinary general meeting of the airport company in 2012, had promised to favourably consider the demand for a rights issue. If HUDCO could get shares at par why can’t they, who had invested in the company when there was uncertainty over the return, be given additional shares at par.
18/08/14 The Hindu

PDP seeks night landing facility at Srinagar Airport

Srinagar:  The Advisory Committee on Srinagar International Airport headed by senior opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and Member Parliament, Tariq Hameed Karra has sought immediate operation of night flights and international flights from Srinagar Airport.
According to official spokesperson, the Advisory Committee, which met here Saturday under the chairmanship of Karra, asked the District Development Commissioner Budgam and SSP Budgam to immediately take up the issue of installation of approach lights on the runway with the Air Force authorities to facilitate operation of night flights.
The meeting was informed that once the approach lights are installed on the runway, the airlines operating from Srinagar Airport would take a call on the matter and propose suitable timing for morning and the night flights.
Regarding the operation of international flights, the meeting was informed that the matter has been already taken up by Karra with the Union Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok G R Pusapati and a positive action was expected soon.
It was also decided in the meeting that the issue regarding naming of Srinagar International Airport as Sheikh-ul-Aalam International Airport would be taken up with the government of India.
17/08/18 Rising Kashmir

Woman with bullet in purse detained at airport

Vishakhapatnam: A naval officer’s daughter was detained by the airport zone police after the CISF personnel found a bullet in her purse during scanning of her baggage at the Visakhapatnam International Airport on Sunday.

Police said Gurupreet Kaur, 22, who works in a private firm in Pune and daughter of a senior sailor posted at INS Karanja in Mumbai, arrived here on August 15 to try her luck for a better job. After her arrival, she checked into a hotel. She was detained before boarding an Indigo flight to Mumbai.
18/08/14 The Hindu

Gold smuggling at IGI Airport: Court Denies Bail to Accused

A Delhi court has dismissed the bail plea of a man, accused of smuggling 760 gold coins worth Rs 1.33 crores from Dubai and throwing them in a dustbin at the IGI airport here, saying prima facie it appeared to be a case of customs duty evasion.

Special Judge Gurvinder Pal Singh rejected the bail plea of accused Hameed Sultan Mohammed Ali, who had arrived at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport from Dubai on July 14 and had allegedly thrown five packets containing over six kilogrammes of gold into the dustbin of a toilet.

Holding that there was a prima facie case of customs duty evasion by Ali, the court said the alleged criminal act causing loss to public revenue clearly depicted that the accused did not deserve to be released on regular bail, at least at this stage.

According to the prosecution, Ali had arrived at the IGI airport on July 14 and he was intercepted at the exit gate of customs arrival hall while he was going out.
18/08/14 The Indian Republic

Kenyan woman detained at airport

Chennai: A 26-year-old Kenyan woman was detained by immigration authorities here after it was found that she allegedly had a fake visa and overstayed in India, airport authorities said.
The woman, Jacinta Mueni, arrived here from Hyderabad to board an early morning flight to Doha.
She was detained and being questioned by the authorities, they said.
18/08/14 Zee News

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Airports Will be Set Up Only If There is Air Traffic, Says Ashok

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu wants to have an airport in each district so as to make the State an aviation hub but his party colleague and Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju sounds more practical on the issue.
Taking a general view of the growing demands across the country for more airports, Raju said Saturday that constructing new airports would serve no purpose if there weren’t enough number of air passengers. However, he made it clear the Centre had no objection to developing airports at places accessible to air passengers if the State concerned acquired the land for the purpose.
Raju also lauded the efforts of his party chief and Chief Minister Naidu to expand the aviation sector in the State.
“When there is a proactive CM like Naidu, it is easy to expand the aviation sector in the State. Expansion of aviation could be a source of employment for many. For instance, take Ladakh, where the airport functions only for a few months in a year because of inclement weather. Despite this, Ladakh is able to prosper economically because of the airport,” he said.
17/08/14 New Indian Express

Looking for a perfect take-off

Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday held a meeting with Union civil aviation minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and discussed the state government's plan to have 14 airports in Andhra Pradesh. However, the realization of the plan may depend on the success in acquiring sufficient land.
Naidu has big plans of turning AP into an air and maritime hub, which would provide enormous scope for economic development. The chief minister feels that if cities like Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai, which have only one airport and sea port, can become global cities, AP can develop by leaps and bounds with more.
According to sources, at the meeting in the Lake View Guest House, Naidu sought the Centre's help in developing 14 airports. While he plans to upgrade the existing airports at Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati, he sought help to develop 11 more in the other districts. The duo discussed issues of land acquisition, investments and revenue.
Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, Raju said the Centre is committed towards upgrading the three existing airports into international ones. "These three airports figure in the AP Reorganization Act 2014, drafted by the previous government. The NDA government has already announced that it would honour the Act," the minister said.
17/08/14 Times of India

'Human error causing many accidents involving chopper, planes'

New Delhi: A trainer aircraft crashed in Rae Bareli's IGRUA three years ago as the trainee pilot was busy taking pictures, an inquiry has shown with officials saying a large number of accidents involving helicopters and small planes were caused by human error.

There were 30 accidents involving helicopters and other aircraft in which 52 people were killed since 2011, with a large number being caused by human error, the officials said today.

While the enquiry reports on 10 of them are still awaited, 13 of the 20 were primarily caused by human error and four for technical reasons. Inclement weather was also a cause in a few of them, they said.

Official data showed that 11 accidents occurred in 2011, nine in 2012, eight in 2013 and two till March and in most of these cases, the choppers suffered substantial damage, apart from the 52 fatalities.
17/08/14 PTI/Economic Times

Close shave for IndiGo passengers

Patna: Altogether 177 passengers of a Mumbai-bound Indigo Airlines flight (IndiGo 6E191) had a close shave after a bird hit its port-side engine at the Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport, Patna on Saturday.

The passengers suffered no injuries and were sent to their destination by another aircraft. The airline's executive could not be contacted.

The port-side engine was hit, said executive director, Centre for Aviation Policy, Safety and Research, New Delhi, Atul Singh, adding that the officials of private airliners were generally in the habit of hushing-up such incidents. Elaborating on the technical aspect of the incident, he said the abrupt halt of the aircraft after it attained rotating speed with its 'nose up' could have created a major emergency "with its own fuel playing havoc".

Six retired defence personnel have already been deployed as bird chasers - two on the runway and one on the air traffic control tower for bursting crackers immediately before the takeoff and touchdown of aircrafts at the airport. The bird chasers have ample time to chase off birds in case of landing. but always have to rush during takeoff.
17/08/14 Aditya Vaibhav/Times of India

New Indian navigation technology to be offered to partner countries

New Delhi: The Indian government plans to offer its newly-developed Gagan (GPS-aided geo augmented navigation) system to Southeast Asian countries to generate financial resources and showcase the country's next generation navigation and survelliance technologies.

Gagan is a satellite-based augmentation system which helps aircraft navigate by GPS, hitherto seen in passenger cars. It offers free enhanced satellite navigation signals over India that are 10 times more precise than GPS.

The advanced features of the system provide better accuracy, integrity and continuity of navigation services for various applications in the civil aviation sector by using data from satellites rather than ground-based radar tracking systems.

"Currently AAI is working on show casing the technology to interested parties. The government is also in favour of sharing the new technology that can also be used in non-aviation sectors," a senior official of the Airports Authority of India told IANS at its Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan headquarters here.
17/08/14 IANS/

Pilots mull forming joint forum to fight discrimination

Mumbai: Concerned over the increasing number of cases in which DGCA acted against the cockpit crew, the domestic pilots’ community is mulling to forge a common forum to fight against the alleged discriminatory policies of the aviation regulator, sources said in Mumbai.

The forum under consideration is likely to be drawn up on the lines of the domestic airlines’ pressure group, Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), and act as a “voice” on behalf of the pilots in the country, a pilot working with a domestic airline told PTI.

“Whenever an incident happens, the axe falls on the pilots in the form of one action or other by both the regulator and the airlines management. But we have never heard DGCA taking action against any airline whether it is the issue of non-payment of salaries or mass lay-offs,” the pilot alleged.

While the domestic airlines have formed a platform and lobby jointly whenever some decision or policy goes against their interests, the cockpit crew members in the country do not have any such platform, the pilot said on condition of anonymity.
17/08/14 PTI/The Hindu

CISF tweaks security drill for Indian airports; fliers to be profiled

The CISF has rejiged security of all airports across the country as it has replaced the ritual drill of frisking of passengers with "tactical checking" in order to reduce hassles and ensure a heightened level of protection to civil air operations.

The central paramilitary which secures 59 civil airport terminals and is in the process of taking over more in the future has issued directions to all its Airport Security Group (ASG) units and the personnel therein to increasingly start an intelligent profiling of air fliers rather than deploying the existing time-taking procedure of checking their ticket details.

A high-level decision in this regard was taken by the force in the aftermath of the Karachi airport attacks in Pakistan. "We have decided to substitute the ritual checking of passengers with a new protocol of tactical profiling.After months of training we have prepared our personnel who are adept in profiling of suspicious or fraudulent passengers thereby taking less time in screening of fliers," Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) chief Arvind Ranjan told PTI.
17/08/14 PTI/Daily News & Analysis

Jet Airways, Spicejet face auditors' red flags over 'going concern' status

New Delhi: Amid continuing difficulties in airline space to generate profits and raise funds, independent auditors of at least two Indian carriers have raised red-flags over their 'going concern' status claims.

Typically, a company is known as a 'going concern' if it has sufficient resources to continue to operate indefinitely and to avoid any potential bankruptcy risks.

While auditors of now-grounded Kingfisher Airlines have been raising red flags for a long time, auditors of low-cost carrier SpiceJet have pointed out in their latest quarterly review report the airline's total liabilities exceeded its total assets by Rs 1,145.58 crore as on June 30, 2014.

"These conditions, along with other matters...Indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern," SpiceJet's auditor SR Batliboi and Associates LLP said.

No provision has been made for interest of Rs 7.5 crore up to June 30, 2014, relating to earlier years on the outstanding inter-corporate deposits taken by Spicejet.

If these amounts had been accounted for, SpiceJet's first quarter net loss, as also accumulated losses, would have been higher, the auditor noted. SpiceJet reported a net loss of Rs 124.10 crore for the April-June 2014 quarter, as against a net profit of Rs 50.56 crore in the year-ago period.
17/08/14 PTI/Business Standard

Copter transport of organs in limbo

Kochi: The two-year-long dream of using helicopters for faster transportation of organs, including liver and heart, for transplantation is yet to materialise with different factors, including cost, coming as hindrance.
One of the major issues is the pattern of accidents in the state which makes it impossible to transport organs by air.
“Helicopters are able to operate during daytime from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many road accidents in Kerala take place during evenings and nights. The brain-dead victims of accidents are the major donors of organs.  Hence, it has become impossible to use helicopters in their transportation,” said Dr Jose Chacko Periapuram, heart transplant surgeon in Kochi, who made a bid to launch the air ambulance service by roping in Bangalore-based Chipson Aviation.
According to him, the heart transplantation has to take place in four hours of detaching the organ from the donor. “It is a great risk taking it by road now,” said Dr Jose Chacko.
17/08/14 Vinod Nedumudy/Deccan Chronicle

Adilabad Airport Plan Put on Hold

Adilabad: Hopes among people arose when Adilabad’s aerodrome of 436 acres, which served as a fuelling station during the World War II, was to be developed into a full fledged airport.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had identified towns across Andhra Pradesh, Jarkhand, Bihar Punjab, Rajasthan, Mahrashtra, Odisha, Assam, uttar Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh, where 20 airports could be developed.
 According to sources, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has proposed to develop 50 airports across 11 states in the country.
17/08/14 New Indian Express

Airport plans await approval

Kolhapur:  Member of parliament, Dhananjay Mahadik, said that the required clearances for trials at the Kolhapur Airport were not completed as he could not meet the civil aviation minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju.

Mahadik is pressing to get final clearances for the proposed airport, which is in demand from various sectors including businessmen, tourists and industrialists. "Civil aviation minister Raju is on tour, so we could not get the two pending clearances from the director general of civil aviation and the ministry. The rest of the 20 clearances have already been obtained," the MP said. He earlier said that the clearances will be obtained before Independence Day, depending on the civil aviation minister's appointment.

In July, the minister of state for civil aviation G M Siddeshwara had said that his ministry had finalized a list of 50 airports across the country.
17/08/14 Nikhil Deshmukh/Times of India

Sneaky simians scare passengers at RGIA

Hyderabad: Two monkeys had a field day at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad on Saturday after they clandestinely made their way into the airport premises and merrily made a 'trip' from the domestic to the international terminal spreading panic among passengers.

According to eyewitnesses, one among them was first spotted sitting cozily outside an optical store located in the retail zone of the domestic terminal at around 12.30 pm gazing gleefully at passersby. "But as soon as people raised an alarm, the animal perhaps got scared and fled," said an eyewitness. The monkey was later seen in the international enclosure where it hid in the duct of an air-conditioner to avoid public glare.

Its partner in crime, meanwhile, managed to escape prying eyes and find itself a cozy spot in the baggage make-up area where luggage is collected before loading it onto the aircraft. The area was hurriedly cordoned off so as to secure the passengers from the simian and prevent more chaos. It stayed put there till late in the evening.
17/08/14 Times of India

Tyre of Mumbai-bound AI flight detected flat minutes before take off

Indore: Mumbai-bound Air India flight AI 636 was delayed by about one hour after the tyre of its rear wheel was detected flat minutes before take off at Devi Ahilyabai Holkar airport at 7.50pm on Saturday. The flight landed from Delhi around 7.30pm and was to take off for Mumbai in another 35 minutes at 8.05pm.

Delhi-Indore-Mumbai Air India flight, which was just 15 minutes from take off, had 120 passengers lined-up for boarding the bus to the aircraft. However, the technical team, which was schedule-checking, detected the flat tyre. Airport officials were informed about it, who got the tyre replaced, which in turn delayed the flight by about an hour.
17/08/14 Times of India

AI travellers protest 5-hour delay

Vadodara: A delay of five hours coupled with harrowing flying experience made passengers of Vadodara-bound Air India flight furious on Friday. The perturbed passengers resorted to sloganeering and demanded a refund of their airfare on landing.
Air India flight 819 was scheduled to take off at 6.30am from Delhi. The flight's departure was rescheduled to 10.10am at the last moment without informing the passengers about the reason. After landing at Vadodara, around 50 passengers staged a protest outside the airport terminal on Friday afternoon accusing Air India's staff of unprofessional conduct. The angry passengers said the authorities were liable to notify passengers about the rescheduling an hour in advance. Their failure to do so led to chaos at Delhi terminal.tnn
"Air India runs because of our hard-earned money that we pay as taxes. Hence, they do not have the right to treat us badly. When we asked to meet higher officials, we were misguided by the staff," said an agitated passenger Nilesh Kapadia of Saputara.
17/08/14 Times of India

Gold seized at Cochin airport

Kochi: Customs authorities at the Cochin international airport have seized one kg of smuggled gold valued at more than Rs. 28 lakhs from an air passenger.
The passenger, who arrived from Singapore early this morning, had concealed the gold bar, cut into two pieces, inside his socks.
16/08/14 Business Line

Air passenger held with Rs 24 lakh worth of gold

Coimbatore: Customs officials seized two gold bars weighing 850.31 grams from a 29-year-old passenger at Coimbatore airport late on Friday. The officials said the accused had been caught with 1.5kg of gold ornaments at Trichy airport last month and was out on bail. He is a frequent traveler to Singapore, an official said.
The passenger was identified N Zaheer Hussain, a native of Chennai who worked for a textile unit in Tirupur.
On August 14, he went to Singapore from Coimbatore airport and was returning to Coimbatore by Silk Air flight on Friday night. The investigation wing of customs office got a tip off and intercepted him.
Officials found gold bars hidden in his socks and seized it. He was taken into custody for interrogation.
17/08/14 Times of India