Wednesday, March 04, 2015

No 'suitable' candidate to head Air India from August: government

New Delhi: Government on March 4 failed to find a ‘suitable’ candidate to head the loss-making national carrier Air India, whose chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan is on a 10-months extension, which expires in August this year. Public Enterprises Selection Board, which conducted interviews for selecting a new CMD for the state-run airline, and did not find any candidate “suitable”, and recommended that the Government may choose an "appropriate" course of further action for selection, official sources said.

The Board had short listed seven candidates, including a senior Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer and a director on Air India board, and had called them for an interview on March 4, sources said, adding however only three of them appeared on March 4 before the Selection panel.
04/03/15 PTI/Deccan Chronicle

Will Air India again have a career bureaucrat at its helm?

New Delhi: In all likelihood, Air India's next chairman and MD could be another career bureaucrat. Despite making the right noises about infusing professionalism into the loss making airline, the government seems to be following the beaten path.
In a surprise move this evening, the Public Enterprises Selection Board declared all the three candidates it interviewed for the CMD's post unsuitable.
The PESB had earlier provided some hope for selection of the next Air India CMD on merit by rejecting the suggestion of the Ministry of Civil Aviation to straightaway appoint a search committee and appoint a career bureaucrat again as the airline's CMD.
So PESB's decision today is a step perhaps towards continuing interference by the ministry in day to day affairs at AI since it will now again get to appoint the CMD. Today's PESB panel comprised four members besides the civil aviation secretary as an observer. Is it possible that despite all these setbacks, the search committee which the ministry will now form will consider aviation professionals with a proven track record instead of hunting among bureaucrats once again? Seems doubtful.
03/03/15 First Post

Come April, Tata's Vistara to fly to these new destinations

New Delhi: Targeting more high-density traffic airports in the country, Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture carrier Vistara on March 4 announced plans to launch services from next month to Guwahati and Bagdogra in the Northeast.

The announcement comes close on the heels of the airline entering southern India with the launch of air services to Hyderabad from the national capital.

The latest full-service airline, after state-run Air India and private carrier Jet Airways, Vistara currently operates across five domestic airports — New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Goa and Hyderabad, which are all high-density traffic airports for one reason or the other.

Vistara will operate daily services from April 2 connecting Delhi with Guwahati and Bagdogra, the airline said in a release today.

After a brief stop-over at Guwahati, the flight will proceed to Bagdogra, a gateway airport to several tourist destinations in the Northeast, the ai'rline said.
04/03/15 PTI/Deccan Chronicle

'3,400 Air India flights cancelled in December 2014 due to indiscipline, staff shortage'

New Delhi: Over 3,400 flights of different airlines including Air India were cancelled in December last year alone, with the Government today attributing this to "indiscipline" among their staff and crew shortage. During this month, 3,644 flights including 2,808 of Spicejet were cancelled, a problem which the Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said has to be addressed unitedly and "we will do it". "There is a lot of indiscipline besides shortage of staff and we are trying to get out of this. ... We want to ensure performace of the airlines is good," he said while replying to a spate of questions during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.

While 317 flights of Jet Airways-JetLite were cancelled, 232 of Air India and 224 of IndiGo were also cancelled. 53 flights of GoAir and ten of AisAsia India too were cancelled, according to official figures. Not satisfied with his reply, members sought to know whether there was any provision to penalise the airlines and compensate the passengers and whether the Government was contemplating action against these airlines.
03/03/15 Daily News & Analysis

DGCA sets up unit to monitor Airfare

Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) has set up a Tariff Monitoring Unit to monitor airfares on certain routes selected on random basis to ensure that the airlines do not charge airfares outside the range declared by them. An analysis has shown that the airfares remained well within the fare bucket uploaded by the airlines on their respective websites.
Air fares are not regulated by the government. Under the provision of Sub Rule (1) of Rule 135, Aircraft Rules 1937, airlines are free to fix reasonable tariff having regard to all relevant factors, including the cost of operation, characteristics of services, reasonable profit and the generally prevailing tariff.
03/03/15 IndiaInfoline

RDGs are under active consideration: Civil Aviation Minister

New Delhi: Government is actively considering revising the 5-20 rule to allow Indian carriers to fly abroad and the Route Dispersal Guidelines (RDGs), which make it mandatory for them to operate to remote parts of the country like the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.
"The revision of the existing 5/20 rule as well as RDGs is under active consideration of the Government. Stakeholders including Federation of Indian Airlines have sent their views on both proposals, which are being examined," Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.
Stating that RDGs were aimed at increasing air connectivity, he said these were required due to the fact that no plane took off or landed in as many as 31 airports during the last one year.
03/03/15 Jagran Post

India records 7.1% year-on-year rise in FTAs in 2014

Mumbai: Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) to India increased by 7.1 per cent in the calendar year 2014, to 74.62 lakh from 69.68 lakh in 2013. Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism in during the 12-month period last year stand at Rs 120,083 crore with a growth of 11.5 per cent, as compared with Rs107,671 crore in 2013.

Substantiating the increase in tourist footfalls to the country, Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Tourism and Culture, and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India said that the Ministry has taken various initiatives to boost growth of tourism in India.
03/03/15 TravelBizMonitor

AI’s decision to hire 197 captains angers pilots

New Delhi:  Air India's decision to hire 197 commanders to tide over a crippling crew shortage that is causing huge flight delays may land the airline in an even bigger trouble. The union of Air India (domestic or erstwhile Indian Airlines) pilots has warned the management against going ahead with hiring captains from 'outside' as the move "has the potential of creating industrial unrest" — a euphemism for protests like strike.

The union, Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA), wants AI to train and upgrade its co-pilots as captains. Saying that hiring of commanders from outside would be detrimental to their career growth, the union has given the example of Jet Airways whose pilots went on strike in 2010 over the issue of their career progression.

In a letter to aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and airline CMD Rohit Nandan, ICPA general secretary T Praveen Keerthi has blamed the management for the current crew shortage and for failing to act in time to prevent this situation. "We had been shouting regarding the hapless working conditions in AI. (We warned you) about the impending exodus of experienced pilots due to the unresolved issues of parity, illegal holding back of salary and allowances, delayed payments," the letter says, adding that 150 pilots have quit in recent past.
04/03/15 Times of India

AAI has developed 49 non-metro airports: Minister

The government Tuesday said that the state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) had developed 49 non-metro airports so far.

According to Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma, AAI had identified 63 non-metro airports for development. The AAI has so far completed development work on 49 airports.
03/03/15 IANS/Odisha Sun Times

Loss-hit national carrier Air India to shut offices in Cairo and Tehran

New Delhi: Loss-making national carrier Air India (AI), which had been wasting money on maintaining offices and staff in foreign countries even where it did not operate any flight, has now started shutting down some of them with the new government taking over.
Minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that AI is in the process of closing down its offices in Cairo and Tehran while it has already shut down booking offices in Zurich, Chittagong and Vienna. An AI committee is in the process of taking action to close the Cairo and Tehran offices.
The carrier generated only Rs 58.56 lakh from the Cairo office and Rs 1.4 crore from the Tehran office as revenues during 2013-14, Sharma said in a written reply. Besides, a committee is looking to address issues of downsizing the carrier's Toronto station and the process is in the final stages.
The airline generated more than Rs 67.1 crore revenues from the Toronto office during 2013-14 period. AI would retain its offices in Washington, Los Angeles and Amsterdam, he added.
04/03/15 Mail Today

It's long haul flight for Air India asset sales

New Delhi: A recent presentation made by state-owned Air India (AI) officials to the civil aviation ministry shows that its plans to monetise its assets across the country and globe is nowhere close to fruition.

Almost all the land and properties shown in the presentation, a copy of which is with the dna, are either stuck due to title issues or are awaiting approvals from various authorities.

The public sector utility (PSU) needs money to clear its total liabilities running into over Rs 60,000 crore. These include paying off short- and long-term debts raised to buy aircraft, settling dues of various vendors and supplies and others such expenses.

Starting with Kaikhali property in Kolkata, which has yet to get the West Bengal government nod, to its building in Nariman Point that would require AI to pay 0.5% of the value of the property for loan taken against it as fees to acquire no objection certificate (NOC), it would be a long way before the national flag carrier will be able to raise cash from these properties.
04/03/15 Praveena Sharma/Daily News & Analysis

Air India ties up with 2 foreign banks for financing of 3 Dreamliners

New Delhi: Air India has tied up with two overseas banks to arrange short-term loans to the tune of USD 315 million to partly fund the acquisition of three Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Air India has already taken the delivery of one aircraft late last month, and the remaining two are scheduled to be delivered to the carrier by this month and in June 2015.

"The bridge financing of this aircraft (the already delivered) was arranged by Deutsche and Standard Chartered Banks. These banks were awarded the mandate of USD 315 million to partly finance the delivery of three aircraft including the two which are to be delivered this month and in June," a senior airline official said.

A bridge-loan is typically used to meet payment commitments until a long-term financing is arranged.
The national carrier currently has 19 Boeing 787-800 aircraft in its fleet and eight more are come as part of a purchase deal with the US-based aircraft manufacturer.
03/02/15 PTI/Economic Times

Bengaluru allows helipads atop 20 high-rise buildings, residential towers

As Bengaluru's elite look skywards for a way out of the city's traffic congestion, 20 high-rise buildings, including 10 residential towers, have been given clearances to have helipads for commercial and personal use.

Bengaluru currently has only one operational helipad on a high-rise, atop ITC Royal Gardenia, while Mumbai has four, the most famous of these atop Mukesh Ambani's residence Antilia. Delhi has no operational helipads.
Golden Gate Residential at Yeshwanthpur, the city's tallest building with 49 floors, will soon have a helipad. Brigade EnterprisesBSE 0.76 % is in the process of opening its maiden helipad in the city atop its 32storey World Trade Centre at Malleshwaram. It plans to set up helipads on two of its residential projects as well. "Setting up helipads makes business sense as we have some premium clientele," said Roshin Mathew, president (engineering), Brigade Enterprises.
As Bengaluru gains height to accommodate the hordes of people streaming in from across the country, more helipads will become a necessity . As per the fire safety norms for residential buildings, it is compulsory for any building above 60m or 18 floors to have a helipad for emergency lifting. "Helipads should be built above the terrace of the building, with fire prevention system extended to the helipad area," said NU Erappa, Deputy Director (fire prevention), Karnataka Fire & Emergency Services.
04/03/15 Sobia Khan & Athira Nair/Economic Times

Air Costa may fly to Mysuru

Mysuru: In what could be a flicker of hope in putting Mysuru on the aviation map again, a domestic airline has shown interest in flying to the City of Palaces. Andhra Pradesh-based Air Costa has resumed talks with the airport authorities after a gap of one year.

 Mysuru Airport?director, C?Manjunath, told Deccan?Herald that Air?Costa, the?Vijayawada-based airline, had been provided with technical details a month ago and its reply was awaited. The airline was given the details about the runway width and length (it’s 1,740 metres long and 30 metres wide—conducive for operating smaller aircraft). Air Costa was in talks with the airport authorities earlier too when SpiceJet was already operating flights from Mysuru.

SpiceJet withdrew the services permanently on October 27, 2014, prompting the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which operates and maintains the airport, to resume talks with Air Costa.?The airline was quick to respond but the result is awaited.
04/03/15 Deccan Herald

Regulator set to clear norms for commercial use of drones

New Delhi: India is set to enter an exclusive club of just five countries worldwide with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) working on notifying regulations for commercial use of drones soon.
“Globally, Spain, Australia and New Zealand have notified provisional norms for civilian use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) unveiled proposed regulations (for commercial use of small drones) last month. We are studying these and will come out with a framework in the next one or two months,” said a senior DGCA official.
“The benefits of deploying drones for civilian applications are many. They can be used for surveillance in crowded places. It would help in checking untoward incidents of unrest. We do not want to ban them but are looking at ways to define flight paths, height and areas of operation so that UAVs do not pose a hazard in manned air traffic operations,” said the official.
04/03/15 Sharmistha Mukherjee/Indian Express

Air fares remain within fare bucket: Minister

New Delhi: The government said on Tuesday that the air fares remained well within the fare bucket uploaded by the airlines on their respective websites.
According to Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has set up a tariff monitoring unit to monitor air fares on certain routes which are selected on random basis.

"An analysis has shown that the air fares remained well within the fare bucket uploaded by the airlines on their respective websites," the minister said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
03/03/15 Headlines India

First round-the-world solar flight to stop at Ahmedabad, Varanasi

If @SolarImpulse is buzzing with tweets, it has a reason. The handle belongs to an aircraft that is all set to make a unique round-the-world journey, totally powered by solar energy.

Solar Impulse 2, which weighs as much as a car at 2,300kg, will begin its trip in a few days, making stopovers at Ahmedabad and Varanasi in India, after taking off from Abu Dhabi. The probable launch is on March 8, but will depend on weather conditions. From Varanasi, it will fly to Mandalay in Myanmar and Chongqing in China before reaching the US.

Adventurer Bertrand Piccard, one of the first balloonists to circle the earth, and MIT graduate Andre Boschberg — the Swiss co-founders and pilots of Solar Impulse 2 -will fly 35,000km day and night across the world, with stopovers at just 12 locations, without using a drop of fuel.

"We want to demonstrate that clean technology and renewable energy can achieve the impossible. We want youth, leaders, organizations and policy-makers to understand that what Solar Impulse 2 can achieve in the air, everyone can accomplish on ground in their everyday lives. Renewable energy can become an integral part of our lives," said Piccard.
04/03/15 Raja Bose/Times of India

Turbomeca Provides Power for New Indian Helicopters

Safran’s Turbomeca engine unit announced that its engines will power two new indigenous helicopters being developed by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).

The twin-engine HAL light combat helicopter will be powered by the Turbomeca Ardiden 1H1 engine, which received EASA certification in 2009. More than 250 Ardiden 1H1 engines have already been co-produced with HAL under the Shakti designation.
04/03/15 AINonline

“Flying coffins” improper word for our aircraft: Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said ‘flying coffins’ is not the appropriate word to describe the military aircraft involved in accidents.
“Only in 23 per cent of cases, technical error was found to be the main cause of about 70 accidents which we analysed,”Mr Parrikar said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.
He said that in 62 per cent of cases, human error was the reason leading to accidents, while inclement weather and technical defects were the cause for rest of the mishaps.
The number of accidents and the number of causalities are coming down every year, he said, giving details.
“Therefore, flying coffins is not the appropriate word to use….it may sound to be good while describing cases of accidents,” he said, when a member referred to accidents involving MiG fighters as ‘flying coffin’.
03/03/15 Day & Night News

EIA on Mopa grounded

Panjim: The opponents of Mopa Greenfield International airport, on Tuesday accused the BJP-led government of conducting an illegal environment impact assessment (EIA) study and public hearing on the airport project. Demanding a fresh EIA, the opponents said the EIA was conducted after the expiry of the Terms of Reference (ToR) period issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).
The group christened ‘Federation of Rainbow Warriors’ (FRW) alleged that the ToR, which was granted in 2011 and extended in 2013, expired on May 31, 2014, while the EIA study by Engineers India Limited was completed months later, in October 2014, and the public hearing on the EIA was held eight months later on February 1, 2015.
The two components of FRW – Mopa Pidit Xetkari Samiti from the North and Goans for Dabolim Only, from the South – have come on a common platform to expose this illegality and demand a fresh EIA study and public hearing on the ambitious Rs 3,000 crore project.
The anti-Mopa crusaders have also demanded the suspension of North Goa collector, Director of Airport, Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) Member Secretary and Chairman and the initiation of disciplinary action against all these.
A memorandum in this regard was submitted to the Chief Secretary Tuesday morning.
However, sources indicate that the State government has made a fresh application before MoEF for extension of validity of ToR for development of the airport.
04/03/15 Helrald

EIA Hearing on Mopa Airport Conducted Illegally: Farmers

Panaji: Farmers and activists today alleged that the public hearing related to Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the proposed Greenfield Mopa airport held last month was conducted "illegally" as the government did not adhere to Ministry of Environment and Forests directives.

The public hearing on EIA report was held on February 2 at the proposed airport site in Mopa, a village in North Goa.

Affected farmers today alleged that the hearing was "illegal" as it was conducted after the stipulated time-frame.

"As per terms of reference, validity to have EIA had expired on June 1, 2014. Despite this Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) and district administration conducted hearing on February 2, 2015. This act was blatantly illegal," Sandip Kambli, Convener, Mopa Vimantal Pidit Shetkari Samiti, a group of project affected farmers, told reporters.
03/03/15 Outlook

Activists want Aranmula airport to be removed from economic survey

Thiruvananthapuram: The Aranmula heritage action council has demanded the Centre to remove the proposed Aranmula airport from the economic survey that was released last week.

The survey had acknowledged the Aranmula airport as one of the 15 greenfield airports to come up in the country as part of the 'major initiatives to augment better airport infrastructure across the country'.

"We do not have an anti-development agenda and are not against the construction of an airport, but we will not allow an airport to come up at Aranmula by reclaiming wetlands, rivers, ponds, sacred groves and temples,'' council convenerKummanam Rajasekharan said.
04/03/15 Times of India

Canopy construction in front of air cargo terminal set in motion

Tiruchi: Exporters despatching cargo from the Tiruchi international airport may not be affected by vagaries of weather soon as construction of a canopy in front of the air cargo terminal has been set in motion.

Heeding persistent demand from the stakeholders, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) recently awarded contract for the establishment of a canopy in front of the air cargo terminal after according approval for the project.

A puja to mark the commencement of the canopy construction work was performed at the Tiruchi airport on Monday with the airport authorities targeting its completion in three months before the onset of the monsoon season. The canopy project would be executed at a cost of Rs. 38 lakh in front of the air cargo terminal which was commissioned in 2011.

With air cargo export volume on the upswing over the years, exporters felt the need for the establishment of a canopy so that their commodities did not get spoilt while being offloaded at the cargo terminal during monsoon season.
04/03/15 Thre Hindu

CPI(M), TMC attack govt on airports privatisation

New Delhi: CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress on Tuesday joined hands in the Rajya Sabha to slam the NDA government over "privatisation" of airports, asking how this "loot" of public money was being allowed.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Tapan Sen (CPI-M) said private agencies were being roped in for operation and maintenance of airports in Kolkata, Chennai, Jaipur and Ahmedabad even as Airport Authority of India (AAI) had carried out modernisation work at these airports with public money.

An effort was on to involve private sector in all airports after modernisation, he said.

Noting that 20 airports in the country were modernised with public money worth over Rs 27,000 crore, Sen rued that the AAI, which carried out this work, was now virtually being converted into a body only renting its properties out.
03/03/15 ZeeNews

Ahmedabad airport tops in fliers’complaints

Ahmedabad:  The city airport recorded the highest number of complaints related to services and hygiene among all the domestic airports in the country in 2014. This was informed to Lok Sabha by Mahesh Sharma, minister of state for civil aviation, on Monday.

The government received a total of 462 complaints from air passengers regarding issues such as poor service standards, hygiene and negligence of duties at country's various airports last year.

Sharma said in a written reply that the highest number of complaints (60) was received at Ahmedabad airport, followed by Ranchi (37) and Rajkot (27) among the 48 domestic airports during the period January-December 2014.

Ahmedabad airport is among the four airports to be privatized by central government later this year and the process has already begun.
03/03/15 Piyush Mishra/Times of India

‘Taxing port and airport construction unfavourable’

Chennai: Bringing construction and installation of airports and ports under service tax in the Budget 2015-16 will have a ‘nasty effect’ on the infrastructure sector, said K Vaitheeswaran, Advocate and Tax Consultant.

“Cost of new construction projects will increase due to this. It is a super tax on ports and airports. From 2004 there was never a tax on infrastructure for ports and airports,” he said analysing Budget 2015-16, organised by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Construction and installation provided to government are also taxable. The changes take effect on April 1, 2015.
03/03/15 Business Line

Collector orders steps to check bird menace

Visakhapatnam: District Collector N. Yuvaraj directed the officials concerned to ensure proper maintenance of the geddas (major drains) located at Gnanpuram, Convent junction, Kobbarithota and Port area to prevent birds coming in the way of landing and takeoff of planes from the airport.

The Collector presided over a meeting of the Airport Committee at the Collectorate on Tuesday. Officials of the Navy, Airport, Visakhapatnam Port, Revenue, Irrigation, AP Pollution Control Board attended.
04/03/15 The Hindu

Chandigarh airport ranked no.8 in country by private agency

Chandigarh: Although services of international flights at the local airport continue to elude passengers, a survey conducted by an independent agency, Airport Services Quality (ASQ), has awarded rank 8 to the city airport in India and 41 in the world. ASQ assessed passenger facilities across 254 airports around the world.
The survey records a passenger’s immediate appraisal from check-in through departure at the gate on 34 key service indicators and eight major categories including access, check-in, security, airport facilities, food and beverage, retail and more.
Speaking to Newsline, J S Balhara, Director, Airport Authority of India, Chandigarh, said, “In the recent period efforts had been made by the staff to uplift the airport facilities by adding more baggage trolleys, seats in waiting areas, upgrading the quality of lounges and waiting areas and keeping sanitised toilets for giving out quality services.”
04/03/15 Kartik Kumar/Indian Express

IndiGo launches new website to enhance customer experience

Budget passenger carrier IndiGo said on Tuesday that it has launched its new website which is designed to enhance customer experience.

According to the airline, the new redesigned website, operational since March 1, is aimed at improving user friendliness and appeal.

The new layout said the airline has been specifically designed to offer customers new and enhanced functions and features.

“We are confident that the revamped website will be appreciated by our customers as it introduces new features, while making it extremely user-friendly,” said Aditya Ghosh, president, IndiGo.

“The timing of the launch of the new webpage coincides well with the take-off of the new additional flights launched in the domestic skies, earlier this month.”
03/03/15 Economy Lead

Two Indians caught for smuggling gold at Mumbai airport

Two Indian passengers were caught smuggling gold on Monday night at Mumbai airport. The duo was identified as Milanoor Mohammed Asif who arrived by flight AI 331 (Bangkok-Ahmedabad via Mumbai) and Rubeena Begum, who arrived by Oman Airways flight. Both were caught following a random check in the green channel as they were carrying the gold in their hand baggage. Around 2 kg gold was recovered from the duo. Both were charged Rs. 50,000 and were released on bail. While Asif was caught with 850 grams of gold Rubeena had 920 grams in her possession. The total value of the yellow metal caught by the AIU was around Rs.51,000. According to a Mumbai Customs Officer a lot of smugglers have been apprehended from AI 331.
04/03/15 Mid Day

Cops hunt flier who vanished from airport

Mumbai: The police are hunting for a 25-year-old Mangalorean man who mysteriously vanished from Mumbai airport, after arriving from Riyadh on February 22.

Mohammed Safwan Aboobaker was to catch a connecting domestic flight from Mumbai to Mangalore, but he never boarded it. The city police are now tracking his cell phone, which is being switched on sporadically.

An air-conditioning technician in Saudi Arabia, Safwan was heading home to his family in Uppinangady, Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, when he went missing.

Safwan's family has said that he was heading home for good, and was supposed to board the domestic flight to Mangalore. They approached the Sahar police on February 24, after learning that he had indeed caught the flight to India from Riyadh on February 22.
04/03/15 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror 

Gold-smuggling probe falls in Ahmedabad agencies’ mine

Ahmedabad: Probe into the 60-kg-gold smuggling case, detected by crime branch at the city airport last week, seems to be lost in letters among various agencies. In the past one week, only letters have been exchanged among three agencies while the accused were in remand. Since the seizure was made right outside the airport and the value of gold is more than Rs 1 crore, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Customs have written to crime branch asking for the details of the case for further investigation. Initially, the Customs department wrote to crime branch asking for information. Later, the crime branch wrote to DRI saying that it wishes to hand over the case details and the seized gold to the intelligence agency.
04/03/15 Times of India

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Govt finds fake pre-flight medical certificates with crew

New Delhi: Instances of crew members getting fake pre-flight medical certificates have come to the notice of aviation regulator DGCA and action has been initiated against a doctor, the government told Lok Sabha on Monday.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply that there have been instances of issuance of "fake pre-flight medical certificates to the crew members," which have come to DGCA's (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) notice.
"A doctor employed with one of the non-scheduled operators, during the period between February 23, 2014 and March 14, 2014, was falsely certifying that the crew were not under the influence of alcohol without conducting the mandatory breath analyser test...," he said.
02/03/15 Echo of India

AI sees 133 pending cases of indiscipline, mismgmt in ’14

New Delhi: As many as 133 cases were pending before the national carrier Air India with regard to indiscipline, mismanagement and corruption, among other complaints, in 2014, the government said today. Giving details of complaints  Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said there were 133 such cases pending last year.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, he said that 60 “penalty/warnings” were issued in 2014 while charges were not established in 32 complaints. Last year, three cases were closed due to death, voluntary retirement or retirement of concerned individuals. The count of cases pending last year is way higher than 60 registered in 2013. The same was at just 28 in 2012.

Meanwhile, 255 penalty or warnings were issued in 2013, and the number was slightly lower than 261 seen in 2012. As on January 1, 2015, the national carrier had 11,860 employees excluding those working with its two subsidiaries — Air India Engineering Services Ltd and Air India Air Transport Services Ltd.
02/03/15 Free Press Journal

Air India pilots protest move to hire staff on contract

Mumbai: Air India, which has initiated the process to recruit 197 pilots on contract for its Airbus fleet, has come under severe criticism from its existing pilots for such recruitment as a bulk of its pilots are awaiting opportunities to upgrade from their existing positions.
The Air India pilots union which is recognised by the airline, Indian Commercial Pilot’s Association (ICPA), has written to the chairman of the airline, Rohit Nandan, and the minister of civil aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, as well as other officials of the ministry raising their concern.
“Air India currently has more than enough pilots to fly its planes. While pilots with as many as 7-8 years of experience are not getting upgraded to command position, the airline is planning to bring in pilots from outside on a contract basis. This is wasteful use of resources when the airline is a lossmaking entity and has over Rs 40,000 crore of net debt,” said a senior captain with the airline.
Air India currently has 1,464 pilots in its ranks, while its fleet consists of about 110 aircraft. The airline wants to hire pilots on contract for its Airbus 320 fleet, consisting of 17 aircraft, some of which have been taken on lease.
02/03/15 Rhik Kundu/Financial Express

Air India begins procedure to recruit 197 pilots: minister

New Delhi: National carrier Air India has initiated the process for recruiting 197 pilots, taking into consideration its fleet augmentation plans and retirements that will happen in the next two years.
Air India had a strength of 1,464 pilots as on 1 February this year.
"In view of the fleet augmentation and the retirements to take place in the next two years, Air India has advertised for filing up of 197 vacancies," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
Last fiscal, the carrier hired just one pilot while there was no recruitment of pilots in 2013-14 period. Prior to that, two pilots were hired in 2012-13 fiscal while the number stood at 39 during 2011-12 financial year.
According to the minister, pilots are subjected to fly only within the applicable Flight Duty and Time Limitations (FDTL).
Necessary system has been in place, whereby, all operational situations are catered for exercising better
supervision and control, he noted.
02/03/15 First Post

Vistara to have fleet size of 20 aircraft by 2018

New Delhi: Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, today said its fleet size will be increased to 20 by 2018, from five at present. Phee Teik Yeoh, Chief Executive Officer, Vistara (Tata SIA) Airlines Ltd also said that the aviation industry in India is facing challenges such as high fuel cost and a high tax regime. “By April, we will have 6 aircraft and gradually increase to 9 by the end of this calendar year. Eventually, we will grow to 20 brand new A320 by 2018,” Yeoh told reporters in a press conference.

The airlines today launched its first flight from Hyderabad to New Delhi. Having started with its operations on January 9, with 68 frequencies weekly, Vistara now operates 164 flights in a week. According to Yeoh, all macro economic indicators are favourable to the growth of Indian aviation industry which is expected to grow at 9-10 per cent in FY16.

Replying to a query on challenges that the Indian Aviation Industry is facing, Yeoh said government should work on addressing the issues such as high aviation turbine fuel coast which is 40-60 per cent more expensive than other countries. He also said that government must remove the 5/20 rule — five years of flying experience, and a fleet size of 20 — for allowing domestic airlines to fly globally.
02/03/15 Siasat

Stranded Pakistanis arrive in Lahore after PM sends special flight to New Delhi

Islamabad: After Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took notice of over 200 passengers stranded at New Delhi Airport due to  some technical fault in a Gulf Air aircraft, a special flight was sent for their evacuation, which arrived in Lahore on Tuesday.
Gul Air’s flight GF-766, that took off from Bahrain at 4am on Sunday, was supposed to arrive at the Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport the same day at 9am. However, due to a thunderstorm, the aircraft developed some technical fault and had to be diverted to New Delhi. But passengers have since been stuck in India.
Speaking to Express News some of the passengers expressed their gratitude to India and the PM for their support and help in the situation.
“We were provided with hotel rooms and food and they took very good care of us. We did not even feel like we were anywhere else, it felt like we were in Pakistan and they (India) treated us like family,” another passenger informed.
03/02/15 Abdul Manan/Tribune

Stranded Pakistani passengers return home

Over 200 Pakistani passengers stuck in New Delhi after their flight was struck by lightning forcing the aircraft to land, returned home on Tuesday.

Their ordeal began when pilots of Gulf Air flight GF-766 were forced to land in New Delhi after the aircraft developed technical faults.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took notice of the incident on Monday and directed Shujaat Azeem the aviation advisor to arrange a special flight if needed to bring the passengers home.

The prime minister had also directed the Pakistan High Commission in India to look after the well being of the stranded passengers.
03/03/15 The News

Tough Time for Pakistan Passengers at IGI

New Delhi: Over 200 Pakistani nationals, who were stranded at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) here after their flight was diverted from Lahore due to technical snag, were forced to undergo a harrowing experience on Monday. The passengers, including children, had to  confine themselves to the plane for over eight hours and then in the lounge, with little food and facilities.

The Gulf Air flight GF766 was en route from Bahrain to Lahore with 214 passengers on Sunday evening. As they were nearing Lahore, the plane was apparently struck by lightning.

The passengers remained inside the aircraft  for over eight hours, before they were allowed to disembark on Monday morning.

Later, they were all asked to go and sit near Gate no 15 in the transit lounge, where they settled down. Feeling neglected by both the airline and airport authorities, the passengers had to scramble for food. After some of the passengers protested, they were given lunch at a restaurant and were given sandwiches later.
03/03/15 Devirupa/Indian Express

12,564 lost flyer baggages found last year, 4,909 returned

New Delhi: 12,564 passenger baggages and articles were found as lost properties from 67 airports, including the international airports in the country last year, of which 4,909 were returned to the flyers. The maximum number of such lost properties was reported from the Chennai airport, where the authorities found 3,386 lugagges/articles during the period between January-December 2014, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.  Of these, 857 lost properties were returned to flyers during the period.
02/03/15 PTI/Business Standard

Airports modernisation plan hits Airports Authority of India employee opposition

While the ministry wants to call it public private partnership (PPP), the AAEU is very sure it is privatisation of the airports that are being handed over to private parties for operation, management and development for 30 years, with the option of extending it to another 30 years on same terms and conditions.

On Monday, civil aviation minister Mahesh Sharma told Parliament there was no proposal to privatise airports in the country.

“However, based on the recommendations of Task Force on Financing Plan for Airports during 12th Five Year Plan period, set up by erstwhile Planning Commission, the government has initiated the process for undertaking operation, management and development of Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports through Public Private Partnership (PPP),” he told the Lok Sabha.

This was quickly refuted by AAEU’s general secretary Balraj Singh Ahlawat, who believes the manner in which the government was handing over the four airports for development, operations and management, it was as good as privatisation.
03/03/15 Daily News & Analysis

No Proposal to Privatize Airports

Delhi: Presently, there is no proposal to privatize airports in the country. However, based on the recommendations of Task Force on Financing Plan for Airports during 12th Five Year Plan period, set up by erstwhile Planning Commission, Government of India has initiated the process for undertaking operation, management and development of Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports through Public Private Partnership (PPP). Airports Authority of India (AAI) has issued Request for Qualification documents on December 30, last year. The Government has asked AAI management to evolve a mechanism for protection of the interests of the employees deployed at the above four airports.
02/03/15 Business Standard

Air India may find it hard to bridge budget deficit in 2015-16

New Delhi: Air India is likely to find it difficult to bridge the deficit of about Rs 1,800 crore in the next fiscal, executives said, reacting to the government's proposal in the budget to give the cash-strapped airline Rs 2,500 crore instead of theRs 4,277 crore it had sought.

"We were to get Rs 720 crore due from the last fiscal, which has also not been allocated. This is going to create a lot of pressure on us, as we will be left with no option but to raise money through debt and that is costly. We will need this money and will approach the government again," said a senior AI executive, who did not want to be identified.

According to the executives, about Rs 3,400 crore of the Rs 4,277 crore was to be used for servicing interest on loans for aircraft purchase, interest payments of the non-convertible debenture issue and other fiscal, guaranteed loans.
03/02/15 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Air India receives 19th Dreamliner

New Delhi: State-run carrier Air India today said it has taken the delivery of its 19th Dreamliner aircraft and plans to induct one more this month.

The aircraft, which was delivered to the carrier last week, would cater to the Delhi-Cochin-Dubai route of Air India, a release said.

As a part of its fleet expansion plans, Air India had placed orders for 68 aircraft with Boeing Company in January, 2006, including for 27 Dreamliners and 41 B-777s and B-737- 800s. It had taken the delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner in September, 2012.

The delivery of the 20th and 21st Dreamliners are scheduled to take place by end March and in June this year, the airline said.
02/03/15 Economic Times

Govt Receives 462 Complaints From Air Passengers Last Year :Ministry

New Delhi:  The government has received a total of 462 complaints from air passengers regarding issues such as poor service standards, hygiene and negligence of duties at country's various airports last year, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply that the highest number of complaints (60) were received at Ahmedabad airport, followed by Ranchi (37) and Rajkot (27) among the 48 domestic airports during the period between January-December 2014.

Improvement in standard of service and hygiene at airports is a continuous process and Airports Authority of India and private airport operators have taken necessary steps to improve the professional standards at the airports, Sharma said in reply to another question.

Airport Service Quality Survey and Customer Satisfaction Index Survey are carried out at airports to assess the service quality for further improvement, the minister said.
02/05/15 PTI/New Indian Express

Economic Survey gaffe stuns Sangh

Thiruvananthapuram: The NDA government's economic survey has referred to a stalled airport project in Kerala as a live one, shocking the local Sangh parivar that sees its success in blocking the plan as a feather in its cap.

The Sangh's efforts had led to the National Green Tribunal quashing the previous UPA government's environmental clearance to the private airport project at Aranmula, a Unesco Global Heritage Village in Pathanamthitta district, last summer. The Supreme Court later upheld the ruling.

An embarrassed state BJP has sought to cap the latest controversy by terming the economic survey citation a technical error. But a follow-up statement by the private promoter asserting the airport would be built has further enraged the project's Sangh opponents.

"We have requested finance minister Arun Jaitley to drop the remarks (on the project) from the 2014-15 survey report," said a statement from Kummanan Rajasekharan, senior Sangh pracharak and patron of the Aranmula Heritage Village Protection Council.

It referred to the green tribunal and court rulings to add: "(The) officials who prepared the report did not do so after examining all the papers. Hence the remarks... are unnecessary and irrelevant."
The tribunal blow to the project had handed the Sangh its first big victory in Kerala on the environment front, till then a Left preserve.
02/03/15 Ananthakrishnan G./Telegraph

Come April, Vistara to fly to Guwahati, Bagdogra from Delhi

Targeting more high-density traffic airports in the country, Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture carrier Vistara today announced plans to launch services from next month to Guwahati and Bagdogra in the Northeast.

The announcement comes close on the heels of the airline entering southern India with the launch of air services to Hyderabad from the national capital.

The latest full-service airline, after state-run Air India and private carrier Jet Airways, Vistara currently operates across five domestic airports -- New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Goa and Hyderabad, which are all high-density traffic airports for one reason or the other.

Vistara will operate daily services from April 2 connecting Delhi with Guwahati and Bagdogra, the airline said in a release today.
03/03/15 PTI/Economic Times

Vistara to launch maiden services to northeast

New Delhi: Tata's full service passenger carrier Vistara Tuesday announced its foray into the northeast with the addition of Guwahati and Bagdogra to its domestic network.

According to the airline, it will commence services from April 2 on Delhi-Guwahati-Bagdogra-Delhi route.

"We've had lots of customers asking us to fly to the eastern India over the past month, so we're delighted to launch this new route in response to the customer demand," Vistara chief executive Phee Teik Yeoh said in a statement.

"The addition of this route reaffirms our commitment to promote regional connectivity in India, and contribute to the Government's efforts to boost trade and opening up development avenues for people in these regions."

The airline had earlier announced the launch of new services to Goa and Hyderabad from Feb 20 and March 1, respectively.
03/03/15 IANS/Business Standard

Singh injects first tranche of $81mn into Indian LCC Spicejet

Spicejet has secured its first tranche of fresh capital from new majority shareholder and promoter, Ajay Singh, a week after the Indian authorities gave their final approval to his acquisition of previous owner Kal Airways Pvt Ltd and Kalanithi Maran's 60.31% stake in the airline.

Of the original INR15 billion (USD243 million) promised by Singh in his original investment plan for Spicejet, INR5 billion (USD81 million) has now been received with outstanding employee salaries and back service taxes having now been serviced. A second tranche of INR4 billion (USD65 million) is expected later this week while the remaining INR6 billion (USD97 million) is due in April.
03/03/15 ch-aviation

Jet Airways does first on Twitter in India, unveils ‘#JetInstant’

New Delhi: Jet Airways, helmed by Naresh Goyal, today unveiled #JetInstant, a first of its kind online feature that enables guests to access information on airfares and flights in real-time through Twitter.
The customer-centric initiative is part of Jet Airwas’ strategy to simplify the travel experience and engage with guests on a real-time basis.
Jet Airways’ initiative has been developed in collaboration with Twitter and technology partner, TravelSpends.
Cramer Ball, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways said: “Innovation has always been a key feature in Jet Airways’ operating philosophy and #JetInstant is another pioneering customer driven initiative. By using digital and social media platforms, we will empower our guests with information that can help them plan their travel more efficiently and enhance their overall experience with Jet Airways.”
Arvinder Gujral, Director, Business Development, Twitter India and SE Asia, said: “Twitter always has and will continue to encourage innovation on our platform. This is a first for us in the field of aviation in India and we congratulate Jet Airways for their creative use of Twitter.”
03/03/15 Financial Express

Andal airport project now in final stage

Kolkata: Engineers and technicians from the communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS) wing of Airports Authority of India (AAI) began installing navigational equipment at Andal airport near Durgapur on Monday. This is the final component for the facility to become operational.

"The radio construction and development unit (RCDU) of CNS has reached Andal to install navigational aids necessary for flight operations. We hope to complete installation of all systems, including Visually
-enhanced VHF Omni-directional Range (VVOR) and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), as well as flight calibration, by mid-March. Thereafter, the airport will be ready for operations subject to license from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)," AAI general manager (CNS-Eastern Region) B R Sena said.
Airport developer Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL) has sought for permission to operate Airbus A320 or Boeing B737 (Category 4C) aircraft from Andal, christened Kaji Nazrul Islam Airport by Mamata Banerjee. But it can only make the final application after the airport is absolutely ready to handle flights.
03/03/15 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India

Bengaluru airport to get its first perishable cargo facility

Bengaluru: Air India SATS Airport Services, a joint venture between Air India and Singapore Airport Terminal Services, will have a 40,000-tonne per annum capacity perishable cargo handling centre 'AISATS Coolport' up and running at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in the next 12 months. The joint venture between Air India and the Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS), broke ground for Bengaluru's first fully-dedicated perishable cargo handling centre, spread over 60,000 square feet, the 'AISATS Coolport', at the KIA on Monday.
The facility, with a provision of about 135 kilo Volt Ampere (KVA) power supply for its operations through solar energy, a first for an air freight terminal in India. The AISATS Coolport will cater to a wide range of commodities such as pharmaceutical products, fruits, vegetables and flowers. The facility will be equipped with a drug controller lab testing facility, separate ripening zone, land-side truck-docks, warehousing and re-distribution centres, cold room facilities with different temperature zones and a testing facility according to the plant quarantine requirements for European Union and US-bound shipments.
02/03/15 Business Standard

Kingfisher Airlines fails to repay loan, SBI Cap confiscates properties

SBI Cap Trustee Company Limited, the wholly owned subsidiary of SBI Capital Markets Limited, has confiscated Vijay Mallya's defunct carrier Kingfisher Airline's office property in Mumbai. The investment banking subsidiary of SBI Capital, took possession of the property after Vijay Mallya failed to repay the debt to the value of Rs 6027.42 crore.

The company had issued a demand notice to the airline and its directors, on May 3, 2013 under Section 13 (2) of the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002.

"... Calling upon the borrowers, Kingfisher Airlines Limited...and the guarantors-- United Breweries (Holdings) Limited (UBHL) having registered office at UB Towers and Vijay Mallya residing in UB Towers to repay the amount mentioned in the notice being Rs 6,027.42 crores and interest thereon with 60 days from the day of notice," stated the notice issued on February 24, 2015.
02/03/15 Purba Das/Business Insider

Malaysia Airlines offers discounts, deals for events

Chennai: Malaysia Airlines offers discounts up to 30 per cent for travellers from India on its worldwide network. According to a press release from the airline, the travel validity is up to December 31, 2015.

Quoting its Regional Senior Vice-President, Azahar Hamid, the release adds, “With sporting events happening across the globe, we hope that travellers can take advantage of this sale and enjoy the games live.
02/03/15 Business Line

India's carbon emission increased by 1.57%: govt

New Delhi: India's total carbon emission rose from 15.39 million tonnes in 2012 to 15.63 million tonnes in 2013, marking an increase of 1.57 per cent, government told the Lok Sabha today but underlined that developing countries have no legal binding on reducing carbon emissions.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, who gave this information while replying to questions, said the rise in carbon emission was attributed to introduction of new routes for airlines and overall increase in aircraft movement.

At the same time, he said, "The total emission of 15.63 million tonnes in 2013 represent less than 1 per cent of India's anthropogenic emissions which is significantly lower than the corresponding global average of 2-3 per cent."

Though the overall aircraft movement and passenger growth have increased in 2013 in comparison with 2012, an overall decrease in carbon emission per aircraft and carbon emission per passenger have been observed, the minister said.
02/03/15 PTI/Business Standard

India Explores New Helicopter Options with Russia

At the recent Aero India show in Bangalore, Russian Helicopters held further talks with Indian officials about possible licensed production of the Mi-17 and Ka-226, following the agreement in principle by the heads of state last December. According to authoritative sources, the Russian side also offered to supply “an improved version of the Ka-31 with higher performance.” The Indian navy operates approximately a dozen of these ship-based airborne early-warning and naval surveillance rotorcraft.

“We and our Indian partners are in discussions on a follow-on contract for one more batch of the Mi-17V5,” said Alexander Mikheyev, general manager of Russian Helicopters. But, he added, “The Mil design house is working on new versions of the Mi-17 with improved hot-and-high performance, the key to further sales into India.” The company has already delivered 121 Mi-17s to India. The original agreement signed in 2008 specified 80 aircraft, but the Indians have since exercised three options, bringing to 151 the current total to be received. These helicopters are delivered in a customized Indian version, including a glass cockpit from Russian Avionics. India has more than 300 Mi-8/17s.
02/03/15 Vladimir Karnozov/AINonline

I have lost interest in everything I held dear: helping farmers, reading and watching TV

Pune: Dealing with death of a loved one is a Herculean task. But accepting and trying to understand the inexplicable disappearance of one's own can make for a torturous existence for those left behind grappling for answers and not finding them. For 44-year-old Pralhad Shirsath, whose wife Kranti was on that fateful Malaysia Airlines' flight MH370 which disappeared within an hour of its take off from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 am on March 8, 2014, it is as if all his ties with life has been snapped. Kranti was on that flight to join him at Pyongyang, but never got there. He has since quit his job as the country head for Concern Worldwide, a multi-national NGO, in North Korea and returned home to take charge of his two school-going sons. A year later, his life is purely woven around them and scanning for information on what it was that plucked his partner of 19 years away from him and his children. This is his story.

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is park myself before the computer and Google for any news or new theory doing the rounds on the MH370 that disappeared. There are various theories that keep popping up. I scan them for possible answers. We have no answers yet.

All we have are theories. We keep getting e-mails from the officials about the status of the investigations. But these mails offer nothing new. All they convey is the area covered by the search teams. I have no explanation to give our relatives or even my children, who keep asking me about the progress of the investigations. This was their question even as I left home this afternoon.

I have lost interest in most things I held dear earlier. I have stopped reading, something I was avid about. I barely watch television. I had a passion for helping farmers. My 11-year work life abroad was about deployment of technology in dairy and other farming activities to enhance productivity. I wanted to share my experience and expertise with my folks back home.
03/03/15 Mayuri Phadnis/Pune Mirror 

SilkAir plans to offer flights to Pune

SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines is planning to start operations to Pune. The airline already flies to eight destinations in India namely; Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam- plans to expand its network to Tier II and Tier III cities in India.
Speaking about the new developments, Jagdish Ram Bhojwani, general manager- India, SilkAir said, “In terms of the existing range of fleets, we can only fly to the south market, but we will soon get our Boeing Max which will give us a range of six to six and half hours from Singapore. Pune will be the next target city for us. Pune is a city which has both MICE and leisure travellers. Moreover, travellers coming to Singapore from Pune have to take a flight from Mumbai, which becomes hectic.”
When asked about the date of operation Bhojwani added, “Pune does not fall under the India- Singapore Bilateral Agreement. From our side we have intended to start operations.”
With the reduction of fuel prices the aviation sector has undergone a major transformation. “We have announced a fuel charge reduction effective from February. Passing the benefits to our customer is our main objective.”
02/03/15 Akshay Kumar/Financial Express

Baby’s death forces Bahrain flight to land in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: An 11-month-old Indian child died aboard a flight from India to Bahrain on Monday, according to a relative of the family.
When the infant showed physical discomfort, the Gulf Air flight from Kochi to Bahrain made an emergency landing at Abu Dhabi airport Monday morning, but she had already died, the relative, Ratheesh Kumar, told Gulf News.
The infant, Rishi Priya, boarded the flight with her mother, Aswani Binoy, early on Monday morning bound for Bahrain where the child’s father, Binoy Mundakkal, is working, Kumar said.
A senior official at Abu Dhabi Airport confirmed the incident. Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, told Gulf News: “The flight was given priority in the landing queue. The airport medical team was waiting at the gate. Unfortunately, the infant died. Her body was transferred to Shaikh Khalifa Medical City.” Al Haddabi added that the infant’s mother was assisted with a temporary visa and then transported to a relative’s residence in Abu Dhabi.
02/03/15 Binsal Abdul Kader/Gulf News

'Timeline not fixed for deciding aeronautical tariff at IGIA'

New Delhi: The government today told the Lok Sabha that AERA has not fixed a "definite timeline" for determining aeronautical tariff with respect to Delhi international airport for the five-year period from April 1, 2014.

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) decides the tariff and other charges for the aeronautical services rendered at major airports, including that of Delhi and Mumbai.

AERA has issued a consultation paper for determination of aeronautical tariffs in respect of Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), Delhi, for the second control period -- April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019.
02/03/15 PTI/Business Standard

Ahmedabad airport tops list of passeneger woes

Ahmedabad: Ahmedabad tops the list of airports that received highest complaints from air passengers last year, while Rajkot is on the third position, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday. The Centre received a total of 462 complaints from air passengers regarding issues such as poor service standards, hygiene and negligence of duties at country's airports last year. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply that 60 complaints, the highest, were received at Ahmedabad airport, followed by Ranchi (37) and Rajkot (27) among the 48 domestic airports between January- December 2014.

Sharma also informed the House that Kolkata airport has been declared as the best improved airport in Asia Pacific region by the Airport Council of India for two consecutive years (2013 and 2014). R K Singh, Director, Ahmedabad Airport, said, "I do not have information regarding the number of complaints. I will have to verify withour headquarters. Whatever complaints we receive through our public grievances department, we follow it up." Improvement in standard of service and hygiene at airports is a continuous process and Airports Authority of India (AAI) and private airport operators have taken necessary steps to improve the professional standards at the airports, Sharma said in reply to another question.
03/03/15 Ahmedabad Mirror

Pakistan International Airlines acquires property in Delhi without RBI approval

New Delhi: Pakistani carrier PIA purchased immovable property in the national capital without obtaining prior approval from the Reserve Bank, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.
Replying to a question on foreign companies acquired flats/offices in India without prior approval, Minister of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha said one case has come to the notice of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
“… a foreign company has acquired immovable property in the country without obtaining mandatory clearance from the RBI.
“The case relates to acquisition of six flats and a car parking space in New Delhi by Pakistan International Airlines,” Sinha said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
03/03/15 PTI/Indian Express

Afghan national among two held for smuggling gold at airport

New Delhi: Two persons, including an Afghan national, were arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country gold valuing over Rs 40 lakh at international airport here in two separate incidents.

In the first incident, an Afghan national was intercepted by customs officials after his arrival here on Sunday from Dubai. He had allegedly tried to clear gold weighing 844 gm out of the airport without declaring it, a press release issued by the department said.

The passenger was arrested and gold valuing about Rs 20.83 lakh was seized, it said.

In another case, a passenger was intercepted by customs officials after his arrival from Riyadh here yesterday.
03/03/15 PTI/Business Standard

Woman air passenger held for trying to smuggle gold bars

Mumbai: A woman passenger has been arrested at the Mumbai international airport for allegedly trying to smuggle 3.84 kgs of gold worth about Rs 94.94 lakh into the country from the UAE, a Customs official said today.

The passenger, Nitaben Desai, holding an Indian passport, was intercepted by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officials on suspicion after she landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport here from Abu Dhabi on an Etihad Airways flight on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, the official said.

A detailed examination of her baggage and personal search resulted in the recovery of 33 gold bars collectively weighing 3.847 kgs. The total value of the seized yellow metal is estimated to be Rs 94.94 lakh, the official said.
02/03/15 PTI/Business Standard