Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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

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

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

SIA Airbus turbulence: DGCA launches probe into case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Centre moots plan to spur air connectivity to smaller cities

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

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

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

Navigation System to Track Flights Implemented: AAI

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

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

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

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

Diamond barons' chartered flight service to launch today

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

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

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

An inaugural function has been organized at Surat airport.

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

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

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

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

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

AAI scrambles to secure radar link

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

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

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

Star Alliance to develop Delhi and Mumbai airports as its hubs

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

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

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

Pilots' strike hits Lufthansa services to India

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

Uttar Pradesh cuts taxes on aviation fuel

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

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

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

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

Air France to launch personalised 1st class service for Bangalore

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

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

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

Passenger assaults airhostess

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

Departure time gets a new meaning in aviation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adil Hussain denied boarding pass on a flight

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ebola effect: Thermal scanners to be installed at Ahmedabad airport

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

TCS-developed data base for Star Alliance goes live

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

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

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

Cathay Pacific announces two key appointments for South Asia

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

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

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

Gold seized at airport

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Air India to get Rs 6000 cr capital infusion from Centre this fiscal

Visakhapatnam: State-owned Air India will get around Rs 3,000 crore more in the later part of this fiscal from the Government towards capital infusion and the ailing carrier is expected to make operational profits from the next financial year, a top official of the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.

V Somasundaram, Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation also said there is no proposal to build a Greenfield airport at cyclone-hit Visakhapatnam.

"Air India has a turnaround plan, under which a little over Rs 6,000 crore has to be infused this year. I think more than half of that has been given already. Another around Rs 3,000 crore will be infused by the end of the financial year," Somasundaram told PTI during his recent visit to Visakhapatnam.

National carrier Air India, which is sitting on a huge debt pile, is surviving on the Rs 30,000-crore government bailout package announced by the Government earlier.

"The problem was they (Air India) had lot of uneconomical routes and lot of loss-making operations. So during the last two to two-and-half years these have been reduced. They have been successful in bringing down the loss substantially. And by 2015 they are expecting to be profitable, that is next financial year," the official said replying to query on the operational profits of the air lines.
20/10/14 ZeeNews

22 hurt as SIA jet flies into severe turbulence

Mumbai: In the first incident involving an Airbus 380 in India, 22 people, including eight passengers, onboard Singapore Airlines' double deck aircraft sustained injuries after the jet flew into severe turbulence during its descent into Mumbai airport on Saturday night.

The incident highlights the importance of keeping seat belts fastened and secure during descent and climb phase of a flight.

Flight SQ 424 from Singapore to Mumbai with 408 passengers and 25 crew members on board touched down at 10pm, five minutes past its scheduled arrival time.

"About 30 minutes before touchdown, the aircraft seemed to have encountered inclement weather. The sudden turbulence threw some of the passengers off their seats, though the most hit were the flight attendants. There was some damage to some inside panels of the passenger cabin," said an aviation official.
20/10/14 Manju V & Sumitra Deb Roy/Times of India

Turbulence lands 8 Singapore airline passengers in hospital

Eight passengers and 14 crewmembers of Singapore Airlines (SA) flight SQ-424 were injured after the aircraft experienced sudden turbulence during landing at Mumbai international airport on Saturday evening.
The flight, with 408 passengers and 25 crewmembers on-board from Singapore, was scheduled to land at T2 at around 9.55 pm on Saturday. After the aircraft landed, the airport doctors and paramedics on duty rushed to attend to the injured. The passengers were shifted to Seven Hills Hospital in Andheri (East), while the airlines admitted 10 of their employees at Hiranandani Hospital in Powai. On Sunday, six of the eight passengers were discharged after their minor injuries were attended to. All the crewmembers were discharged as well.
Recounting the incident, Nanu Bhai Makwana, the husband of one of the injured passengers, Nirmalaben Makwana, told mid-day, “We couldn’t really understand what went wrong with the aircraft all of a sudden. She hit her shoulder on the ceiling and sustained injuries on her shoulder and stomach. My daughter and I were awake at the time. We had gone to Singapore to see my newly born granddaughter. We are from Gujarat and we were going to take a bus from Borivli at around midnight.
While the airline is paying for the treatment, we are quite upset after the incident. We did not want to end such a joyous trip in this manner. Diwali is in a few days and I don’t think my wife will get better by then.” Navill, son of another injured passenger, Turel Viraf, said his father sustained chest injuries but was doing better.
“Doctors have assured us that he will be discharged soon,” said the Dadar resident. Speaking to mid-day, Dr Bhuvan Dumeti, assistant general manager and spokesperson of Seven Hills Hospital, said, “Both the patients are stable. While Turel has some minor chest injuries, Nirmalaben has shoulder injuries and has hurt her abdomen. By tomorrow evening (Monday), the doctors will take a call when they can be discharged.”
20/10/14 Mid Day

IndiGo bets big on Indian economy with historic 250 plane order, but faces risks

New Delhi/ Paris: Almost four years ago a handful of people gathered in Airbus sales chief John Leahy's spacious country house outside Toulouse and argued long into the evening over curry and cigars.
Last weekend they met up again at a Parisian hotel for more haggling, with breaks taken at a nearby cafe where the informality of old business friendships mingled with hard-nosed negotiations typical of the aircraft industry.
The sum total of money discussed over these meals? About $40 billion at catalogue prices, and the bill was for 430 jets, all sold to the same Indian airline -- IndiGo, the low-cost carrier which has grown to become the country's biggest airline in eight years of operating.
Represented according to insiders by co-founder Rakesh Gangwal and President Aditya Ghosh, IndiGo has now made aircraft industry history twice in four years -- each time by placing record orders for Airbus planes, including last Wednesday's announcement that it will buy 250 A320neo jets.
The largest order in India's aviation history is IndiGo's most aggressive bet yet that Indian air travel is on the cusp of a huge expansion, and that the model that made it the nation's only profitable carrier will keep working as competition intensifies.
20/10/14 FirstBiz

AirAsia India to start flights on Delhi-Mumbai route

New Delhi: The Indian unit of AirAsia will soon start flights from big cities, changing its strategy of connecting smaller cities to take on competition which followed the airline wherever it went since launch of operations earlier this year.

AirAsia India, which started with connecting cities like Chennai, Kochi, Goa, Chandigarh and Jaipur from its hub in Bangalore, plans to start operations from key cities like Delhi and Mumbai. The airline had earlier announced that it wouldn't operate from these cities because of high airport charge.

"We had earlier decided to operate between smaller cities and develop markets but the competition is following us everywhere. Now, we have decided to take on competition in their big markets like Delhi and Mumbai by announcing our flights soon," AirAsia India Chief Executive Mittu Chandilya said.

Since its launch, AirAsia has been facing severe competition from other domestic carriers. Days after it announced Bangalore as its hub, other airlines ramped up operations from there. Competition followed it on the Bangalore-Jaipur sector too, launching new flights. Analysts say AirAsia's new strategy will help it grow faster in India.
20/10/14 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

IndiGo Displays Its Ambition With $40 Bn Bet On Indian Aviation Market

Almost four years ago a handful of people gathered in Airbus sales chief John Leahy's spacious country house outside Toulouse and argued long into the evening over curry and cigars.

Last weekend they met up again at a Parisian hotel for more haggling, with breaks taken at a nearby cafe where the informality of old business friendships mingled with hard-nosed negotiations typical of the aircraft industry.

The sum total of money discussed over these meals? About $40 billion at catalogue prices, and the bill was for 430 jets, all sold to the same Indian airline -- IndiGo, the low-cost carrier which has grown to become the country's biggest airline in eight years of operating.

Represented according to insiders by co-founder Rakesh Gangwal and President Aditya Ghosh, IndiGo has now made aircraft industry history twice in four years -- each time by placing record orders for Airbus planes, including last Wednesday's announcement that it will buy 250 A320neo jets.

The largest order in India's aviation history is IndiGo's most aggressive bet yet that Indian air travel is on the cusp of a huge expansion, and that the model that made it the nation's only profitable carrier will keep working as competition intensifies.

"IndiGo is showing us the level of confidence it has in its own sustainability, in the long-term growth of aviation and in the future performance of the Indian economy," said Harsh Vardhan, chairman at Delhi-based Starair Consulting.
20/10/14 Business World

Thermal scanner to boost airport’s defence against Ebola, MERS threats

Ahmedabad: With Ebola threat rising by each passing day, the expected arrival of Haj pilgrims from October 22 and NRI season beginning October 23, officials at city airport have stepped up preparedness to scan and detect passengers for Ebola or middle-east respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus.

A thermal scanner is expected to be installed at the international terminal by Monday to scan the passengers while protective gears will also be arriving from the Centre.

More than 5,000 people had gone for Haj from Ahmedabad last month and with MERS virus threat looming large, each pilgrim will be checked thoroughly. "In case of Ebola threat, arrangements are already in place to check the passengers arriving from West African countries manually since August. From now on, almost all the international passengers suspected with any symptoms will be scanned. The thermal scanner arrived at airport by Sunday evening," said an airport official.
20/10/14 Times of India

Air India flight develops technical snag; leaves passengers stranded for two days

New Delhi: Over 150 passengers of an Air India Express flight from Dammam to Kozhikode, scheduled on Saturday night, were stranded almost two days as the Boeing 737 aircraft developed a major technical fault.

A special aircraft has been arranged to fly the passengers from Dammam to Kozhikode via Mangalore tonight to reach India by tomorrow morning, officials of the Air India subsidiary told PTI from Kozhikode, adding that this plane would operate the scheduled flight IX-386.
They said men and materials have been flown to repair the hydraulic brake system of the Boeing plane which was grounded in Dammam.
20/10/14 PTI/Economic Times

AERA extends date for charging of tariff for Delhi airport

Mumbai:  The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) in an order dated October 14, 2014 has extended the date for charging of tariff for Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd (as per its order dated April 20, 2012) till the earlier of January 31, 2015 or the determination of tariff for the second five-year control period (which started on April 1, 2014).

The revenue collected by Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd (DIAL) during such period would be adjusted for the aggregate revenue requirement for the second control period.

AERA had earlier permitted extension of charging of tariffs fixed for DIAL till October 31, 2014, pending tariff determination, said an exchange filing from GMR Infrastructure.
20/10/14 Business Line

Thalassemic child not allowed to travel by SpiceJet, alleges father

Ahmedabad:  A 12-year old kid suffering from thalassemia major was not allowed to travel in SpiceJet flight from Ahmedabad to Chennai for Bone Marrow transplantation because of poor health conditions, alleged the father of kid here on Saturday.

However Spicejet officials claimed that the kid did not have 'Fit to Fly' certificate as per Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) norms.

"The boy was suffering from some bone marrow problem. He was not carrying fit to fly certificate. And later none of the single doctors had given him a 'fit to fly' certificate'. If he was not fit to fly as per the DGCA , how we can allow him for the air travel," said a senior SpiceJet official.

"My son Jignesh was not allowed to travel in a SpiceJet flight on October 16 as the officials of the airlines had denied the boarding pass to us saying my child is not fit enough to travel," said Kalu Antroliya, a resident of Kadegi village in Kutiyana tehseel in Porbandar and the father of the thalassemic child.
19/10/14 Piyush Mishra/Times of India

Air India proposes shift from sale and leaseback

New Delhi: Air India is proposing to shift from sale and leaseback to outright purchase of 15 of the 27 Dreamliner aircraft it has ordered, in a bid to save about USD 225-300 million as part of the turnaround plan.
A proposal to this effect has been sent to the government for approval, as the national carrier feels that the shift to the outright purchase system would provide a much better internal rate of return, airline officials said here.
While leaseback turns out to be more expensive in the long run, an airline does not get the benefit of the residual value of an aircraft after its lease expires as it is enjoyed by the lessor, they said.
Sale and leaseback is a financial transaction where one sells an asset and leases it back on a long term and continues to use it without owning it.
The sources said the redelivery cost (after the lease expires) of a widebody aircraft like the Dreamliners is very high at almost USD 20 million while for narrow-bodies it is about USD 10-12 million.
Such high redelivery costs would be avoided if the planes are owned by the company, the officials said.
20/10/14 Kashmir Reader

Passengers stranded at Saudi airport as Air India flight gets delayed by over 40 hours

New Delhi: Over 200 passengers were left stranded at the Dammam airport in Saudi Arabia after an Air India flight was delayed by over 40 hours.
The Air India flight slated to take off on October 18 was grounded due to technical snag. A part had to be sent from Tiruvananthapuram to be replaced.
The national carrier did not inform the passengers as of when the flight will take off. Angry passengers complained of having a harrowing time at the airport without any food or water.
20/10/14 Priyanka Dube/CNN-IBN

Muslim Bizman Alleges Harassment by Customs

Chennai:  A 65-year-old Muslim businessman, who flew in from Bangkok on Saturday night, alleged that he was strip-searched and harassed by a customs official at the airport. Jamal S, who hails from Mannady, said he had declared the flat-screen TV that he had brought from Bangkok and was past the customs counter when he was accosted by an assistant commissioner. “He was very curt and asked me to accompany him for a strip search. All the people who flew with me looked at me as if I was a smuggler,” said the elderly man. Enraged by what he believed is a gross violation of human rights, Jamal placed a complaint with the Airport Police.

Jamal is no stranger to run-in with enforcement agencies like customs. He has written several complaints to the authorities and says that he has pursued legal action against them, when he has found them errant in the past. “That is the reason why they targeted me this time,” he alleged. He had returned on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 123, which had brought him from Bangkok to Colombo and then to Chennai.
20/10/14 New Indian Express

Air Passengers Get ‘Wet’ Welcome

Chennai: When the rain pounded the city over the weekend, passengers who arrived by air didn’t have to wait to exit the airport to be accorded a ‘wet’ welcome; they got that while pulling their bags off the conveyor belt. Several pieces of baggage that were taken from planes, tugged to the terminal and put on to the conveyor belts arrived soaked — testing the waterproof guarantee that most suitcase salesmen swear by.

“I was hoping to get to the parking lot and convince the prepaid taxi driver to swing close to the lane, so that the bag that had packets of expensive cashew nuts was safe,” explains T S Priyamvadha, a mother of a 23-year-old techie who currently works in Hyderabad. “But when the bag came off the conveyor belt, it was soaked almost like it had been sitting in the rain,” she adds disconsolately. Her cashew stash was safe thanks to the plastic casing it was in, but her laptop is acting up after being wet ‘in transit’. She placed a complaint with the airline counter, but doesn’t believe there will be any response.

Several others have been puzzled by this phenomenon of bags being wet, despite being carted in covered baggage trolleys. Producer Mukesh Mehta, who had faced a similar issue tweeted, “Chennai Airport has no facility to ensure that passenger bags Do Not get wet during rains when sent to and brought from aircrafts be careful.”
20/10/14 New Indian Express

Travelator at Chennai airport at least a year away

Chennai: At a time when international airlines are increasing their flights out of the city, and given Chennai airport’s reputation for being the third busiest in the country, it is still found wanting when it comes to passenger amenities.

A case in point is the travelator — a moving walkway — to connect the domestic and international terminals.

In a day, the airport hosts 30,000 passengers, and a good number of them move from the domestic to international terminals, carrying heavy luggage. Under the circumstances, the travelator could ease the strain on passengers.

Despite the idea being mooted as early as in 2009, and repeated assurances from officials, the facility has been a non-starter after two years of commissioning the new terminals. At present, a travelator of 150 metres connects the domestic and international terminals on the airside of the airport, past security check. But where the travelator could really help is at the point where passengers move between the terminals carrying heavy luggage.
20/10/14 Sunitha Sekar/The Hindu

Gold valued Rs 10.4 lakh seized at Mangalore International airport

Mangalore: The officers of Customs at Mangalore International Airport seized 384 grams of gold valued at Rs.10.46 lakh on Monday.

The gold was in the form of cut pieces of ten tolas gold bar concealed in the motor of a toy jeep and a toy dog, and in the form of silver colour paint coated cylindrical objects concealed in the wheels of a stroller suitcase.

The contraband was carried by the passenger, who arrived from Dubai.
20/10/14 Stanley Pinto/Times of India

Chartered flight security manager nabbed for Rs 3.5 crore gold smuggling

Mumbai: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has unearthed a gold smuggling racket thriving with the connivance of staff of service providers at Mumbai airport. Officials seized 13kg gold worth Rs3.5 crore from two passengers in two instances on Sunday.

Raids at the residence of Vikas Ambokar, security manager of a Mumbai-based real estate major having its chartered flight services, led to the recovery of Rs1 crore cash besides 20 pieces of gold jewellery. Officials said Ambokar, who has smuggled 200 kg of gold into the country on 15 occasions, is the kingpin of the racket operating since December.

Besides Ambokar, DRI has arrested security agent with a private airline Mahesh Mahadik, driver of a ground-handling agency Manish Jagtap and passengers Abdul Rahman and Ahmed Kunhi .
20/10/14 C Unnikrishnan/Times of India