Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Dubai-Mumbai Jet Airways aircraft suffers bird hit, 5 flights diverted

Mumbai: A Dubai-Mumbai Jet Airways flight with 110 passengers on board made a safe landing after being hit by a bird at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) runway on Tuesday evening.

At 4.29pm, the Jet Airways captain informed the ATC about the bird hit. The runway was temporarily shut for an inspection, resulting in four go-arounds (flights asked to abort landing mid-air). These flights included AI’s flight from Lucknow and Jet Airways’ flights from Kozhikode and Delhi between 4.30pm and 5.04pm.
Once the runway was cleared, around 5.04 pm, the captain of a GoAir flight from Chandigarh also reported a suspected bird hit. But runway inspection revealed it was a feather, said an airport official.
The Jet Airways aircraft, however, survived without any damage.
Following the bird scares, around five flights were diverted from Mumbai airport due to traffic congestion at the airport, said MIAL officials.
01/04/15 Indian Express

IndiGo will charge higher fee for cancellations up to 48 hours before flight

IndiGo has revised its cancellation policy imposing a higher fee on passengers who cancel their tickets 2-48 hours before departure. IndiGo is largest domestic airline with a market share of over 37%.

Earlier there was a flat cancellation fee of Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 per person on domestic and international routes respectively.

This has now been amended and now passengers who cancel 2-48 hours before flight will have to forego Rs 2,250 per segment on domestic routes. Domestic tickets cancelled 30 or more days in advance will attract a fee of Rs 1,250 per passenger per segment.

International tickets, which are cancelled 4 hours to seven days before departure, will attract fee of Rs 2,500.

IndiGo will continue its policy of levying a no show charge (where in passengers only get taxes and government fee in refund) if tickets are cancelled within two hours of departure.
01/04/15 Business Standard

Work on Navi Mumbai airport may start in 3 weeks

Mumbai: The long wait for approval to begin work on the Navi Mumbai international airport (NMIA) project seems to have ended, as the City & Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) claims it has received a go-ahead from the central government. The town planning body said seven out of eight issues have been resolved.
The credit, according to CIDCO MD Sanjay Bhatia, goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For nearly a year, CIDCO, the town planning body looking after the project, has been in a deadlock with the civil aviation and environment and forests ministry at the centre.

However, during a meeting about 10 days ago, the chief secretary of the state, Swadheen Kshatriya, informed the PM that the most crucial project for the state was the airport project, and, therefore, it had to be fast-tracked.

According to Bhatia, in less than a week, CIDCO received approvals that had been awaited from the ministries, as well as from CRZ and others. Issues related to CRZ permissions, technical obstacles, land acquisition with the environment ministry, funnel zone, etc had been stuck at the centre for quite some time now.
01/04/15 Varun Singh/Mid Day

'AI to Roll out Attractive Fare'

Puducherry: connecting Puducherry with Bengaluru from April 14. The flight will be operated on a ‘no loss, no profit’ basis, said Anil Mehta, Officer on Special Duty to Chief Managing Director of Air India. A memorandum of understanding would be executed with the government on the modalities of the operation.

The fare will be decided in the next few days, said R Prabhakar, Assistant General Manager, Marketing, Air India. The fares will be made into three slabs based on the time of booking. The fares will be made attractive so that more people would  choose to fly, he added.

Initially , the aircraft will fly with around 42 passengers, till a refuelling facility is established at the Puducherry airport. The government is in talks with Indian Oil Corporation to establish the ATF station at Puducherry. The government will also discuss with the Alliance Air the modalities of tariff structuring.
01/04/15 New Indian Express

GoAir CEO quits

The Chief Executive Officer of Wadia group-promoted budget carrier GoAir, Giorgio De Roni, has quit the carrier, citing health reasons, sources said.

Mr. De Roni, an Italian national, had joined GoAir in 2011.

“De Roni has quit GoAir. He had requested the management to relieve him on health grounds. Today was his last day at the airline,” said sources close to the development.
01/04/15 PTI/The Hindu

Fed up with management, Air India pilots warn of exodus

New Delhi: The pilots of Air India have several pending issues with the airline like continuing pay cut and flying some very old planes. They have now warned of an exodus of pilots from AI unless these issues are resolved at the earliest.

An official of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA, union of erstwhile Indian Airlines now AI Domestic) said that large number of pilots have already quit in the past two years and that many more are serving their notice periods. "The biggest issue is of pay cut that refuses to go away and the fact that AI still operates 26-year-old Airbus A320s," said an ICPA office-bearer.

ICPA general secretary Praveen Keerthi has now told Director General of Civil Aviation M Sathiyavathy that the increasing frustration among AI pilots could affect safety. "We wonder how you have ignored the stressful working conditions and plight of our pilots, cabin crew, engineers and all other employees due to non-payment of full salary and allowances for the last almost 32 months, when you were very prompt in this aspect in regard of Kingfisher and SpiceJet employees.
01/04/15 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Private airports seek easy overseas flying rules

Domestic airlines aspiring to start overseas operations but feeling restricted because of the government's policy on it have an unlikely ally – the private airports.

The Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO), in its feedback to the government on the revision of Route Dispersal Guidelines (RDG) and 5/20 rule – which currently permits only airlines with five years of experience and 20 aircraft to fly on international routes – has batted for a more "simplified" rule than the one the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has come up with.

The MCA recently proposed to replace the existing 5/20 rule with domestic flying credit (DFC) rule, which would allow airlines to operate on overseas routes only after they log in specified flying credits for deploying flights to remote and unused airports.

The ministry has defined DFC as the capacity deployed by airlines as Available Seat Kilo Meter (ASKM) in regular scheduled operations multiplied by a factor devised for providing incentive for operating on remote area routes.
01/04/15 Praveena Sharma/Daily News & Analysis

AirAsia India, Vistara's international plans may run into turbulence with new govt policy

New Delhi: The big daddies of Indian aviation industry remain united in opposing any move to remove the 5/20 rule. Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir besides Air India hold firm in their view that new airlines, Vistara and AirAsia India, should also be subject to this rule. The incumbents, under the aegis of Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), said in a letter to the Ministry of Civil Aviation late this evening that the 5/20 rule need not be abolished since any change in this rule will remove level playing field conditions. Air India is not part of FIA but has been concurring with the view of this lobby group anyway.
The ministry has proposed new rules to replace 5/20 rule and sought views from all airlines by Tuesday evening. The 5/20 rule bars domestic airlines from flying anywhere abroad unless they have completed five years of Indian operations and have a fleet of 20 aircraft. It is a rule unique to India and has been responsible for Indian carriers failing to compete with foreign airlines in carrying people to international destinations. No such restrictions are placed by other countries on their respective airlines.
01/04/15 Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post

SpiceJet strikes deal with lessors

Coimbatore: SpiceJet Ltd has got a breather with the company reaching an in principle deal with its five lessors in connection with five aircraft operated by it.

This is the second such agreement with its lessors that the company had reached in recent days with regard to the aircraft operated by SpiceJet with the lessors consenting to withdrawal of court proceedings and deregistration of aircrafts that threatened to put its flight operations out of gear.

In a communication to the stock exchanges today, SpiceJet Limited said that it had reached an in-principle understanding with its five lessors managed by BBAM Aircraft Leasing and Finance with regard to five aircrafts operated by it.

According to the understanding reached, the lessors had consented to suspend court proceedings (including winding-up proceedings) and deregistration process of aircrafts subject to the airline satisfying the terms of settlement and parties executing definitive agreements.
01/03/15 Business Line

US FAA to upgrade India's aviation sector by month-end

Mumbai: Over a year after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded India's aviation sector due to safety concerns, the country is finally expected to regain its Class-I category rating by April-end. The FAA team, which was in Delhi for a final review on Monday and Tuesday, will file its report by April 10 and the rating would be restored in a couple of weeks.

In January last year, the FAA had downgraded India to Class-II category, bringing it on a par with Ghana and Bangladesh. It meant that Indian carriers like Air India and Jet Airways could not add more flights to the US and their existent operations to that country came under increased scrutiny. "Following the review and consultations, the FAA team has in principle agreed to upgrade India to Class-I status," said a source.
Among the deficiencies pointed out by FAA, following audits, were severe manpower shortages in the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), India's aviation safety regulator. For instance: India's regulator did not have personnel with technical knowledge to carry out inspections on certain types of aircraft currently operating in the country.
01/04/15 Manju V/Times of India

Twelve SpiceJet pilots withdraw resignations

Mumbai: Twelve SpiceJet pilots who quit last year have withdrawn their resignation after the airline resumed timely payment of salaries, it claimed.

The airline has around 450 pilots. About 40 quit last November as the airline cut down its fleet and struggled to pay salaries and vendors, due to a cash crunch. Pilots need to serve a six-month notice. The airline had even waived notice period for those who wanted to exit immediately.
01/04/15 Business Standard

Hire people with technical background to head DGCA, says US Federal Aviation Authority

New Delhi: The US aviation regulator has asked Indian authorities to hire people with technical background at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the local regulator which has typically been headed by a senior civil service official. A delay in meeting the demand could potentially hamper India's prospects of getting back the top rating by the most powerful aviation authority in the world.

The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) wants the director-general as well as other key officials of the Indian aviation regulatory body to have technical knowledge of the sector.
The Federal Aviation Authority conveyed its demand to India's civil aviation ministry at the end of an audit conducted this week, a DGCA official said. A written response to the demand will be sent later, he said.

FAA downgraded India to a Category II market in January last year citing two key concerns: lack of training for DGCA officials and shortage of full-time flight operations inspectors on the regulator's rolls. If the country continues to remain there, it could hamper Indian airlines' services to the US and other countries that follow FAA standards, as well as their ability to form codeshare tie-ups with foreign carriers.
01/04/15 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Calicut airport to be partially shut from May 1

New Delhi: Calicut Airport, which will be undertaking re-carpeting of its runway from May 1, will be partially shut down for six months, affecting 26 of the 162 flights operating out of the airport per week, said a statement released by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The airlines whose flights will be hit are Saudia Airlines, Emirates and Air India. Rest of the airlines will operate flights as per schedule and are not likely to get impacted.

"It has been decided to re-carpet and strengthen the runway at the Calicut Airport for safety reasons arising out of its precarious surface condition after the last monsoon," said the government statement.

The airport will begin the runway re-carpeting post monsoon in September this year. In the meantime, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to suspend operations of the wide-bodied aircraft such as B-777, B747 and A330-200 for six months.
01/04/15 Daily News & Analysis

India open to inking its first air service bilateral pact with Qatar

New Delhi: India is open to signing its first air service bilateral agreement with Qatar if the Arab nation seeks an increase in existing seat entitlements. The civil aviation ministry communicated this view, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's presence, to a delegation led by Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani. Qatar has the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world and is among the most influential Arab nations.

"Bilaterals with any country should only be increased, if our carrier wants it," said a senior civil aviation ministry official, who did not want to be named.

Indian carriers are, however, not very enthusiastic about increasing seat entitlements. Gulf carriers depend heavily on the Indian market to enlist passengers to feed routes to Europe and North America. "In the case of Qatar, our carriers do not want any increase. We have told them that the requests from Qatar could be looked into in case they put in a request but our carriers do not want any increase," the official said.
01/04/15 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Now the air is thick with hopes of growth

Puducherry: The resumption of the much awaited air connectivity to Puducherry which has been on and off the aviation map intermittently, is expected to increase the tourist footfalls to the city.

Though commercial flight services in Puducherry started with a bang, within a short period of time it had become defunct. This has been the recurring scenario in Puducherry.

After Vayudoot stopped commercial services from the airport in 1991, the Puducherry government made unsuccessful attempts to revive flight operations from Puducherry. Private carrier Spice Jet, which introduced its flight service on the Puducherry-Bengaluru sector on January 2013, discontinued its services in February 2014 stating that their operations were not financially viable.

I Syed Sajjadh Ali, Chairman, CII, Puducherry, welcomed the proposed resumption of air connectivity from Puducherry to Bengaluru as a welcome step.
01/05/15 S Prasad/The Hindu

IAF plane reaches Djibouti to bring back Indians

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday said that an Indian Air Force transport aircraft has reached Djibouti to bring back Indians who are on way to the African nation after they were evacuated from neighbouring strife-torn Yemen.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that that while an IAF C-17 Globemaster has reached Djibouti, another plane will reach there soon.

"INS Sumitra to reach Djibouti with Indians evacuated from Yemen by mid-day. Arrangements in place to receive them there. 1st IAF C-17 Globemaster now in Djibouti. Another will reach soon," Akbaruddin said in tweets.

A total of 348 Indians were taken to INS Sumitra and it set sail for Djibouti on late Tuesday night from Aden. Those evacuated include 101 women and 28 children.
01/04/15 IANS/Daijiworld

Airports in Hisar, Karnal not a priority

Hisar: The project to set up airports in Hisar and Karnal seems to be not a priority as an RTI information reveals that there has been no concrete move from the state or the Centre about setting up the airports.

In reply to a query filed by state convener of the Haryana Soochna Adhikar Manch Subhash, the Haryana Civil Aviation Department said a team of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has inspected the sites for the airports in Hisar and Karnal on October 29-30, 2012, on the request of the Haryana Government. The AAI team prepared a feasibility report to develop these two sites as domestic airports.

But the report is still under consideration, the department said in its reply filed on January 12, 2015.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, during his visit to Hisar on December 29, last year, announced that the Hisar airport would be upgraded and the work would be completed in a time-bound manner.
01/04/15 Deepender Deswal/Tribune 

Odisha awaits nod for international flights

Bhubaneswar: Even 17 months after getting the tag of an international airport, commercial operations are yet to begin at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here.

Despite several requests from the Odisha government, the union civil aviation ministry is yet to give its final nod to low cost international carriers to commence flights to and from the lone full-fledged airport in Odisha. The central government granted Bhubaneswar and Imphal airports international status on October 30, 2013, with a view to boosting economic development in both the states.

“We are repeatedly urging the ministry to commence international operations from Bhubaneswar. But the centre is paying no heed to our demands,” Tourism Minister Ashok Panda told IANS.

“Several flight operators have evinced interest. But we can’t do anything unless the centre gives the green signal,” Panda said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chief secretary of the state has written many times to the civil aviation ministry, the minister said.
01/04/15 Chinmaya Dehury/Vancouver Desi

Another glass panel crashes at Chennai airport

Chennai: One more glass panel crashed at the Chennai airport on Saturday night, the latest in a series of infrastructural accidents at the facility.

Around 11 p.m., a glass panel measuring 12X4 fell near gate no. 2 of the departure hall of the domestic terminal. No one was injured in the incident.

Since January 2013 there have been at least 15 instances of glass panels cracking and collapsing.
01/04/15 Sunitha Sekar/The Hindu

Man detained 4 times in last 5 years because of criminal namesake

Indian national Nishad Nasar is afraid to fly. Not because he has a phobia of flying, but because he has been detained repeatedly by police forces of two emirates in the past five years — all because he shares his name with that of a wanted criminal in the country.

Nasar, 31, has been detained at two airports in the UAE at least four times.

Despite having a certificate of good conduct from the Dubai Police, Nasar is afraid to fly, even though the certificate did prevent him from getting arrested when he landed at the Dubai Airports earlier this year.

Marking the fourth time he was detained over his name, on February 27 this year, Nasar was stopped at the airport when coming from India, but was released after the law enforcement authorities realised he was not their man.
01/04/15 Khaleej Times/Yahoo News

HAL undertakes successful flight of upgraded Jaguar strike aircraft

Bengaluru:  Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) successfully carried out the first flight of a Jaguar DARIN III upgraded ‘strike' aircraft at its facilities in Bengaluru recently. HAL officials confirmed to OneIndia that the first flight of the upgraded Jaguar ‘strike' aircraft lasted for about 15 minutes.
The maiden flight was followed by another flight of the upgraded Jaguar that lasted for an hour on March 25 for an hour. In November 2012, HAL had carried out the first flight of Jaguar DARIN III upgraded ‘maritime' aircraft, with an unhappy Indian Air Force (IAF) wanting more features to be added on to the aircraft.
"The IAF had some concerns with the Mission Computer used in the maritime aircraft. It was of DARIN-II standard. We have now upgraded all possible systems on the aircraft as per the user requirement," HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju told OneIndia.
01/04/15 Dr Anantha Krishnan M/One India

Things better managed at Lohegaon airport

Pune: People flying out of Pune or arriving at the Lohegaon airport seem to be better off than their counterparts at the railway station, as private taxis are able to pick up passengers from the airport premises without any hassle.

Following complaints by passengers that they were inconvenienced at the Pune railway station with private taxis barred from entering railway premises by aggressive autorickshaw drivers, TOI did a quick check at the Lohegaon airport, where things seem considerably better. Not only are cabs freely coming in to drop off passengers at the airport, pick ups are largely smooth, courtesy the traffic police and the airport authorities here.

Autorickshaw drivers at the railway station have ensured that private cab is not allowed entry inside. This in turn has led to people in cabs having to get off near Le Meridien hotel and take the foot overbridge to reach the station.
01/04/15 Neha Madaan/Times of India

Customs resist frisking, safety hit

Chennai:  Civil aviation authorities are desperate to improve flight safety standards in the country and boost its aviation safety ratings but law enforcement agencies like air customs are undermining these efforts by blatantly flouting rules, airline officials say.

Air customs officials, some of whom face charges of colluding with smugglers, refuse to allow airline officials to frisk them before they enter an aircraft to carry out inspections, despite Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) rules that make it compulsory for everyone to submit to checks before entering an aircraft.

The stand of the customs officials led to a standoff between them and airline security personnel at airports across the country. On one occasion six months ago, airline security personnel refused to allow customs officials to board an aircraft for inspection after they objected to checks. The situation apparently got out of hand a few months earlier when customs officials started to regularly board aircraft that arrived from international destinations following the seizure of gold from under the seat of a jet at the Chennai airport.
01/04/15 Times of India

Gold Seized at Airport

Kochi: The Customs Preventive Unit seized nine gold bars weighing 116.6 grams each from a passenger who arrived at Nedumbassery airport from Dubai on Tuesday.

The arrested persons was identified as Suhail, a native of Kodungalloor. It was following a specific tip-off that the officials intercepted Suhail at the exit passage of the airport.On interrogation, he confessed that gold bars were hidden in his rectum.
01/04/15 New Indian Express

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Govt firm on scrapping 5/20 rule for airlines

Sticking to its earlier position, established carriers such as Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet on Tuesday opposed the government's move to replace the present 5/20 rule for launching foreign flights with domestic flying credit (DFC).

Against this, the start-up Tata group venture Vistara and Air Asia India pitched for further relaxation in the rules for flying overseas on the last day for submitting comments on the draft aviation policy that seeks to overhaul rules for flying.

An official source said that Federation of Indian Airlines, the trade body representing established private carriers, had urged for status quo of the present 5/20 rule.
 “We cannot please everyone. We have decided to move ahead with the change,” another official, who also did not wish to be named, said.
31/03/15 Nirbhay Kumar/Mydigitalfc.com

Near miss by Etihad, Emirates flights over Mumbai airspace

Mumbai: An Emirates and an Etihad aircraft, flying in opposite directions came in proximity of each other over the Indian Ocean, leading to a collision alert warning in the two cockpits on Sunday night. The Indian aviation regulator - the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) - has initiated an inquiry into the near-miss incident.

The Emirates flight EK-706 was flying to its base in Dubai from Seychelles, while Etihad flight EY-622 was enroute to Seychelles from Abu Dhabi.
"All Emirates aircraft are equipped with onboard instrumentation so that crew are alerted in a timely manner of all surrounding traffic. The crew informed the authorities of the incident and later filed an Air Safety Report, which will be forwarded to Mumbai Air Traffic Control. Safety is of paramount importance to Emirates, and we will be cooperating fully with the Mumbai Air Traffic Control in the subsequent investigation," said the airline in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Etihad Airways spokesperson did not respond.
Noticing that the two aircraft were perilously close to each other, Mumbai Air Traffic Control alerted one of the commanders by giving a resolution advisory (RA), the sources said.
Due to the closure of Yemeni airspace in the wake of the on-going civil war in the region, Emirates and Etihad are operating to Seychelles using Mumbai and Muscat airspace.
31/03/15 Manju V/Times of India

Vistara plans to expand fleet size; fly overseas routes within 2 years

Gurgaon: Vistara, the country's newest airline, plans to expand its fleet size and start flying to international destinations within two years, its CEO Phee Teik Yeoh said on Tuesday, ahead of an expected change in aviation rules that currently restrict new carriers from operating abroad.

"There are lots of opportunities. Suddenly when the 5/20 rule goes away it's a new ball game," Yeoh told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.
Vistara, a joint venture of Singapore Airlines and Tata Group, is looking to procure an undecided number of new narrow-body and wide-body aircraft to increase domestic flights and begin flying to the Gulf and eventually to Europe and the United States, the airline's CEO said.

Under the existing 5/20 rule, domestic carriers must be up and running for five years or possess 20 planes before they can start flying international routes, a restriction the Misitry of Civil Aviation has said it is committed to scrap.
"Seventy per cent of international traffic that Indians travel is westwards. This is where our focus will be," Yeoh said.
31/03/15 Tommy Wilkes/Business Today

Delhi Police registers FIR against airport official for harassment of a woman

New Delhi: A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered by the Delhi Police against airport official under sections 354 A, 354D and 506 for harassment of a woman.

A homemaker in Bengaluru has alleged that she was verbally sexually harassed by an immigration officer at the Delhi airport on March 18 when she was flying to Hong Kong via Delhi.

The woman claimed that the immigration officer harassed her by asking her several uncomfortable personal questions. The incident took place when the woman was at the immigration counter before she boarded the flight for Hong Kong where she had to meet her husband.
According to the complaint, the officer not only harassed her during the immigration process at the desk, but also by following her along at the escalator, between the domestic and international transfer.

According to the complaint, she was asked questions like, how many children do you have, do you drink, do you smoke, do you eat chicken, do you sleep with other men when your husband is at work. Not once or twice, but he asked her four times if she had undergone a surgery for birth control. He even asked her whether she would like to have her third child with him.
31/03/15 Shylaja Varma/CNN-IBN/IBN Live

India Sends 5 Ships, 4 Planes to Evacuate Indians Stranded in Yemen

New Delhi:  India has sent a total of five ships and four planes to evacuate about 4000 Indian nationals stranded in civil war-torn Yemen. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, General VK Singh is presently in Djibouti to oversee the evacuation efforts.

The aircraft being used for the evacuation will have a three-hour window in which they have been assured passage in and out. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud last night, during which he was assured of all help to get stranded Indian nationals out of Yemen.

Two passenger aircraft from Air India would be involved in the evacuation efforts. While one has been positioned in Oman, the other, AI-312, would fly in from Muscat. It would fly through Saudi Arabian airspace, which is closed to India's military aircraft, to the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, which is safe for civilian flights.
31/03/15  Amitabh Pashupati Revi/Shyam Balasubramanian/NDTV

Akhilesh Yadav-govt. to introduce small aircraft services to link major cities in UP

Lucknow: In an innovative move by Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh, they have decided to kick start a special air service to link eight destinations with the state. For the same, the UP Chief Minister also announced several facilities for private airlines.

With this move, the state government has made travelling easy for few rich category people of the state, who will not have to waste their time travelling in trains and buses.

Soon Lucknow Airport will see beginning of Vistara and Northeast Shuttle Airlines services. These aero-planes will have 10-15 seating capacity.

Shuttle Airlines will take the passengers to Agra, Varanasi and Allahabad while Vistara will travel across Lucknow to Delhi. This is being looked as a revolutionary move by the SP government as the passengers had to spend 5-6 hours to travel from Lucknow to Allahabad but now it will only take 20 minutes.
31/03/15 Shubhanshu Sharma/Parda Phash

A New Airline in India to Take to The Skies Soon

Air Pegasus, a low-cost airline based out of Bengaluru will take to the skies soon. The company management will announce the date of its first flight on Wednesday.

Air Pegasus will operate the 72-seater ATR 72-500 aircraft and will initially connect the southern cities of Bengaluru, Hubli, Kochi and Trivandrum with the IT capital city as its base.

The airline is promoted by Decor Aviation, which calls itself the largest ground handling service provider in South India. The company has its presence in all major airports in South India including Bengaluru, Chennai, Trivandrum, and Cochin.

Air Pegasus received its flying permit from aviation regulator DGCA or the Directorate General of Civil Aviation last year.
31/03/15 NDTV 

Etihad, South African Airways code-sharing for India-origin flights

Global airlines companies South African Airways (SAA) and Etihad Airways (EA) on Tuesday said they have commenced a codeshare partnership in India which will enable fliers from India to travel to Johannesburg in South Africa via Abu Dhabi in UAE.

As per the agreement, SAA will codeshare on select EA flights to and fro Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram while EA will codeshare on a select SAA flight from Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg and back.

According to EA, in addition to the codeshare flight, the passengers can also avail alternate service on-board between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg and continue their onward journey to various destinations in South Africa and the African continent using SAA’s domestic and regional flights.

“India is an extremely important market for us. A BRICS state, India has significant investments in South Africa and the two countries are witnessing a steady rise in bilateral trade. At the same time, tourism is increasing significantly as well.
31/03/15 Economy Lead

Pay woes affecting our mental health: AI pilots

Bangalore: Following reports of the co-pilot of the ill-fated Germanwings plane having sought psychiatric help six years ago, the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) has written to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief M Sathiyavathi claiming Air India pilots are not in the best mental state, thanks to more than two years of not getting their full salaries.

In the seven-point letter, ICPA has questioned DGCA's reluctance to intervene on behalf of Air India pilots who have not received their full salary and allowances for the last 32 months, but did so for SpiceJet and Kingfisher pilots when they found themselves in a similar situation.
Praveen Keerthi, general secretary, ICPA said, "How is it that not receiving salaries is a matter of flight safety for Kingfisher and SpiceJet employees but not for Air Indians? It is a well-documented that the human element is one of the most susceptible parts of the safety chain in air operations."
A union member, who declined to be named, added, "We had to write this letter as our pilots are under tremendous stress, having to fly A-320 aircraft aged 26 years. Snags reported by pilots are repeatedly being put in deferred maintenance citing lack of spares as the reason. DGCA should not permit AI to operate these lethal snag-prone classic aircraft in view of passenger safety. The German crash has only upset the pilot community further."
31/03/15 Aditya Anand/Bangalore Mirror 

Boeing, Air India celebrate 20th 787 Dreamliner

North Charleston, SC:  and Air India celebrated the airline's milestone delivery of its 20th 787 Dreamliner from Boeing's final assembly facility in North Charleston, S.C.

"Taking delivery of our 20th 787 Dreamliner marks an important day for Air India," said Rohit Nandan, Chairman and Managing Director, Air India. "With this airplane we are building on the success of our other 787s, which are providing an exceptional experience to our passengers while allowing us to expand our network both within India and around the world."

The new Dreamliner also features the Star Alliance livery, Air India's – and the world's – first 787 to do so. The flag carrier joined the leading global airline network last year, reflecting the strong network growth of the Indian aviation market.
31/03/15 PR Newswire

Alliance Air to fly from Puducherry

Puducherry will return to the aviation map of the country with Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India all set to operate flights from Bengaluru to Puducherry from April 14. Chief Minister N. Rangasamy made the announcement after a discussion with officials of the carrier on Tuesday.
Alliance Air had agreed to operate an ATR type aircraft on the Bengaluru-Puducherry sector on all days except Wednesday. The plane which could carry 48 passengers would leave Bengaluru at 3.45 p.m. and arrive in Puducherry at 4.45 p.m.
The flight will leave Puducherry Airport at 5.05 p.m. and arrive in Bengaluru at 6.05 p.m. The commencement of flight services from Puducherry would be a big boost to tourism sector, Chief Minister N. Rangasamy told reporters.
A senior official of Alliance Air told The Hindu the carrier will operate flights on the Bengaluru-Puducherry sector on a No profit No loss basis.
31/03/15 S Prasad/The Hindu

Germanwings tragedy: Why foolproof aviation security will never be a reality

It has been a week since the Germanwings Flight 9525's crashed into the Alps on its journey from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. It was a tragedy which was beyond words.
One co-pilot  — 27 years-old German national Andreas Lubitz of Dusseldorf — has made a mockery of all that the airlines across the world have done in the recent past — at the behest mostly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — to secure flights on the ground and in air.
According to one report, the transponder data of the plane showed that the autopilot was reprogrammed from inside the cockpit in order to diabolically lower the flight altitude from 38,000 to an absurd 110 feet. Inquiries have indicated that Lubitz suffered from bouts of depression, and possibly, he committed the diabolical crime when he was going through one such mood swings. There are several other speculations about Lubitz, including that he was laid off once for mental treatment, and a search of his house yielded anti-depressants as well as a sick-report note for the day of crash.
The impression that one gains is he was successful in hiding his illness from the airlines. More shocking was the airlines' own lack of procedure to investigate the medical condition, once there was even a whiff of a rumour about a pilot's general state of health or his mental stability. This was poor intelligence that was culpable.
Airlines in India will have to wake up to this hard reality of the need to be 100 per cent sure of the fitness of the cockpit staff before they get in. This involves a huge protocol and more investment, at a time costs are mounting and many airlines are bleeding.
Post 9/11, the cockpit of every aircraft had been made into a near fortress, and any congregation of passengers near the area was totally prohibited. This was under the unexceptionable assumption that danger to the aircraft arose mainly from a rogue passengers' forcible entry into the cockpit. There was never a thought that risk could arise from a source internal to the cockpit, such as the co-pilot in this case. In retrospect, this was an unforgivable slip-up that has now cost passengers and their families loss beyond endurance.
31/03/15  RK Raghavan/First Post

US FAA report on India's aviation safety likely by April 10

New Delhi:  A team of officials from the US aviation watchdog Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is in the capital for a final assessment of India's aviation safety, is expected to submit its report by April 10.

The report could pave the way for a possible upgrade of the country's aviation safety ranking.

The FAA officials, who arrived here yesterday for a final review of the steps taken by the aviation regulator to address the deficiencies in the country's aviation safety, are expected to complete the exercise today, DGCA sources said.

On January 31 last year, the FAA had lowered India's safety ranking to Category-II from Category-I which the country had been holding since 1997.
31/03/15 PTI/Economic Times

Indore airport to become Wi-Fi zone

Indore:  If sources are to be believed, passengers at Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport will soon be able to enjoy a Wi-Fi facility. Indore airport manager Vivek Atre said, "We have sought nod from Airports Authority of India (AAI). Once we get approval, tenders will be floated for the same.
31/03/15 Nyooz