Friday, January 23, 2015

Jet Airways and Etihad Airways launch discounted fares

New Delhi: Private carrier Jet Airways in association with its gulf partner Etihad today announced limited period discounted fares for travel across its network on the occasion of Republic Day.

Besides, the offer will also be applicable on Etihad Airways flights, which holds 24 per cent stake in the Naresh Goyal-promoted airline, for destinations across the US, Europe and the Middle-east, airline said in a statement here.
The three-day offer of 25 per cent discount on tickets, for which the bookings commence tomorrow, is the third in series from the Mumbai-headquartered airline in this year so far.

The offer is applicable for economy fares on Jet Airways' domestic network for travel between March 1 and September 30 (on domestic routes), the airline said in a statement, adding the discount can be availed in both economy and premier fares on the airline's international flights.
23/01/15 PTI/Economic Times

Air fare war may continue on low crude oil prices

The fare war in the Indian aviation sector has well and truly begun. Whether it is due to the lean period or the sharp drop in aviation fuel prices, airlines across the board are slugging out to offer lowest fares. Even full-service carriers such as Jet Airways and Air India, and even the newly launched Vistara, are luring customers with fares comparable to low-cost carriers or LCCs.

Take Jet Airways, for instance. The Naresh Goyal-promoted airline is offering tickets for Rs 4,424 for a Delhi-Mumbai flight one month from today. The fares are available at nine different time slots across the entire day. State carrier Air India's lowest fare for the same day is Rs 4,956 while Vistara's is Rs 5,481 per ticket.

Economy fares offered by LCCs such as GoAir and SpiceJet are in the same range. GoAir's economy fare varies from Rs 3,339 to Rs 6,084 on Febraury 23 for Delhi to Mumbai, and SpiceJet's economy fares are Rs 3,343 and Rs 5,559 on that day. LCC market leader IndiGo's range varies from Rs 3,051 to Rs 5,428 per ticket.
23/01/15 Manu Kaushik/Business Today

Vistara cuts fare to counter rivals like Jet Airways and Air India

Mumbai: Vistara, Tata Sons' joint venture carrier with Singapore Airlines, has brought ticket price levels lower to lessen the gaps with rivals — in some cases even offering cheaper tickets than competitors — after price-sensitive Indian customers opted for discounts offered by Jet Airways and Air India.

The fares are almost half of what they were last week, data from travel portals and its own website showed.
 For instance, a Delhi-Mumbai ticket price booked for a flight a month in advance is Rs 5,481, compared to about Rs 10,700 last week. The price is lower than most rivals, including IndiGo.

The airline, however, hasn't announced any discounts or offers for the lean season starting end January and continuing till April.

"They are now at the levels of the others, barring some instances. Vistara isn't exactly undercutting anyone yet, nor is it playing the fare war," said an executive from Makemytrip, India's biggest online travel portal by sales. The airline is also at par or lower than rivals on spot fares.
23/01/15 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

Northeast blips on Delhi air plans

Guwahati/Agartala: The Northeast is poised to witness a major development in civil aviation with the Centre according top priority to the sector.

An Airport Authority of India (AAI) source told The Telegraph that the Narendra Modi government is taking steps to improve air connectivity in the region.

He said Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju would visit the region on January 28 and 29 to get a first-hand perspective of the hurdles in developing civil aviation in the Northeast.

The issue of connectivity in the region is a matter of concern since the road and rail network is not present at many places owing to difficult terrain, which has resulted in a lot of dependence on air travel.

The Union minister will also supervise the progress of work related to the development of civil aviation facilities in the Northeast. "The minister will inaugurate a new hanger and airport operations control centre (AOCC) at the LGBI Airport in Guwahati on January 28," he said.
23/01/15 Pankaj Sarma and Sekhar Datta/Telegraph

Jaipur airport geared up as alternative for Obama landing

Jaipur: Alternative arrangements for the landing of US President Barack Obama's plane will be in place at Sanganer airport here in case the plane is diverted due to bad weather or any other reason.

A team of security personnel arrived at the Airport on Thursday to review arrangements and held discussions with the airport officials. "There will be alternative arrangements for the landing of US President's in case of a diversion," a senior airport official said on Friday.

He informed that security personnel reached the airport in a plane to review the arrangements.
23/01/15 Daily News & Analysis

AI considers ordering Boeing 737-Max jet for fleet expansion

New Delhi: Air India was considering placing an order for Boeing Co 737-Max planes to expand its fleet, a person with direct knowledge of the plan said.

The planes won't replace the state-run carrier's current old-version 737s, instead would grow the airline's fleet, the person said, who asked not to be identified because plans are private. No final decision on the purchase has been taken yet, said the person, who didn't elaborate on the number of planes the carrier plans to order.

Boeing India spokeswoman Ashmita Sethi did not have an immediate comment to offer.

Indian carriers are expanding to take advantage of rising travel demand even as high fuel charges within the country and below-cost fares mean most of the airlines lose money. IndiGo, the nation's biggest airline by market share, ordered 250 A320neo single-aisle planes from Airbus Group NV in October, following the no-frills carrier's previous orders for 280 aircraft from the A320 family.

Air India also plans to lease 40 turboprop planes from France's Avions de Transport Regional GIE, which the carrier's regional unit Alliance Air will use to connect smaller cities, the person said. Air India has already placed an order for five turboprop planes, he said.
23/01/15 Bloomberg/Business Standard

Tougher DGCA rules on alcohol test, 12 Air India crew grounded

Mumbai: Twelve crew members of an Air India flight from London to Mumbai have been sent on compulsory leave for 15 days as punishment for not undergoing post-flight alcohol check implemented by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) recently.

As required under tougher rules for alcohol tests with effect from July 2014, the 12 crew members, including six air hostesses, failed to report for the post-flight breath analyser checks on their return to Mumbai from London last month. Not reporting for tests as per the modified rules is considered as being alcohol-positive.

Following a probe, DGCA concluded that the cabin crew had violated the rules laid down for breath analyser tests. In a letter issued by Maneesh Kumar, Director (air safety), DGCA, to Air India's chief of flight safety, the aviation regulator ordered the airline to keep the twelve cabin crew grounded.
24/01/15 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror

Over 5,000 people likely to attend Mopa EIA report hearing on Feb 1

Panaji: Following the reports that over 5,000 people would crowd at the February 1 public hearing on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) study report for the proposed International Greenfield Airport coming up at Mopa in Pernem taluka, the government has decided to beef up police presence at the particular site, to maintain law and order situation.

The public hearing exercise will be conducted by North Goa Collector Nila Mohanan at the site of the proposed airport. Earlier, the government had estimated a crowd of 3,000 people for the public hearing.

Chief Secretary Kewal Sharma recently convened a meeting to review the ongoing preparations for the event where reports revealing the possible large crowds at the public hearing were presented. The reports point out at large turnout of people from South Goa district, especially from Salcete and Mormugao talukas, which could itself touch the 3,000 mark.
24/01/15 Navhind Times

Only CM, governor may fly over West UP during Obama visit

Lucknow: US President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi and Agra during Republic Day celebration will turn almost whole of western UP a no-fly zone for non-scheduled aircraft and government choppers for a week beginning Friday.
The Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), issued by the Airport Authority of India (AAI), has imposed restriction for such aircraft and choppers flying within an aerial distance of 300 km from Delhi.

According to AAI sources, the restrictions will come into play from January 23 to January 29 on two time slots - 7 am to 12.30 pm and 2 pm to 6.30 pm. "No chartered or government aircraft and choppers will be allowed to fly within the radius of 300 km from Delhi," said a senior AAI official, quoting the NOTAM.  Sources, however, said that UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Governor Ram Naik would be exempted from the restriction. Government officials, including UP chief secretary, will not be allowed to take an aerial route to a major part of west UP districts.
23/01/15 Times of India

225 passengers of diverted London-Mumbai Air India flight return

Mumbai: The 225 passengers of Air India's city-bound flight from London, which was diverted to Budapest after an engine malfunction, returned on Friday, after a delay of over 13 hours.

The national carrier's London-Mumbai flight AI-130 departs from Heathrow airport at 1330 hours (local time) and arrives at the airport here at 0400 hours.

The flight AI-130-D arrived here from Liszt Ferenc International Airport, Budapest at 1702 hours with all 225 passengers, an Air India spokesperson said.

The London flight, which took off from Heathrow Airport at its scheduled time of 1330 hours (1900 hours Indian time) was diverted to the Hungarian capital after one of the aircraft's engine reported a malfunction.

The plane, a Boeing 787-800 with all the passengers on board, however, landed safely at the Budapest airport at 1752 hours (local time), the airline had said.
23/01/15 ZeeNews

SpiceJet dilemma will test global aircraft investments rules

Dublin:  India faces growing pressure over financial uncertainty at budget carrier SpiceJet after leasing company BOC Aviation demanded the return of three leased aircraft, in what is seen as a test of global rules on aircraft investments.

The leasing arm of Bank of China warned in an interview that India's fast-growing airline industry could struggle to attract funds unless India upholds a pact designed to protect the owners of leased jets, widely used across the world.

"SpiceJet is a very frustrating situation," Chief Executive Robert Martin told Reuters.

"Obviously when we lease planes we like people to pay us. And if they don't pay us, then generally the way an operating lessor reacts is by moving its planes to somewhere else in the world."

BOC Aviation said it had asked for three Boeing 737s to removed from the Indian register, a step towards repossession.

The Singapore firm is among half a dozen lessors with exposure to SpiceJet, which is trying to finalise a new shareholder structure and cash lifeline.
23/01/15 Reuters/Business Standard

Delhi no-fly zone on Republic Day, flights affected

Lucknow: light operation of as many as two scheduled flights from Delhi to Lucknow is set to be affected on January 23 and January 26 following Centre's decision to declare Delhi a no-fly zone because of US president Barack Obama's visit during Republic Day celebration.

According to the Notice to Airmen ( NOTAM) issued by the Airport Authority of India (AAI), there will be no flight movement from Delhi between 10.45am and 12.15pm on Friday and Monday (Republic Day). Therefore, no flight will be allowed to fly in or out of Delhi during this period.

The Air India flight AI 431 flies from Delhi at 12.10pm and reaches Lucknow at 1.15pm. This flight will now take off from Delhi at 12.15 pm and reach Lucknow airport at 1.20pm. The impact will be bigger on Indigo flight that flies from Delhi at 11.40am and reaches Lucknow airport at 12.45pm. This flight, therefore, will have to wait for more than half an hour at Delhi before flying at 12.15pm. It would reach Lucknow at 1.20pm.
23/01/15 Times of India

NBCC to develop Air India’s surplus land assets

A number of properties belonging to debt-ridden Air India will soon be developed by National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) in a bid to help the airline monetise its surplus land assets. The properties include — a 3.54 acre land parcel at Baba Kharak Singh Marg in New Delhi, a 1.3 acre commercial plot in Anna Salai in Chennai and a 3 lakh sq ft office space in the Air India Building at Nariman Point in Mumbai.

The airline has been under financial stress for several years now and has been looking for options to reduce its debt. It’s outstanding debt and working capital loans stood at Rs 26,033 crore and over Rs 21,125 crore respectively as on December 31, 2013.

Within the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Air India in 2014, National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), a state-owned real estate developer, will develop the properties owned by the carrier and will either share profits on the development or charge a fee for the same.
23/01/15  Sandeep Singh/Indian Express

Vistara to launch Hyderabad, Goa flights by March

New Delhi: A fortnight after launching operations, full-service carrier Vistara, a joint venture between the Tatas and Singapore Airlines, has announced addition of two more destinations — Hyderabad and Goa — from February 20 and March 1, respectively. Bookings for two daily flights to Hyderabad and one to Goa will open on Friday night. The airline has also said it will increase its weekly frequency from 68 to 164 by March.

The airline, which currently operates three daily flights to Mumbai and one to Ahmedabad, from its base in New Delhi, will add two more flights to Mumbai and one to Ahmedabad.

Vistara Chief Executive Phee Teik Yeoh said: “Both Hyderabad and Goa offer huge potential in terms of passenger traffic. With the introduction of our new flights, we are in a strong position to enhance domestic air connectivity and provide seamless and personalised Vistara experience to more customers in India.”
24/01/15 Business Standard

VIP pain for passengers

Fliers had a harrowing time at Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport on Friday because of double "VIP movement".

First, the workers' meet hosted by the BJP at the Veterinary College grounds near the airport, which the party's national president, Amit Shah, addressed. Second, the movement of the chief minister's cavalcade.

Hundreds of vehicles carrying BJP workers from across the state left Shaheed Peer Ali Marg or the airport road chock-a-block almost throughout the day. The closure of both the airport entry gates for around half-an-hour around 2pm for smooth sail of the chief minister to the Assembly from the airport worsened the snarl.

Fallout: several fliers were forced to disembark from their vehicles at the entrance gate of the airport and walk up to the terminal building with their luggage.

Generally, vehicles are allowed up to the terminal building. But Friday's measure compelled passengers to walk for more than half-a-km for reaching there. The worst sufferers were those travelling with old and ailing people and children.
23/01/15 Telegraph

Aero India 2015: Flights at KIA to be Rescheduled

Bengaluru: Flight operations at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) will be affected between February 10 and 22 owing to restrictions on air space due to Aero India 2015.

The Air Force station, Yelahanka, will host the biennial air show from February 18 to 22.

Aircraft operations would be stopped between 12.30 pm to 3 pm (from February 10 to 16) as participants will be practicing at the Air Force Station, stated a release issued by the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) on Thursday.

On the first day of the show (February 18), aircraft operations at KIA would be stopped from 9 am to 12 noon and again from 2 pm to 3 pm. From February 19 to 22, aircraft operations would be stopped from 10 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 5 pm.
23/01/15 New Indian Express

Raju to take personal charge of NE airport development

New Delhi: In line with the NDA government’s plan to increase the pace of infrastructure development in the north-eastern states, civil aviation minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju has decided to visit Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on a two-day tour starting January 29.

The focus will be to speed up airport development and improve air connectivity in a region considered extremely sensitive both because of its international borders with China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and also towards internal security issues.

The move follows directions issued to several ministers by Jitendra Singh, who holds multiple ministerial positions including Minister of State (MoS), Prime Minister’s Office, and MoS (Independent Charge) at the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.

In a letter issued earlier this month and seen by Business Standard, Singh has said that every North-East (NE) State will have a visit of a Union Minister in 15 days. These visits may not be confined to State capitals, but spread over “sub-regions” of the State, districts and sub-divisions where development projects are under implementation.
23/01/15 Roudra Bhattacharya/Business Standard

Navigational aid problem; 5 flights, diverted from Chowdhury Charan Singh Airport

Lucknow: Five flights, one international and four domestic, were today diverted from Chowdhury Charan Singh (CCS) Airport here due to problem in navigational aid.

"Due to some problem in navigational aid, five flights were diverted from airport here. The problem started at 12 noon and was rectified by 3 PM," Director, CCS Airport, SC Hota told PTI.
23/01/15 Economic Times

Mahesh Sharma assures tourism, airline industries to address their concerns

New Delhi: Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma has said that the coordination between tourism and airlines industries is crucial for promoting tourism in the country.
He said the Government believes in bringing all stakeholders together to discuss how the air transport industry can best contribute to the development of tourism.

He was speaking at an "Interaction between Tourism and Airlines" organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with Federation of Association in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) here on Friday.

The Minister informed that the Government has set up an agenda of 25 actionable points for the year 2015 to promote tourism.

Sharma said that the implementation of Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) enabled Visa on Arrival, for 43 countries, is showing excellent results and the Government is hopeful that this facility will be extended to all remaining countries in the near future.
23/01/15 New Kerala

Delhi HC provides relief to DIAL on charges from airlines

The Delhi HC has provided relief to the Delhi International Airport (DIAL) from downward revision of tariffs that it charges from airlines. This relief has been extended for 3 months, even as various airlines continue to argue for lowering of tariffs. Between 2009 and 2014 the airports regulator era had fixed tariffs and had seen an increase of 346 percent. Post 2014 these tariffs were due for revision. The Delhi high court had been moved by the DIAL seeking a stay on various tariffs, on various questions of law and fact and the High Court has granted an extension of the first round of fares between 2009 and 2014. A three-month window has been granted to DIAL to continue charging these additional fares of 2009 and 2014.
23/01/15  Ashmit Kumar/CNBC-TV18/moneycontrol

Flights diverted after ATC snag

Lucknow:  Flight operations at Lucknow airport went for a toss for more than three hours on Friday afternoon after a crucial navigation equipment at the Air Traffic Control (ATC) developed a snag. As many as five flights from various destinations like Bangalore and Mumbai were diverted to other destinations like Varanasi, Delhi and Nagpur.

According to reports, the equipment, Doppler VHF Omni Range (DVOR) went dysfunctional at around 12 noon. The failure of the equipment— that radiates very high frequency rays to guide the approaching aircraft about its position in terms of degrees— halted flight operations. Sources said that a team of engineers was pressed into service and it managed to correct the system only around 4 pm.

The snag, however, led to diversion of flights. Two Go Air flights— one from Mumbai and the other from Bangalore, were diverted to Varanasi airport. Likewise, a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai was diverted to Nagpur. An international flight of Oman Airlines from Muscat was sent to Delhi. A private carrier from Delhi, which arrived at around 3 pm, too, was sent back.
23/01/15 Times of India

Jet privilege appoints Vizeum for its media duties

Vizeum India, a Dentsu Aegis Network company, has been appointed as the media AoR for Jet Privilege, a specialized loyalty and rewards management company which is a joint venture between Jet Airways and Etihad Airways.

S Yesudas, Managing Director Indian Subcontinent, Vizeum, said, “It is an absolute honour for us to be working with a fast growing company like JetPrivilege. Vizeum is an experience-to-believe-it agency. Our DNA is to delight our clients. The JPPL-Vizeum relationship is not limited to the core deliverables of a media agency. We are eager to add a lot more value to the overall business of the client.”
22/01/15 Bollywood Helpline

Ex-MP quizzed after five bullets found in baggage

Chennai:  Immigration officials at Chennai airport early on Thursday questioned former Congress Member of Parliament J M Haroon for the possession of five live bullets in his baggage. He was later allowed to go after he submitted his firearm licence.

Haroon, who represented Periyakulam constituency from 2004 to 2009 and Theni from 2009 to 2014, was going to board a flight to Bengaluru around 6am when officials found the bullets while examining his hand baggage.

The immigration officials immediately handed over the baggage to Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officers. Haroon told security officials that he had a valid firearm licence and that the bullets were placed in his baggage by mistake. Soon, as per the instructions of the officials, his family members rushed to the airport with his original firearm licence document.
23/01/15 Times of India

Laxity in services: Panel directs Jet Airways to compensate consumer

Indore: After a battle of nearly two years, District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed Jet Airways (India) Ltd to compensate a passenger for providing poor services.

Ravindra Singh Chhabra, a 42-year-old businessman, and a resident of South Tukoganj, had to take a Jet Airways flight from Delhi to Chhatarpur via Khajuraho, to attend a court hearing on February 3, 2013.

When the businessman reached the airport, to his dismay, officials informed him that the Khujaraho-bound flight was over-booked and that they could not allow more passengers in. Despite Chhabra's request to allow him board the flight, authorities turned a deaf ear to his plight. They provided him with a boarding pass at 10.30 am of the same flight, but told him that the check-in counter was closed and he had to carry his luggage as hand baggage.
23/01/15 Pallavi Nair/Times of India

SA woman held with contraband at RGI airport in Hyderabad

Hyderabad:  A South African woman was caught reportedly in possession of ephedrine by security officials at RGI Airport on Wednesday.

Airport sources said that Ranlida, 30, who was heading to South Africa, was nabbed after 20kg of ephedrine was found in her luggage during screening.

While it was not clear if she was apprehended in an operation by Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) or the Director of Revenue Intelligence, airport officials confirmed the development on Wednesday night.

In another instance, an air passenger who landed at RGI Airport from Muscat was nabbed by customs officials for trying to smuggle in 500 grams of gold hidden in a shoe.
23/01/15 Times of India

Air India crewmember arrested by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence

Mumbai: Two gold smugglers — who missed their Air India flight from Dubai and were thus unable to liaison with their accomplice in the airline’s flight crew to sneak out the yellow metal — were caught at the Mumbai airport after they decided to go ahead with the plan and tried smuggling it out themselves. Their Air India accomplice was also subsequently held after they revealed his involvement in the interrogation, along with the mastermind who was waiting outside the airport to receive the gold worth Rs 1.76 crore.

According to officials in the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), they had received a tip-off about the smuggling attempt and reached the airport to intercept them. At around the same time in Dubai, the two carriers, Piyush Jasraj Soni and Sakina Barafwala, missed their midnight Air India flight from Dubai, but decided to go ahead with the plan. The flight is believed to have been AI 981, but officials could not confirm this fact.

“They landed at Mumbai airport at around 4:30 am on Thursday from Oman Airways flight WY201 and were held while trying to cross the green channel,” said an official from the DRI. The flight had originated from Muscat and the two seem to have hurriedly travelled there to take the next available flight. Upon searching, 6.8 kg of gold worth Rs 1.76 crore was recovered from the two.
23/01/15 Parth Satam/Asian Age

6.8-kg gold seized from Air India cabin crew

Mumbai: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has detained four persons, including an Air India cabin crew member, at Mumbai International Airport for gold smuggling, in the wee hours on Thursday. DRI feels that smugglers are increasingly opting for safe arrangements, like using crew members or contract staff at the airport to get rid out from security checking.

Mumbai-based Siddesh Patil has been an operating cabin crew on contract of Air India 985/986 of January 21 and 22. Siddesh and three other persons were apprehended by officials of DRI in connection with exchanging crude gold jewellery and pieces from one lady passenger who arrived by Oman Air flight to Mumbai.

DRI seized the smuggled gold having total weight of 6.8 kg with valuation approximately Rs 2 crore. According to DRI sources, among four of them, one purchased gold in the UAE, he handed over to a lady passenger who was also a carrier. She landed on Mumbai Airport with the gold and handed over to Air India crew member - who took it out of Airport and handed over to the receiver waiting outside the Airport.

"Because of having a special staff privilege, Siddesh was able to take this gold out concealed in his bag," DRI source said.
23/01/15 Shrimi Choudhary/Daily News & Analysis

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Vistara rivals cry foul as govt proposes concession

Domestic private airlines, including IndiGo and GoAir, are crying foul over the government’s proposed move to replace the existing overseas flying rule, also called 5/20, for start-up carriers with a new method based on domestic flying credits (DFCs).

The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), an industry body of private airlines with IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir as its members, has said the government move was intended to accommodate only one private carrier (read Tata-SIA joint venture Vistara) at the cost of entire aviation industry.

While the present rule requires an airline to serve the domestic market for five years and have a minimum fleet size of 20 aircraft for qualifying to launch international operations, the new formula enables an airline with five airplanes of A320 size to start overseas flights in the very first year of operations by earning 200 crore DFCs.

As per the suggested formula, an airline would be earning more flying credits by operating to far-flung and distant destinations in hilly areas and the North East region.
22/01/15 Nirbhay Kumar/Mydigitalfc

Vistara to start flights to south, north-east India

New Delhi: Tata Sons’ start-up airline Vistara will start flights to south and north-east India over the next few weeks as part of the airline’s second phase of expansion. Vistara, launched in partnership with Singapore Airlines Ltd, started commercial operations on 9 January, with its inaugural flight between Delhi and Mumbai, and has got clearance from the aviation regulatory authority Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to expand further. Vistara, which operates three aircraft, will expand to six by April.
It has been cleared to launch flights to Goa, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune and Guwahati, according to a person with knowledge of the subject. The person declined to be named. Most of these flights will be launched from its hub in Delhi. It already connects Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Most of this expansion will start after 15 February when the fog season restrictions will be lifted.
“Delhi-Mumbai flights will be increased from three to five both ways and there will be an additional Mumbai-Ahmedabad flight,” said a Vistara spokesperson without giving details on the new routes.
The Tata airline is also likely to fly to Bagdogra in West Bengal for which DGCA clearances have been secured. An announcement is likely to be made by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee soon, according to a second person aware of the situation who also declined to be named. Vistara’s spokesperson confirmed it “is looking at Bagdogra” but declined to say when the airline will start flights. 
22/01/15 Nagaland Post

Two passengers shove AI employee, injuring her

Ahmedabad: The behaviour of unruly passengers is a cause of concern for most airlines in the country. In a shocking incident, two foreign guests of a leading corporate house from the state, who were in a hurry to catch their flight to Delhi, misbehaved, pushed and injured an Air India ground staffer. The men, who had come to the city to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, were stopped from boarding their flight. They were allowed to leave after the company's representatives intervened and the men submitted a letter of apology. The incident took place last Friday.

Twenty-seven-year-old Aditi Patel (name changed) was serving as Air India's ground staff. "Two foreign passengers came rushing to the international airport and tried to bypass the airline counter where Aditi was checking everyone's boarding passes. Instead of showing their documents to Aditi, the duo — who was running late — tried to rush to the runway to board the aircraft," said an airport source who witnessed the incident. The source further said, "Aditi stopped them for their boarding passes but they refused to pay heed to her. They shoved her and Aditi fell and injured her left leg.

She was taken to a nearby cabin even as other staff members detained the ill-mannered passengers. She was in tears as she recollected the incident to Air India officials. "The passengers created a lot of ruckus for not being allowed to board the plane. They were the guests of a leading corporate house here and had come to attend the Vibrant Gujarat summit. They finally called someone from the company who came here and pacified Air India officials and the injured girl." The matter was referred to Sardarnagar police station but the girl refused to file a complaint.
22/01/15 Hemington James/Ahmedabad Mirror

Getting ready for Obama: India agrees to no fly zone, high rise buildings to be shut

Security agencies of India are bracing for one of its biggest challenges when US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi share the dais this Republic Day.

New Delhi will be a sealed fortress on 26 January. Not just on the ground, the security arrangements even in air on Republic Day will be like 'never seen before'.
Here are some of the security arrangements that have been planned for Republic Day:

A no-fly zone around Rajpath and nearby areas will be imposed on 26 January. Apart from the unprecedented ground-to-air security drill during his visit on Republic Day, American authorities had earlier demanded a no-fly zone around Rajpath. After rejecting the demand earlier, Indian authorities gave in on Tuesday. No drones will be used, as had been suggested by American security agencies.

No plane will be be allowed within a radius of 400 kms of the venue of Rajpath as against 300 kms on earlier occasions. This means airports adjoining Delhi like Jaipur, Agra and as far as Lucknow or Amritsar may not operate flights when the function will be on in the national capital.

Sticking to past practice, no plane will land or take off at the Indira Gandhi International Airport during the time when Republic Day will be on at Rajpath.

Earlier, US authorities had demanded a 5-km-radius no-fly zone imposed around Rajpath which would have led to the traditional fly past being cancelled. A request that the Indian military authorities shot down saying that it lasted only for around 10 minutes. Even on Wednesday as Indian officials agreed to a no fly-zone, they made sure the fly past was not cancelled.
22/01/15 First Post

Fog in Delhi could force Obama to land in Mumbai

Mumbai: In an unlikely event of US President Barack Obama's Air Force One not able to land in Delhi due to fog, the Mumbai International Airport is being readied as an alternative venue for the VVIP visit on Sunday. Obama is scheduled to be the chief guest at the January 26 Republic Day celebrations in Delhi.

Acontingency plan for a 'fall back' airport had to be taken since the Air Force One is expected to touch down sometime early Sunday. "Though the aircraft is equipped to land in almost zero visibility conditions, operations at Delhi airport have to be suspended if runway visibility drops below 50 mt. This will necessitate an alternate destination where there is no fog and this is where Mumbai comes into picture," a senior official said.

Not wanting to take any chances, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has stopped issuing temporary entry passes to the airport till January 26. These passes are used by people who need to enter the airport for official purposes, the duration of which is time bound.

While in India, Obama's plane will not be allotted a special air route. "We will ensure that the plane lands safely and without any problem. It does not require special airspace closure. When the US President is flying out of the country, that's when we may have to hold other air traffic," a senior official in the Civil Aviation Ministry said.
22/01/15 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror

Air Space Around Rajpath to Be Monitored on R-Day

For the first time, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) are likely to be deployed here on the Republic Day for vigil from the skies during the parade where US President Barack Obama will be the Chief Guest.

The AWACS will monitor air space on and around Rajpath where the parade will be witnessed by Obama along with President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other dignitaries.

Noting that it will be for the time that AWACS would be deployed for the Republic Day, official sources said the step is being taken in view of the heightened threat perception and apprehensions of aerial attack by terrorists.

The sources said the decision to deploy AWACS was taken at the request of the Americans who wanted India to tighten air space in Delhi when Obama is exposed during the Republic Day celebrations.

The AWAC detects incoming cruise missiles and aircraft from over 400-km away in all-weather conditions, and direction of air defence fighters besides picking up any low flying object which go undetected by normal radars.
21/01/15 Outlook

Delhi airspace closed for 90 mins for 7 days

New Delhi: Delhi airspace will remain closed for commercial airlines for one and half hours daily for seven days beginning on January 19, allowing the armed forces to hone their flying skills for the Republic Day flypast that would be watched by US President Barak Obama.

The Director General of Civil Aviation issued a NOTAM (notice to airmen) on January 15, specifying the dates and time when take-off and landing would not be permitted at the Indira Gandhi international airport in Delhi.

The airspace will not be available for commercial flights between 10:45 am to 12:15 pm for six consecutive days between January 19 and 24 as well as on January 26. There is no restriction for January 25 and there would not be any flight disruption.

Since the NOTAM was available to everybody in the aviation industry and air traffic controllers well in advance, the commercial airlines should have already adjusted their flight schedules to prevent inconvenience to common passengers, said an Indian Air Force official, insisting that it was a standard practice that happens every year. However, unlike previous years, the duration of flight restriction is almost double this time.
22/01/15 Deccan Herald

SpiceJet’s Boeing fleet will increase to 26 from 19

New Delhi: Cash-strapped airline SpiceJet’s Boeing 737 fleet will be increased to 26 from 19 as soon as the new promoters take control, a senior official of the Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Wednesday. Late last year, the airline had a fleet of 35 Boeing 737 aircraft which allowed it to operate 345 daily flights. But a cash crunch forced the airline to return some Boeing 737s to leasing companies, a move which saw its daily flights decline to 230.

On January 15, to overcome the cash crunch problem, the SpiceJet board decided to transfer ownership, management and control of the airline to former promoter Ajay Singh, as proposed by principal shareholder and promoter, Kalanithi Maran and KAL Airways.

Before the board proposal transferring ownership, management and control of the airline to Singh it was controlled by billionaire Kalanithi Maran’s Sun Group.
21/01/15 Business Line

SpiceJet Gets Relief as DGCS Permits for Advance Bookings

New Delhi: In a big relief to the budget carrier SpiceJet, aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed the airline to accept advance bookings beyond March 31.          

The DGCA had earlier restricted SpiceJet to take advance bookings only up to March 31, following financial crisis in the airline, which led to cancellation of its flights in large number and curtail operations in a significant manner.          

"SpiceJet is pleased to announce that bookings for its flights are now open for its summer schedule," SpiceJet said in a statement. The summer schedule of the airlines in India commences from March 29 and lasts up to October end.

"SpiceJet thanks its customers, employees, partners, and suppliers for their support as it continues on its re-structuring and turnaround plan," it said.      
22/01/15 PTI/New Indian Express

All private airlines except SpiceJet to post profit in Q3 : CAPA

Mumbai: The Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation (Capa) expects SpiceJet to post a loss of Rs 240-300 crore, excluding one-offs, for the December quarter, while rival Jet Airways is expected to post a Rs 120-180 crore profit in this quarter.

With the help of declining fuel prices, GoAir and IndiGo are expected to register profits, too.

“Overall, the quarter was a very positive and stable one,” Capa said in its result estimates. It, however, dropped a word of caution, saying discount pricing in the March quarter could contribute to negative results and affect overall financial results for 2014-15.

Capa said domestic airlines would induct 12 planes in the March quarter and 30 more planes in 2016.

In a revised outlook for 2014-15 earlier this week, it said India’s beleaguered aviation industry was starting to see some signs that could possibly mark the beginning of a structural turnaround in fortunes. It added the sharp decline in fuel prices was a major source of relief in a market, where aviation turbine fuel was subject to some of the highest taxes in the world.

Other key contributors to the more positive outlook include an improving economic environment, and recent actions by the civil aviation ministry which suggest it is seeking to create a more enabling environment for the industry.
22/01/15 Business Standard

DGCA lifts curb on advance bookings, Centre clears SpiceJet plan

New Delhi: In a major relief to the budget carrier SpiceJet, DGCA on Thursday allowed the airline to accept advance bookings beyond March 31 even as the government gave initial nod to its revival plan, which has now been referred to market regulator Sebi to examine whether the funding by the new promoters requires open offer.

The airline's Chief Operating Officer Sanjiv Kapoor said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation's decision would "aid cash flow and the revival process". DGCA had earlier restricted SpiceJet to take advance bookings only up to March 31, following financial crisis in the airline, which led to cancellation of its flights in large numbers and curtailment of operations.
22/01/15 PTI/IBN Live

Current airport tariffs to continue till AERAAT decision: HC

New Delhi: The current aeronautical charges for the IGI Airport here would remain in force till the pleas challenging them are decided by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal (AERAAT), Delhi High Court ruled today.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also directed the Civil Aviation Ministry to select and finalise the Chairperson and other members of the tribunal within four weeks.

The tribunal (AERAAT) was also directed to decide within eight weeks, the pleas before it challenging the aeronautical tariffs for the April 2009-March 2014 period.

The court passed the order on the plea of GMR-operated Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) which has challenged the high court's single judge's decision allowing Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) to fix new tariff for the period from 2014 to 2019 even when the dispute against the earlier one was pending before AERAAT.
22/01/15 PTI/Business Standard

After AAI rebuke, SpiceJet makes daily part-payments

New Delhi: Troubled low-cost carrier SpiceJet has since Tuesday started clearing part of its operational costs to state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI), on a daily basis. The move follows a warning that AAI might stop the credit facility extended to the airline, if its liabilities rose further.

AAI had said the airline, awaiting Rs 1,500 crore of funds from new investors led by founder-promoter Ajay Singh by March, would be put on cash-and-carry if regular payments were not made. The warning had come after SpiceJet’s dues to AAI (including interest at 12 per cent) exceeded Rs 300 crore this month — from Rs 230 crore in early December last year. The total amount was much higher than the airline’s bank guarantees of Rs 82 crore (Rs 30 crore of which was recently renewed), civil aviation ministry sources told Business Standard.

“SpiceJet’s credit facility with AAI has been extended to January 27, on the assurance that the part payments will continue. If that stops, we will put it on cash-and-carry. Its previous payment was of Rs 5 crore in December. It has now assured us that it is getting new investments, so we are giving it time to clear its dues,” an official said.

After a few days of gains, the SpiceJet shares on Wednesday declined 8.3 per cent from their provious close on BSE to end at Rs 21.10 apiece.
22/01/15 Roudra Bhattacharya/Business Standard

Subramanian Swamy tells Supreme Court, govt has given him documents on Jet-Etihad deal

New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today told Supreme Court that the government has furnished him copies of letters concerning Jet-Etihad deal, allegedly written by Indian officials favouring grant of additional air traffic rights to the UAE airline.

“Government has complied with my request to provide me copies of the letters written for the favourable consideration of the request of Abu Dhabi for additional capacity allocation,” Swamy told a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu.

Taking note of his submission, the bench, which also comprised justices A K Sikri and Arun Mishra, asked the BJP leader to file a rejoinder within eight weeks on the contents of the documents.

Swamy had sought direction from the apex court to furnish copies of certain letters which, in his opinion, were essential for adjudication of the petition.

Government supplied him with letters, including one written by then Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to Chairman of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on April 5, 2013.

He was also given an April 9, 2013, letter of then External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to the UAE Foreign Minister and two letters dated April 15 and 21, 2013, written by M K Lokesh, who was then Indian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, to the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
21/01/15 PTI/Financial Express

Obama in India: Federal Aviation Authority gives nod for upgrading Indian Aviation to category I

New Delhi: The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has expedited the process of upgrading India's aviation sector to category I from II in view of US President Barack Obama's state visit to India as chief guest for this year's Republic Day celebrations.

The FAA, which met the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last week, has said that the US regulator would be working faster to ensure that the Indian aviation sector gets upgraded as early as possible.

"An FAA representative, based in New Delhi, have indicated to us that the team from FAA will be visiting India for the final consultations during the middle of February. We should be able to get our Category I status back as soon as consultations get over," said a DGCA official, who did not wish to be identified.

The earlier plan was to upgrade India by March this year. The official said the fact that FAA wants to start the consultative meeting in February is a good enough an indication that the US regulator is expediting the process.
22/01/15 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Jet cuts roster off days by half; union opposes move

To cope with a pilot shortage that has led to several flight delays in recent months, full-service carrier Jet Airways on Tuesday issued a directive to cut roster offs by half for all pilots flying Boeing B737 and ATR aircraft. However, the  National Aviator’s Guild, has told the management such a decision should have be made only after due consultations.

According to the letter, seen by Business Standard, the new rule is effective between February 1 and June 30 this year. As of now, pilots get a two-day break after every six days of duty.

“As you are aware, our fleet today is faced with the challenging task of enhancing the productivity of our pilots. The following steps are being taken with effect from February 1 until June 30,” the letter said. “The roster will be planned with six days on and a day off. No pilot requested flights for the given period. The procedure will be re-evaluated prior to June 31.”

Responding to emailed queries, a Jet Airways spokesperson said, “Jet Airways is focused on optimum utilisation of its resources to improve efficiency for the benefit of all stakeholders. With this in mind, we continuously review our operating procedures, while maintaining strict compliance with regulatory requirements.”
22/01/15 Roudra Bhattachary/Business Standard

AI to Sell Assets to Prune Rs40k crore Debt; SpiceJet Receives Initial Approval for Revival, Shares Jump

The Indian civil aviation industry has finally found some tailwind.
While SpiceJet on Wednesday received necessary approvals from the civil aviation ministry to continue operating under the new management led by Ajay Singh, Air India has decided to sell some of its real-estate to reduce debt.
The state-run carrier has decided to sell real-estate assets to bring down its outstanding debt, estimated at Rs40,000 crore.

Interest payments on loans taken for buying aircraft stood at Rs3,800 crore. Losses suffered for the previous year amount to Rs36,000 crore.

Ever since the 2007 merger with Indian Airlines, Air India has never turned a profit. AI flies a combined fleet of both Boeing and Airbus planes, considered neither efficient nor an industry practice.

Filing for major orders in 2005 and 2006 has seen its debt grow disproportionate to its scale of operations, and today it has one of the most-skewed staff-to-aircraft ratio.

Currently, AI's fleet stands at 108 planes, comprising Boeing and Airbus planes, with about 23,500 employees on the rolls.
22/01/15  Kuganandhan Paramanandan/International Business Times

Mumbai-bound AI plane from London diverted to Budapest

New Delhi: A Mumbai-bound Air India flight from London was diverted to Budapest in Hungary tonight following a technical snag.

The flight landed at Budapest Airport safely and the passengers have been taken care of, an Air India spokesperson told PTI here.

The AI plane took off from London at its scheduled time 1330 hrs (1900 hrs IST) and landed safely in Budapest at 1752 hrs local time (1022 hrs IST), he said.

According to sources, the flight, AI-130 from London to Mumbai, was diverted to Budapest due to technical problem in one of the engines.

Air India is making all arrangements to fly the stranded passengers safely to Mumbai as soon as possible, the spokesperson said.
22/01/15 PTI/Business Standard

KIA closures for Aero India

Bengaluru: Flight operations at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) will be suspended during air display hours at the forthcoming Aero India aerospace exposition scheduled to be held at the Yelahanka Air Force Station from February 18 to 22.

KIA officials said airlines with scheduled aircraft operations that will be impacted during this period have already received communication on the reduced operating hours. “Passenger convenience will be ensured with the respective airlines sharing timely communication on the change in airport operations and the cancelled/revised flight timings during the length of the 2015 Aero India show,” a KIA statement said.
22/01.15 Deccan Herald

International flights from Mohali airport soon

Chandigarh: International flights at the upcoming Mohali international airport will take off by August-end. The Rs 475 crore airport (minus land cost) is likely to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources in the Punjab government said.

Air India, Indigo and Spicejet have secured permission for operating flights between Chandigarh and Dubai and Chandigarh and Sharjah. “Air Arabia has also applied for permission to operate flights from Chandigarh to Sharjah. The issue of night operations is almost sorted out,” said Viswajeet Khanna, Principal Secretary, Civil Aviation, Punjab.

“Everything is going as per the schedule and 86 per cent work on the new airport terminal building has been completed. We will hand it over to our testing unit by the end of June,” said DK Kamra, General Manager, Airport Authority of India (AAI).
22/01/15 The Tribune

Fare war pushes up traffic at Chennai airport

Chennai:  The fare war initiated by SpiceJet may have landed the airline in trouble, but it has proved to be a blessing for Chennai airport which has recorded a 13.1% increase in domestic passenger traffic till November 2014.

The growth is considered a positive trend for the airport which had experienced a sluggish growth in domestic passenger traffic in previous years. The number of domestic passengers dipped by 4.6% in 2012-13 and increased by 2.3% in 2013-14.

Frequent flash sales announced by airlines throughout the year, low fares from other cities to Chennai, convenient connections to international and domestic destinations and the revival of business travel are considered the reasons for the jump in domestic passenger movement in 2014.
22/01/15 Times of India

Indian Air Power at Risk as Rafale Warplane Deal Delayed

India’s purchase of 126 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault Aviation SA (AM) is being delayed, even as the South Asian nation struggles for enough squadrons to counter potential threats from China and Pakistan.

The sticking points are the 2007 tender’s $11 billion price tag and India’s requirement for quality guarantees from Dassault for planes made under license locally by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., three officials with knowledge of the matter said. They asked not to be identified as the talks are private. India had aimed to sign the contract by the end of last year.

The air force estimates at least 45 squadrons are needed to repel a joint attack from Pakistan and China, compared with a current active strength of 25, which includes 14 squadrons whose MiG-21 and MiG-27 jets are due to be taken out of service starting this year. That shows the deal’s importance for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda of military modernization. For Dassault, a sale would be its first export of the combat plane.
22/01/15  N.C. Bipindra/Bloomberg Business Week

AI seeks financing for more aircraft

In its bid to increase its fleet strength, flag carrier Air India has sought offers from banks and financial institutions to arrange bridge financing of up to $330 million.

Air India needs interim bridge financing for a period ranging between 12-18 months to accept delivery of the three Boeing 787-8 aircraft, the airline said in a tender document.

The bridge loan facility will be repaid on conclusion of a sale and lease back arrangement, the airline said, adding that it would prefer to have a bullet repayment for this facility or a suitable moratorium period for repayment of principal amount under this facility.
22/01/15 Deccan Herald

Discount Sales 'Right Thing' to Stimulate Demand: SpiceJet

New Delhi: Crisis-hit SpiceJet on Wednesday said selling tickets at low rates is the "right thing to do" provided it is done in the "right way".

Mr Kapoor's remark comes against the backdrop of all major airlines, including national carrier Air India and private airline Jet Airways, lowering their fares significantly to "stimulate demand" during the lean March quarter.

"Good to see other Indian carriers have sales to stimulate demand. We took heat for it. But was and is the right thing to do, if done right!" SpiceJet chief operating officer Sanjiv Kapoor tweeted.
 SpiceJet, which was the first carrier to lower fares last January and then continued it frequently, had come under severe criticism both from the domestic carriers as well as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for such a move.
21/01/15 PTI/NDTV

Russia and India Defence Ministries to cooperate in air safety

On Wednesday, the Defence Ministries of Russia and India signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of aviation safety in New Delhi. 

Major-General Alexander Berzan, the Chief of Aviation Safety in the Russian Armed Forces, signed the document from the Russian side. The agreement was signed in the presence of defence ministers of Russia and India – Sergey Shoigu and Manohar Parrikar.

The Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov explained that the agreement is based on the provisions of the declaration of strategic partnership between Russia and India signed on October 5, 2000.

He noted that this agreement defines the procedure for the mutual exchange of information on facts and causes of accidents and incidents related to the operation of the specific types of aircraft. Here the two sides also spelled out the principles of mutual assistance in the investigation of accidents and incidents, as well as monitoring compliance with safety requirements during joint bilateral exercises.
21/01/15 Russia & India Report

Continue with existing norms on international ops: FIA

New Delhi: FIA, an umbrella organisation of Indian air carriers, today strongly favoured continuation of the existing norms for domestic airlines wanting to fly abroad even as Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said that no decision was taken on the issue.

The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which filed its response to the new proposed norms on international operations, said that the existing rules, which make it mandatory for local airlines to first operate within the country for five year and also maintain 20 planes in its fleet, serve "national interest" and play an important part in the "socio-economic development" of the country.

"...It is, therefore, strongly recommended that the current regime of 5/20 (rule) and Route Dispersal Guideline (RDG) be continued with minimal changes as recommended (by the FIA) for servicing the national interest," the Federation said in its response submitted to the Civil Aviation Ministry.
 As per the new proposed policy, an airline will be allowed to go overseas if it has accrued two billion domestic flying credits (DFCs), has five planes in the fleet and an accident- free, one-year record.
National carrier Air India, private carriers Jet Airways, GoAir, IndiGo and SpiceJet are the FIA members. However, new entrants Vistara, which launched its operations early this month, and AirAsia India, which launched its services in the country last June, are still not part of the umbrella body.
22/01/15 PTI/India Times

Pawan Hans needs to provide better connectivity in North-East, islands

New Delhi: The government today stressed on the need to increase the services of state-run helicopter operator Pawan Hans especially in north-east and inter-island regions for better air connectivity and give a boost to tourism.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma today reviewed the performance of Pawan Hans.
 The minister during the review meeting, discussed the future business strategies of the company to promote regional connectivity, specifically in north-east region and inter island, an official release said.

There is need to develop a road map and connect rural India with strategic towns to explore heritage site to give a boost to tourism sector and create more job opportunities at the local level, Sharma said.
20/01/15 PTI/Economic Times

Aero bridge at airport conks out, fliers suffer

Trichy: From the beginning of this year, passengers at the Trichy International Airport are forced to climb up mobile ladders to board a flight due to the non-functioning of the lone available aero-bridge.

Despite an approval given to acquire three aero bridges a few years ago, the airport authorities delayed it, citing several reasons.

According to sources at the airport, the aero bridge was not in use since January 6. Several senior citizens and children face discomfort while climbing up the mobile ladders. All the passengers are now made to board flights from the parking bay itself.
22/01/15 Harish Murali/Times of India

BOC Aviation says repo row could hurt Indian airlines

Dublin: India faces growing pressure over financial uncertainty at budget carrier SpiceJet after leasing company BOC Aviation demanded the return of three leased aircraft, in what is seen as a test of global rules on aircraft investments.

The leasing arm of Bank of China warned in an interview that India's fast-growing airline industry could struggle to attract funds unless India upholds a pact designed to protect the owners of leased jets, widely used across the world.

"SpiceJet is a very frustrating situation," Chief Executive Robert Martin told Reuters.

"Obviously when we lease planes we like people to pay us. And if they don't pay us, then generally the way an operating lessor reacts is by moving its planes to somewhere else in the world."

India's Economic Times this week reported lessors wanted permission to retrieve 11 jets.
22/01/15 Tim Hepher/Reuters

Security tightened at Mumbai airport, ADG level official to conduct checkings

Mumbai: After a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) drill exposed security lapses at the Mumbai airport ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit, a senior ADG level official is now conducting checks at the Mumbai airport.

The development came after the serious security lapses were detected at Mumbai airport ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit. As part of a security drill, it was found that CISF personnel managed to enter inside the airport with fake e-tickets.

The second busiest airport in the country sees thousands of passengers pass through its gates every minute to enter the airport premises. A fortnight ago, four CISF personnel, in plain clothes and as part of a decoy team set to assess the security system in place, successfully entered through Mumbai airport gates using fake e-tickets and proceeded towards the security checkpoint with fake boarding passes.
22/01/15 Shawan Sen/CNN-IBN/IBN Live

Bomb joke lands architecture student in trouble at Raipur airport

Raipur:  A Jaipur based architecture student, Aishwarya Soni, who tried to be cheesy with the security staff frisking her at the airport here by claiming that she was carrying a "bomb" landed herself in trouble as she was detained and questioned by the CISF authorities on Thursday morning.

According to officials, Aishwarya, who was travelling by Air India flight to Delhi, told the lady constable at the security check that she was carrying a bomb on her. She in fact repeated this again, despite being warned by the constable, who then immediately informed her superiors.

Aishwarya, who was detained for questioning, later told officials that she had "joked" about the bomb, as she was irritated by the delays at the security checking counters. She apologised for her mistake and asserted that she wasn't aware that this could have landed her in trouble.  Though, she was released by the authorities later, she did miss her flight to Delhi.
22/01/15 Anuja Jaiswal/Times of India

Revolver found in domestic cargo parcel

Chennai: A revolver was found here today in a domestic air parcel bound for Coimbatore from here and the weapon has been seized and a probe is on, police said.

The air parcel was booked at St Thomas Mount Head Post office near the airport. It was later moved to the cargo complex for loading it into a SpiceJet airline.

During mandatory screening process, it was found that the parcel had a revolver concealed in it. The weapon has been seized.

A probe is on to establish leads like the authenticity of consignor and consignee, the source and intended use of weapon and other things, police sources said.
21/01/15 PTI/Business Standard

He almost made it to Mumbai on friend's mother’s flight ticket

Bangalore: According to sources, Sajid Samran, a BE student, was to travel with his mother Shamshad Begum to Mumbai from Mangaluru in a private airlines flight.
However, Shamshad Begum cancelled her plans of going at the last minute. Instead, Sajid's friend, Mohammud Shakeel an MBA student, decided to travel with him on Shamshad Begum's ticket.
"What is shocking is that the duo managed to clear two security checks and was even issued boarding passes.
"At the boarding counter, Sajid reportedly told the airline staff that his mother had been to the wash room and that the staff could hand over the pass to him.
"The airline staff who handed over the pass luckily observed these two boys and realised that they were playing a prank and immediately informed the CISF personnel. The CISF, in turn, handed them over to the local police," said the source. Meanwhile, it is learnt that the security agencies were trying to cover up the incident.
It is learnt that a case has been booked under section 419 (Cheating by impersonation) and section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code.
22/01/15  Deepthi Sanjiv/Bangalore Mirror

AI employee, 2 flyers with nearly Rs 2 crore gold arrested in Mumbai

Mumbai: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has arrested an Air India (AI) crew member and two flyers in connection with smuggling of gold bars worth nearly Rs 2 crore on Thursday.

The seizure comes close on the heels of a Rs2.3crore-haul at the international airport. Customs officials caught a flyer with 9.3 kg gold chains in the pockets of his cargo trousers last Thursday.

The AI staffer, Siddesh Patil, reportedly told DRI officers that he had smuggled in nearly 20 kg gold on five different occasions in the past. Patil was a key link in the gold smuggling syndicate, investigators said.

The two flyers, Sakina Barafwala and Piyush Soni, were carrying gold bars weighing nearly 14 kg. "They had collected the gold from a person in Dubai and they were supposed to handover it to Patil during their journey to Mumbai. The plan went awry after the two missed their flight," a DRI official said.
23/01/15 Vijay V Singh/Times of India