Thursday, July 24, 2014

Govt plans 200 low-cost airports to connect Tier-II, Tier-III towns

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is moving ahead with plans to develop 200 low-cost airports in Tier-II Tier-III towns across country in the next years and has already identified 50 such cities under the first phase of this development.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has drawn up a low-cost model as the first step to provide air connectivity to these smaller towns where it was felt a sufficient number of people could afford to pay for air travel if the facility is made available.
Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju had in his presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month included plans for the development of 50 no-frill airports in several states and greenfield airports which are in the pipeline for Navi Mumbai, Juhu, Goa, Kannur, Pune, Sriperumbudur, Bellary and Raigarh.
During the 12th Plan (ending March 31, 2017) alone, about Rs 1,500 crore is being earmarked to develop non-metro airports. The idea is to connect Tier II and Tier III cities and enhance air traffic beyond metros.
23/07/14 Business Today

Jet, Etihad reinforce commitment to growth of Indian aviation

Dubai: Jet Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways have outlined plans to reinforce their long-term commitment to the growth of India's economy and aviation industry, including a major new turnaround strategy for Jet Airways to return to profitability in three years, it has been announced.

The two airlines have been codeshare partners since 2008 and their relationship was strengthened in November 2013, after Etihad Airways received approvals to acquire a 24% stake in Jet Airways, marking it the first investment by a foreign carrier in India's airline industry.

The wide-ranging partnership has numerous advantages for travellers, including enhanced connections across the world through an expanded codeshare agreement, reciprocal 'earn and burn' rights and tier level recognition on the JetPrivilege and Etihad Guest frequent flyer programmes, said a report.

Jet Airways and Etihad Airways also stand to benefit from cost savings and synergies in areas such as fleet acquisition, maintenance, product development and training, it said.

They continue to explore collaborative purchasing opportunities for fuel, spare parts, insurance and technology support, it added.
24/07/14 PTI/Business Standard

With Etihad on board, Jet Airways chalks profitability plans

New Delhi: Jet Airways, India's No.2 airline by market share, will look at selling planes and restructuring its debts in its quest to turn profitable in the next three years.

The airline, which suffered a loss of Rs 4,130 crore in 2013-14, said it was planning a major overhaul of its fleet and products.

"We plan to reduce losses in 2015, consolidate in 2016 and turn profitable in 2017... We are already on track as our international business has turned profitable. We now have to take our business forward," Jet's CEO designate Cramer Ball told reporters. Ball is yet to get necessary clearances to take over his position.

Like all but one of India's major airlines, Jet, in which Gulf carrier Etihad recently bought a 24% stake, is losing money fast, beset by high costs, low fares and cut-throat competition in the domestic market.
24/07/14 Daily News & Analysis

Jet Airways to restructure ops, announce 'new product'

India’s largest full-service carrier Jet Airways said on Wednesday that it is restructuring its loss-making domestic operations with a view to achieving profitability by 2016-17 and will shortly announce a “new product” towards this end. The carrier is also in talks with bankers to restructure its rupee-denominated debts by raising lower-cost $150 million dollar debt.
“We are in the process of finalising our new product. We will announce it soon. We are looking to restructure our balance sheet for which we are working with bankers and creditors. We are also looking to consolidate our fleet,” Jet chairman Naresh Goyal said at the first press conference jointly organised by Jet and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad after the latter picked up a 24% stake for over R2,000 crore last year in Jet.
Added Jet CEO-designate Cramer Ball, “Its been tough over recent years, but we have a commitment to re-establish Jet as India’s leading airline. We plan to reduce losses in 2015, consolidate in 2016 and turn profitable in 2017. We are already on track as our international business has turned profitable — it will be 63% of our revenues by 2016 from 45% today. We now have to take our business forward through higher load factors and reducing unit cost by 17%”.
24/07/14 Financial Express

Air India won't be privatised: Raju

New Delhi: Ruling out privatisation of Air India, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today said several decisions like that on aircraft purchases were "forced" on it and taken without commercial planning in mind.
There has been "a lot of debate going on whether Air India should be privatised or not. But Air India has been doing its work which is necessary. It is called the continuing of its social commitment," he said referring to the recent evacuation from Iraq undertaken by the national carrier.
To a question on its falling market share, Raju said, "Air India has been sliding, there is no doubt about it, probably (due to) certain decisions which were forced on Air India."
Asked what were these decisions, the minister said, "Like in Parliament we face questions so similar to the allegations that have come out ... It has been pushed to, in the sense that, like buying and selling of aircraft. This does not appear to have been done with commercial plan in mind."
23/07/14 Business Standard

Jet deal opens up the skies to India and beyond for Etihad

New Delhi: Jet is looking to operate non-stop flights to Europe, China, Australia, the Middle East, South East Asia and neigbouring Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, said Naresh Goyal, the Jet chairman.

“Our focus remains to develop hubs in Mumbai and Delhi,” he said.

Jet will also link more points in India to Abu Dhabi, for onward connections, besides operating its own flights beyond Abu Dhabi to North America and the Middle East, and increase frequencies to Abu Dhabi. New routes will be introduced between Abu Dhabi and Goa, Ahmedabad, Pune and Lucknow by the year-end.

Focus will also remain on the international sector as competition increases in the domestic carrier market.

“Our international operations are already profitable and contribute 45 per cent to our total revenue,” said Naresh Goyal, the chairman of Jet Airways. “We [plan to] increase the contribution to 63 per cent by 2015.”

For Etihad, the partnership means access to more than 50 destinations in India through Jet and 42 million travellers in India’s domestic market. It currently has access to 20 destinations in India.
23/07/14 Sananda Sahoo/The National

UP signs MoU to upgrade Allahabad, Kanpur, Agra airports

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government and the Airport Authority of India Limited (AAI) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to upgrade airports in Uttar Pradesh for commercial purposes.

There are regular domestic flights to Allahabad and Agra, where the airports are operational from Bamrauli Air Force and Kheria Air Force stations respectively.
Although the Delhi-Kanpur-Kolkata flights were launched two years ago, they have been discontinued at Kanpur Airport at Chakeri Air Force station because of poor commercial viability.
Meerut's BR Ambedkar Airport at Partapur is used only for unscheduled flights. There are also airports in Moradabad in West UP and Faizabad in East UP, but they aren't big enough to handle commercial flights.
23/07/14 Piyush Srivastava/Business Today

SpiceJet announces additional flights

Hyderabad: SpiceJet has announced the introduction of new flights serving Delhi-Hyderabad, Delhi-Tirupati via Hyderabad, and Delhi-Bangalore effective August 15, 2014.

These flights will operate 4 days a week (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) for a limited period between August 15 and September 8, 2014.

The promotional fare for Delhi-Hyderabad flight starts at Rs 2,999 and for Hyderabad-Tirupati, at Rs 1,999 all inclusive. The introductory promotional fare for Delhi-Hyderabad-Tirupati flight starts at Rs 4,499 all inclusive. The fare between Delhi and Bangalore starts at Rs 3,999, all inclusive.
23/07/14 Business Line

MAS selling India MRO unit stake

Hyderabad: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is exiting its joint-venture with GMR Group, with the later expected to fully buy over the aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) unit near Hyderabad International Airport, the Press Trust of India reported today.
GMR Group may buy out the entire 50% stake in MAS GMR Aerospace Engineering Co Ltd now held by Malaysian Aerospace Engineering Sdn Bhd (MAE), which is fully owned by MAS, the report said.
“The decision to acquire the stake came after the Malaysian partner expressed inability to infuse more funds into the loss making MRO facility, sources said.
“MAE has informed that its parent company Malaysia Airlines has been incurring losses for the past few years. The losses have been further aggravated by the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370, the sources said.”
24/07/14 Therakyat Post

Ambitious aviation plans: Private airport getting ready near Durgapur in West Bengal

Decades ago, India's first Prime Minister, Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru called various gigantic steel projects and huge dams as India's temples of the future. He was referring to the steel mills at Bhilai, Durgapur and Rourkela as they began their operations. In those days, for most of these industrial towns, the only means of transportation was by road or by rail. Aviation facilities, for most came much later.

Now, Durgapur, the steel city can hope to welcome visitors by air when the new and first private airport in West Bengal begins its operations at Andal, nearby. At present its nearest major international airport, is at Kolkata, some 200kms away.

The Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL) is responsible for the airport. It is spread over 2,000 acres and has Changi Airport of Singapore as its largest shareholder. This new private airport is expected to follow the successful work pattern practiced at Changi.
24/07/14 AK Ramdas/Moneylife

For Emirates, Kerala leads rest of India in flights

Thiruvananthapuram: With the latest bilaterals now in force, Emirates is operating 37 flights every week into Kerala, the highest among all states in the country, said a top airline official.

Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, Emirates vice-president for India and Nepal, said the last renewal of bilaterals between the two countries was in 2008. After the new agreement this year, Emirates is operating 37 flights a week to the three Kerala airports. In all, Emirates operates 185 flights every week for the entire country.

"This is the highest that we fly into any single state in India. The total number of weekly seats into India that came into force in 2008 was 54,200 and with the recent renewal of the bi-laterals, the number will go up by 11,000 seats during the next one year," Ahmad told IANS.

"The rise would be spread over three schedules. This increased seats would be shared by Emirates and Fly Dubai," Ahmad added.
24/07/14 Daijiworld.com

Air India’s insurance costs likely to escalate

Mumbai: State-owned Air India is likely to cough up higher premium when it renews its insurance contract on October 1. Three consecutive large airline losses — downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine last week, the earlier disappearance of MH370 and hull losses due to fighting at Tripoli airport — are likely to harden reinsurance rates.

Fewer aviation losses in recent years had resulted in a decline in aviation reinsurance rates but the situation is likely to be reversed now, say insurance officials.

Air India's insurance policy is the country’s largest aviation policy and is due for renewal on October 1.

Two consortiums of non-life insurance companies have submitted bids for providing insurance cover to Air India. One group consists of public sector general insurance companies led by New India Assurance, with United India Insurance, Oriental Insurance and National Insurance being co-insurers. The other group consists of private sector insurance companies, with ICICI Lombard General insurance as the lead insurer, while Reliance General Insurance and HDFC Ergo General Insurance are co-insurers.
23/07/14 Falaknaaz Syed/mydigitalfc.com

Missive to four airlines

Indore: Director of Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport has shot off a missive to four private airlines to ensure that their flights are run without technical hassle.

On Tuesday, director R N Shinde said that there have been around 15 incidents in which flights have been held up for hours due to technical glitches at the airport. This has caused major inconvenience to passengers and airport staff has to bear the brunt of their fury.

Four airlines have been issued the warning letter; Jet Airways, Air India, SpiceJet and Indigo.

Shinde citied some examples. On June 6, a Delhi-bound morning flight of SpiceJet from Indore was cancelled on Friday due to a technical snag at Indore Airport when it was about to take off. While another flight Mumbai-Indore-Delhi, Air India flight AI636 got delayed by about four hours at Chhatrapati Shivaji International, Mumbai, on July 7, owing to technical faults.
24/07/14 Times of India

Pilots of Air India plane heard Ukraine ATC asking Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 to change direction

According to Pravda News (pravdanews.info) just before the collapse of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, an Air India Dreamliner enroute Birmingham from New Delhi heard the Ukraine ATC ask MH17 to change route. The original story appeared on Aerotelegraph.com.

Interestingly, the two flights - Air India and Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 - were only 25 kilometres apart at the time of the instructions from Air Traffic Control Ukraine. This amounts to a flying time of just 90 seconds. The Air India flight was trailing the MH17.

Aerotelegraph.com reports that just a few minutes before the crash, both flights received permission for deviating from the planned route.
23/07/14 Daily News & Analysis

SITA to Introduce Enhanced Aircraft Tracking Capability in India

SITA, which provides IT and communications solutions to the global air transport industry, today discussed its innovative technology to track aircraft with leading members of the Indian airline community. SITA's AIRCOM Server Flight Tracker is being introduced to allow airlines efficiently and cost effectively track their aircraft. The solution, which is currently being evaluated by several airlines for testing, will utilize technology that is already installed in aircraft to provide advanced tracking capabilities.

SITA's new solution was discussed at the Aircraft Services Workshop jointly hosted by SITA and DGCA. The workshop was inaugurated by Shri. Ashok Lavasa, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and the keynote address was delivered by Dr. Prabhat Kumar, Director General, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Leaders and executives from all major airlines and airports in India attended the workshop.

The SITA AIRCOM Server Flight Tracker solution will enable interested airlines to track aircraft movement by merging SITA's airline dispatcher center system and airline operations center system (AIRCOM) Server, with its Future Air Navigation System (FANS) ground application, which is available to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs). The FANS system is already installed in many aircraft, so the solution does not call for extensive additional cost or investment by the airlines.
24/07/14 Dataquest

Kingfisher Airlines set to be declared a wilful defaulter by its lenders

New Delhi: Kingfisher AirlinesBSE 2.94 % is set to be declared a wilful defaulter by its lenders, which could mean promoter Vijay Mallya facing criminal proceedings, being unable to set up any new ventures for five years and getting barred from raising money from financial institutions.

KingfisherBSE 2.94 % Airlines owes about Rs4,022 crore to a consortium of 17 lenders led by State Bank of IndiaBSE 0.61 % (SBI), which is close to declaring the company a wilful defaulter, said two bank officials aware of the development. The process involves uncovering diversion of funds by borrowers, something which was detected by Ernst & Young during its forensic audit of Kingfisher Airlines, the officials told ET. The airline hasn't flown since October 2012, grounded by its inability to pay employees and subsequently losing its licence.
24/07/14 Dheeraj Tiwari/Economic Times

Flydubai announce new Mumbai service

Dubai: Flydubai announced on Wednesday that it will launch a five times weekly service to Mumbai on October 28.
The flights will operate from Dubai International’s Terminal 2 and Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Dubai’s discount carrier will also increase the frequency on its Delhi route to five times weekly on October 28.
Flydubai will serve seven destinations in India with 25 flights a week when Mumbai services commence.
23/07/14 Gulf News

Oman Air starts new service

Kochui: Oman Air has started serving the new Omani regional airport at Duqm. Oman’s Air acclaimed Embraer E175 aircraft will operate four flights a week. Salim Al Kindy, acting chief executive officer, Oman’s Air, said the service between Muscat and Duqm will support the development of this increasingly important city. As a Special Economic Zone, Duqm is playing a vital role in Oman’s economic growth and Oman’s Air service will help to both facilitate business growth in the area and attract further investment.
24/07/14 New Indian Express

Aerobridges still grounded, get wet before flying at Raja Bhoj airport

Bhopal: Ambitious aerobridge project at Raja Bhoj airport in Bhopal that promised to pitchfork flyers to the terminal after touchdown without the treacherous trek through sun and rain has missed its July 20 deadline. And this because heavy rain lashing the city triggered massive waterlogging, forcing construction work to stop. So, flyers will have to get drenched before touchdown or take-off with the deadline extended to middle of August.

Aerobridges are enclosed, movable connectors which extend from an airport terminal gate to an aircraft and allow air passengers to zip across from terminal building to aircraft without getting exposed. Currently, the project is being handled by an Indonesian company. Two aerobridges, which are already lying at the airport, will be erected, according to the blueprint.

Ramjee Awasthi, an engineer supervising the construction, said, "Incessant rain for last couple of days has made it impossible to continue work. Water seeped into the foundation and delayed work. Though work has resumed, it had to be stopped again due to waterlogging."
24/07/14 Ramendra Singh/Times of India

Capt Deepak Shastri AAI's Southern chief

Chennai: A day before the Civil Aviation Ministry’s meeting in the Capital to review the problems constantly surfacing at the Chennai Airport, the Airports Authority of India announced the appointment of a new chief for Southern operations.

Captain Deepak Shastri was announced as the new Regional Executive Director of Southern Region, Airports Authority of India, in an official note from AAI’s high command in Delhi.

The move could be considered critical as Shastri was the moving force behind constructing and commissioning new terminals in Pune and Calicut, in the last decade.
24/07/14 New Indian Express

Jet Airways May Sell Planes To Cover Losses In India

New Delhi: India’s Jet Airways Ltd said the country’s No. 2 airline by market share will look at selling planes and restructuring its debts as it tries to find ways to end the losses that have plagued it for years.
“We are looking at a lot of consolidation (of our fleet),” Jet’s Chairman Naresh Goyal said today in India’s capital. Goyal said the carrier is talking to its bankers, without giving details of the discussions.
Like all but one of India’s major airlines, Jet – partly owned by Gulf carrier Etihad Airways – is losing money fast, beset by high costs, low fares and cut-throat competition in its domestic market.
While rising numbers of Indians have taken to air transport, domestic operators have struggled to translate that into profits.
Indian airlines lost a combined US$1.3 billion (RM4.12 billion) in the year to March, according to estimates from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation consultancy.
Jet, which has not reported an annual profit since 2007, set out a three-year restructuring plan in May centred on cutting costs and boosting efficiency.
23/07/14 Malaysian Digest

Cairo-New Delhi flights could be the boost Egypt needs

Kolkata: Egyptair will commence thrice-weekly flights between New Delhi and Cairo in October despite weakened visitorship from India.
 This comes on top of an existing four-times-weekly service to Mumbai.
 Egypt's tourism minister Hisham Za’zou commented: “Cultural tourism decreased during the last three years, especially in Luxor and Aswan. The ministry is now seeking to open new tourism markets like India to boost cultural tourism.”
24/07/14 Shekhar Niyogi/TTG Asia

Airport Loos Too Stinky for Second Best

Chennai: It’s not so much of a burning issue as it is a smelly one. After over a year of constantly complaining that the toilets in the newly constructed domestic and international terminals are in a ‘torrid, dirty state’, air passengers are shocked as the results of the Airports Council International’s airport quality survey were announced recently — Chennai’s airport with a rating of 4.3/5 was the second highest rated airport operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). “This is shocking. I have sent at least three complaints to the airport managers as well as online about toilets not being cleaned at the Chennai airport and now they’re called the second best in the country?” queries Aashna B S, a frequent flier who shuttles between Mumbai and Chennai for her work in the fashion industry.
What’s the major complaint with our airport loos? The stink that pervades the air like an aura around each toilet zone. Recently, musician and composer Raghu Dixit was returning from Colombo and had stopped in transit at Chennai. His reaction as he decided to relieve himself was available for all and sundry to see on twitter, “A brand new building doesn’t make an international airport Chennai! You need to keep it clean and the toilet stink-free,” and then added two painful hashtags to enforce his sensory pain — #backtowhereitwas and #stinkypoo.
24/07/14 Daniel Thimmayya/New Indian Express

Elderly woman held with bullet at IGIA

An elderly woman has been apprehended at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here for allegedly carrying a live bullet in her hand baggage.
Officials said the incident occured yesterday when the 60-year-old woman, a US passport holder, was on her way to board a flight to Jammu before which an inspection of her hand baggage by CISF officials led to the recovery of a .9mm bullet.
23/07/14 Business Standard

Mumbai airport has record gold seizures

Mumbai: The latest statistics released by the Air Intelligence Unit of India Customs suggests that the quantity of smuggled gold seized at Mumbai International Airport during the first half of the year is the highest in the past 15 years.

According to officials, a total of 535 kilograms of gold were seized during the initial six months of the year. The quantity of seized gold is expected to cross 1,000 kilograms in 2014, surpassing the previous highs of 800 kilograms in 1989.

The instances of gold smuggling have been escalating. This is quite evident from the fact that 323 kilograms of gold were seized during the three-month period from April to June.
23/07/14 Paul Plomus/Resource Investor

2 held with 5 kg gold at Hyderabad airport

Hyderabad: Over 5 kg gold which wasallegedly being smuggled via the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Shamshabad here was seized by Customs officials and two passengers arrested in connection on Wednesday.
"The Air Intelligence Wing of Customs stopped some women passengers after their arrival by a flight from Jeddah but two male passengers, namely Rahman and Mustafa intervened saying they were tourists. However, based on suspicion, the two male passengers were questioned and as many as 48 gold bangles besides 3 bars (collectively weighing) 5.3 kg were seized from them," a senior Customs official told PTI.
23/07/14 PTI/Deccan Chronicle

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Indian carriers may not get leeway on flying abroad

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is unlikely to lift restrictions on domestic airlines to launch international services anytime soon.

According to the current norms, Indian airlines are required to have at least five years of operational experience and a fleet of a minimum of 20 aircraft (known as the 5/20 rule) for starting international services.

A senior official in the civil aviation ministry said, “There is a lot of opposition from domestic airlines, as most of them meet the current requirements for flying international. They have said restrictions are now being considered for removal taking into account the interests of newer ventures. We are examining all aspects. Internal consultations are on.”
Abolition of the 5/20 rule was scheduled to be cleared by the Cabinet before the electoral code came into effect on March 5 this year. However, the meeting was cancelled putting on hold the possibly the last policy change considered by former Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh.

The abolition of 5/20 rule is being opposed by Federation of India Airlines (FIA), which had earlier this year shot off a letter to Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Lavasa, saying: “Considering that all airlines have in the process of fulfilling their obligation incurred substantial losses through domestic operations, it would be unacceptable for the government to now consider revising the policy by the removal of the 5/20 rule in order to benefit the international airlines' joint ventures, which are under consideration and approval.”
23/07/14 Business Standard

Tata-SIA gets ready for proving passenger flights in September

New Delhi: Tata-SIA Airlines has told the aviation regulator that it would be ready to conduct a demonstration in September to prove that it can operate passenger flights, an official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.

Its plan to carry out the proving flight in mid- or end-September means the joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines would miss its initial target to launch flight operations on September 1.

Tata-SIA representatives conveyed the plan on the proving flight to the DGCA on Monday. "They have told us that the proving flight can be conducted either in middle or end-September and they are expecting their first aircraft in the first week of September," said the DGCA official. An airline spokesperson confirmed the development.

Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, owns a 51% stake in the joint venture to operate a full-service airline. Singapore Airlines holds the remaining 49%.
23/07/14 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

India's Jet eyes profit by 2017 with boost from Etihad

New Delhi: Jet Airways, India's second-biggest carrier, forecast Wednesday a return to profit in three years through cost-cuts, route-sharing with new partner Etihad Airways and restructuring of hefty debt. The publicly traded airline, which has not posted an annual profit since 2007, has been struggling in an overcrowded market beset by cut-throat fare wars, high fuel costs and shoddy infrastructure.
"The game plan is in place, it's now about delivery," Jet Airways' new chief executive Cramer Ball told reporters in New Delhi. "It's a three-year plan -- 2015 we will reduce losses, 2016 we will consolidate and 2017 we'll have profitability," he said.
Ball was speaking at the airline's first news conference with Etihad since India cleared in May the fast-growing Abu Dhabi airline's purchase of a 24-per cent stake in the Indian carrier for 21 billion rupees (US$330 million). Jet's shares jumped over five per cent on the turnaround plan before retreating slightly to trade up four per cent at 266.35 rupees.
Ball, an Australian, said Jet was already profitable on international routes which contribute 43 per cent of revenues, a figure he projected would rise to 63 per cent by 2015. All major Indian airlines, except leading carrier IndiGo, have been haemorrhaging money but analysts say the sector has a brighter future longer-term thanks to a fast-growing growing middle class.
23/07/14 Channel News Asia

Jet Airways chairman says looking to restructure debt, talking to bankers

New Delhi: Jet Airways Ltd said the country's No. 2 airline by market share will look at selling planes and restructuring its debts as it tries to find ways to end the losses that have plagued it for years.
"We are looking at a lot of consolidation (of our fleet)," Jet's Chairman Naresh Goyal said at a press event in New Delhi on Wednesday. Goyal said the carrier is talking to its bankers without giving details of the discussions.
Like all but one of India's major airlines, Jet is losing money fast, beset by high costs, low fares and cut-throat competition in its domestic market.
23/07/14 Business Today

Six more airlines to spice up Indian aviation menu

New Delhi: Several more new airlines are likely to fly in the Indian sky in the coming months with the government giving flying licence to four of the six companies which had sought permits for launching scheduled, private or charter air operations.
While AirAsia India, Ligare Aviation Limited, Quickjet Cargo Airlines and LEPL Projects Limited have been granted the Air Operator’s Permit (AOP) or the flying licence, the two pending cases are those of Tata-SIA Airlines Limited and Air Pegasus Limited, minister of state for civil aviation G. M. Siddeshwara has said.
While AirAsia India has started its operations, Tata-SIA Airlines, a 51:49 joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, has announced plans to launch flights by September-end or October.
Recently, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which is in the process of examining Tata-SIA’s application for grant of AOP to launch a full-service carrier, recently dismissed objections from the Federation of Indian Airlines against it. The approval for an AOP, when granted, would be subject to the orders of the Delhi High Court in a case challenging FDI in new Indian carriers.
23/07/14 Asian Age

Jet Airways and Etihad Airways: Committed to grow India's Aviation Industry

Jet Airways, India’s premier international airline, and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, have outlined plans to reinforce their long-term commitment to the growth of India’s economy and aviation industry, including a major new turnaround strategy for Jet Airways to return to profitability in three years.

The two airlines have been codeshare partners since 2008 and their relationship was strengthened in November 2013, after Etihad Airways received approvals to acquire a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways, marking it the first investment by a foreign carrier in India’s airline industry.

The wide-ranging partnership has numerous advantages for travellers, including enhanced connections across the world through an expanded codeshare agreement, and reciprocal ‘earn and burn’ rights and tier level recognition on the JetPrivilege and Etihad Guest frequent flyer programs.

Jet Airways and Etihad Airways also stand to benefit from cost savings and synergies in areas such as fleet acquisition, maintenance, product development and training, and continue to explore collaborative purchasing opportunities for fuel, spare parts, insurance and technology support.

Supporting the partnership, the Jet Airways Board recently approved a three-year business plan to reshape the airline and secure its long-term future. The plan incorporates a series of critical measures that lay the foundations for a return to profitability, such as long-term network, fleet and product developments to optimise the airline’s domestic and international operations.
23/07/14 E Turbo News

Less flight inspectors led to safety downgrade, says govt

New Delhi: The prime reason for US aviation regulator FAA downgrading India's aviation safety ranking was lack of sufficient number of regular flight inspectors, rendering DGCA's safety oversight ineffective, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.
To overcome the downgrade, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has completed actions on six of the seven findings of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Minister of State for Civil Aviation G M Siddeshwara said while replying to questions on the issue.
DGCA also created 75 new posts of flight operations inspectors (FOIs) of various categories, of which 35 have already been filled, he said referring to the remaining finding of the FAA.
The FAA had lowered safety ranking of India to Category II from Category I which the country has been holding since 1997.
22/07/14 PTI/Business Standard

‘Air India-Indian Airlines merger almost complete’

New Delhi:  The merger between Indian Airlines and Air India is almost complete, Minister of State for Civil Aviation G.M. Siddeshwara on Tuesday said in the Rajya Sabha. “Out of the 226 issues, on which integration action was initiated, 204 have been completed and integration action is in progress on 17 other issues. Five issues are pending because of court cases,” Siddeshwara said in his reply in the Upper House of Parliament. Report Cogencies.
“To a large extent, level mapping and seniority merger of the two erstwhile airlines have been completed. The draft revised basic pay and allowances in respect of the different categories of employees of the merged entity have been displayed on the intranet and the same could not be implemented due to on-going court cases,” the minister said.
23/07/14 Free Press Journal

India’s Avro Replacement Could Be Problematic

The new Indian government has issued the request for proposal (RFP) for 56 transport aircraft worth an estimated $2 billion, to replace the Indian Air Force’s aging Hawker Siddeley 748M twin turboprops, known as Avros. The final date for submission of bids is August 28. The contract is expected to be awarded in late 2015 or early 2016.

The candidates will likely include Alenia with the C-27J, Antonov with the An-32, and Airbus Defence & Space with the C-295. However, a decision on whether Alenia can bid is pending, after the controversial sale of AW101 helicopters by fellow Finmeccanica subsidiary AgustaWestland was halted. There are also concerns about Antonov, from war-torn Ukraine. Should the C-295 end up the sole bidder, the project might be shelved unless the Indian Air Force seeks special approval from the MoD.

This is India’s first private sector-only project, in which government-owned companies cannot be a lead partner. In this case, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) can be a tier-one supplier. The successful bidder is to deliver 16 aircraft in flyaway condition in 24 months and manufacture 40 in an Indian partner’s facility by 60 months, with all to be delivered within 120 months of contract signature.
22/07/14 AINonline

Emirates becomes 2nd airline to operate jumbo A-380 to India

Mumbai: Gulf carrier Emirates became the second airline to operate jumbo A380 aircraft to India after Singapore Airlines, with the commencement of its first daily flight to Mumbai from Dubai.

Emirates flight EK-500 took off from Dubai International airport at 21:55 hours (local time) yesterday and arrived at city’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport (CSIA) at 02:30 am (local time), a release said here today.

The return flight EK-501 took off from Terminal 2 of the CSIA at 04:30 am (local time) and arrived back at Emirates Terminal 3 in Dubai at 06.00 am (local time), it said.

“Mumbai was one of the first destinations on our route network when we launched in 1985. So it is quite fitting that the city becomes our 29th A380 destination. In addition to this, we will continue to operate the four daily services to the city,” Emirates’ senior vice president for commercial operations (West Asia and Indian Ocean), Ahmed Khoory, said.
22/07/14 PTI/Free Press Journal

Bihar and Jharkhand to get new airports as air travel increases

The Union Civil Aviation Ministry has identified Gaya and Raxaul in Bihar for development of airports. The ministry has also selected Jamshedpur and Deoghar for development of airports in view of the growing number of air travellers across the country.
Both places in Bihar have immense potential to emerge as viable airports. In fact, Gaya already has a functional airport where Air India flights as well as those from foreign countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Myanmar operate regularly.
An Airbus-320 can land at the Gaya airport. There are now plans to develop it so it can handle the rush of tourists, especially the Buddhist pilgrims, who come to Bodh Gaya.
Raxaul does not have a functional airport as of now. During the 1962 war against China, an airport was made in the small sub-divisional town along the Nepal border for the Indian Army aircraft to land, but it has remained unused for years now.
Raxaul, however, has good potential since it is located on the border with Nepal. On the other side of the border lies Birganj. The local residents have to come to Patna, located more than 200 km away, to catch a flight to Delhi or Kolkata.
23/07/14 Giridhar Jha/Business Today

Centre clears revised norms for new airport bids in record time

Mumbai: After nearly a decade of delay, the Navi Mumbai airport project has finally taken off. The civil aviation ministry has set the process of inviting tenders for the airport's construction into motion by clearing the revised tender document Cidco had prepared.
The new government moved swiftly to okay the document, and what could not be accomplished in years was done over a weekend, officials said. The plan to construct the Navi Mumbai airport was first mooted in 1998. In 2000, the project cost was pegged at Rs 5,000 crore. Today, it is Rs 14,575 crore. In early 2013, Cidco had submitted the initial draft of the tender document they had prepared for inviting bids. In March this year, they submitted the revised draft to the UPA government. Then, on Friday, they met the new civil aviation minister and resubmitted the revised draft. Cidco babus were in for a surprise when three days later, on Monday, the ministry cleared it.
The revised document has brought significant changes. For one, under the old draft, airlines could hold a maximum of only 10% stake in the private consortium that bid for the airport. Now the airline stake has been capped at 26%.
23/07/14 Chittaranjan Tembhekar/Times of India

Air India suspends flights to Kullu till August 31

Manali: Air India has suspended its flights to Kullu-Manali Airport at Bhuntar till August 31 due to poor visibility in the area due to rainy season. The adventure tourism fraternity of the region is disappointed as hundreds of foreigner tourists are visiting Kullu everyday for adventure activities.
"Air India has announced to stop its services on Delhi-Bhuntar route from July 22 to August 31," director, Kullu-Manali Airport, Y K Sharma, said. He added that an Air India aircraft had to return from Bhunter on Monday after it could not land due to dense fog over the surrounding mountain peaks. "Landing on the small airstrip surrounded by mountains and river becomes very risky during monsoon season. Pilots have to deal with Larji hill before entering the Bhunter valley and the hill remains covered with dense fog most of the time," he said.
It is peak adventure tourism season in Himachal and thousands of high-end tourists from abroad are reaching here for trekking and mountaineering. Most of the tourists prefer to travel by flights to reduce travel time. Air India was the only airline which was operating daily one sortie between Delhi and Bhunter.
23/07/14 Suresh Sharma/Times of India

Sins of omission clip wings of Visakhapatnam airport

Visakhapatnam: Not appointing a regular Director for nearly 10 months, not bringing to use the integrated cargo complex even after spending about Rs.60 lakh on it and, to top it all, transferring more officials speaks volumes of the apathy of the officials towards Vizag airport.

The traffic crossed the 10-lakh mark to register 10,38,958 passengers during 2012-13. Air India launched the first international daily flight to Dubai via Hyderabad and Silk Air launched its direct flight to Singapore thrice a week during 2012. The traffic marginally declined to 10,13,689 during 2013-14 due to the over six-month long Samaikhyandhra agitation.

When Vizianagaram MP P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju was appointed Union Minister for Civil Aviation in the Modi Cabinet, people of the region felt that the Vizag Airport would be put on the fast track of development.

At the maiden Cabinet meet held in the city on June 12, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had promised to develop Vizag as an IT capital, tourist and medical hub, cinema capital and to develop the Visakhapatnam International Airport by freeing it from defence control, if necessary.
22/07/14 B Madhu Gopal/The Hindu

Unique talent: Air hostesses to turn pilots at AirAsia

Mumbai: In his latest visit to India, AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes pointed to an airhostess and announced the company will help her "realise her dream" of becoming a pilot. By his side sat AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya, a former model, and among the audience was India finance chief Vijay Gopalan, who has previously sung for and acted in Tamil movies.

While, AirAsia India's fate in a turbulent sky of cut-throat competition is unknown, its quirky hiring has certainly caught the industry's attention. "It's true AirAsia has made some unusual choices," said Manish Sabharwal, chairman of staffing firm Teamlease Services. "This is something that AirAsia does globally too, and a different pair of eyes always makes things interesting," he added. Out-of-the-box appointments across the board have been integral to the AirAsia story, almost as much as its aggressive fares.
Bo Lingam, Air Asia's chief of operations, Kathleen Tan, its former regional commercial director, and Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, have all joined the airline from Warner Music International, the music company that Fernandes quit as Southeast Asian regional vice-president to launch AirAsia back in 1993. The airline abounds with stories of ground staff elevated to the levels of cabin crew and pilots.
23/04/14 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

DoNER approached for aviation council in NE

Guwahati: The College of Aeronautical Engineering (CAE), based in Guwahati, has sent a proposal to the Union DoNER ministry for the creation of a Northeast Aviation Council. This, it hopes, will give an impetus to the aviation industry in the region and help it prosper.

Addressing a news conference here on Tuesday, Bikrom Singha Lahkar, chief trustee of CAE, said many airlines in the northeast are taking a handsome amount as subsidy from the North Eastern Council, ministry of home affairs and the state government, among other agencies, but despite this, the aviation industry in the region is in a pitiable state.

"Modern aviation can play a huge role in health, tourism and disaster management. Industries are still underdeveloped in the northeast. Daporijo, Lastahar, Kamalpur, Khuwai, Pasighat, Rupsi, Teju, Turiyal and Zero airfields are not operational. Out of 22 airports located in northeast, only 11 are considered fully operational. We need to change this scenario as soon as possible and this can be done only with due attention from the Centre and assistance from the state governments," said Lahkar.
23/07/14 Times of India

Dynamic Technologies set for a lift on orders for aircraft parts

The commercial aircraft manufacturing business is a rarefied zone. It has two thrones, occupied by Airbus and Boeing. While these two companies assemble an aircraft, they source parts from outside. Even that sourcing space is a rarefied zone, with hierarchies. A company enters tier-two when it starts supplying to a subsidiary of Airbus or Boeing, which vets those parts before moving them on. It's a place for aspirants.
Tier-one is for those who have made it: companies that supply parts directly to Airbus and Boeing. It's a place where the promise of bigger, continuous paydays is palpable. It's a place where Dynamatic Technologies touched down with Airbus three months ago, with an order of $300 million (Rs 1,800 crore), giving this Rs 1,589 crore Bangalore-based engineering company new wings to realise an old dream of being a player of substance in the aircraft manufacturing business.
In the last six months, Dynamatic has also bagged a 600 crore order from Boeing and a Rs 1,500 crore order from Bell Helicopter. That's a total of 3,900 crore, to be executed over 10 years, to go with the Rs 2,000 crore of orders its aerospace division already has. Not bad for a company that, two decades ago, was a blueprint of passion in a small garage in Bangalore.
22/07/14 Jwalit Vyas/Economic Times

Service quality at Chennai airport up, survey says

Chennai: The Airports Authority of India may be struggling to maintain Chennai airport, but passenger satisfaction with the new terminals seems to have improved.

An airport service quality survey conducted by Airports Council International shows customer satisfaction index improved for April-June quarter when compared to the first quarter of the year. The airport has been ranked second after Kolkata for quality of service among 11 public sector airports in the country.

The airport has scored 4.30 points on a scale of five when compared to 4.10 in the January-March quarter. Global ranking too improved from 114 to 56.
"The survey shows there is an improvement in quality of service. We are not saying the airport is good. The service may not be perfect but we are managing the terminals well within the constraints," said an AAI spokesperson.
23/07/14 Times of India

India Still Negotiating Dassault Jet Purchase, Defense Minister Says

New Delhi: India is still negotiating a long-delayed purchase of fighter jets from France's Dassault Aviation.
India initially agreed to the purchase of 126 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault in 2012 but the purchase has been stuck in negotiations which still continue, Defense Minister Arun Jaitley said in a response to a question in the upper house of Parliament Tuesday.
"The process of negotiation with the vendor, Dassault Aviation, for procurement of medium, multi-role combat aircraft is on," he said without giving any date by which the negotiations might end.
India in recent years has become the world's largest importer of weapons as it tries to modernize its military.
The South Asian nation depends on imports from countries like Russia, the U.S., France and Israel for most of its arms requirements, but placing orders can sometimes take years.
22/07/14 Santanu Choudhury/Wall Street Journal

Charges dropped against Sikh for carrying Kirpan to airport

New York: A US court here has dismissed criminal charges against a Sikh man for carrying a kirpan to a city airport.

The New York City Port Authority Police Department in May had issued a criminal summons in May to Maninder Singh for carrying two kirpans through security checkpoint at the John F Kennedy International airport here.

The summons had charged Singh with violating city federal rules, which prohibit carrying of knives with blade lengths of four inches or more.

Singh had faced a USD 300 fine as well as imprisonment of up to fifteen days.

The Queens Criminal Court dismissed the criminal summons after rights group Sikh Coalition's staff attorney Gurjot Kaur represented Singh during a hearing at where Kaur explained the religious significance of Singh's kirpans and the peaceful nature of his religious practice, the Sikh Coalition said in a statement.

Kaur also argued that the law in question provides many secular and recreational exemptions, including exemptions for individuals who carry knives for fishing, hunting and camping purposes and for members of the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.
23/07/14 PTI/Zee News

Delhi Airport launches India's first Pet Travel Information and Facilitation Desk

New Delhi: Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has launched a Pet Travel Information and Facilitation Desk at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here, the first such facility in the country.

The desk, Pet Fly, takes care of various hassles related to travelling with pets, includng handling and fulfilling regulatory clearance procedures, a press release from DIAL said.

 “Being pioneer in India for introducing unique experiences to our passengers, DIAL wanted to take a step further by ensuring better and professional facility for the comfortable journey of your pet," DIAL CEO I Prabhakara Rao said.

To send the pet, a passenger has two options-  either the pet can be sent through cargo or it can be booked on excess baggage ticket with the airline.
22/07/14 NetIndian

Indian arrested after he’s mistaken as being part of fake passport ring

Abu Dhabi: An Indian businessman travelling to Istanbul from Abu Dhabi was mistakenly arrested as a suspect in a fake passport racket bust, XPRESS has learnt. He landed in jail for reportedly giving directions to three men travelling on fake passports.
Kamala Kannan, 42, was on a visit to the UAE when he was arrested at the Abu Dhabi airport on July 11. He was supposed to board Etihad Flight EY0097 to Istanbul at nine in the morning.
He was later released on July 18 after the court found him innocent.
“I cannot believe my fate. All I did to end up in jail was to help three men, who happened to be from my native place, with directions inside the airport after the immigration check,” Kannan from Chennai, India told XPRESS.
All the three men were later found to be travelling on fake passports, and are currently in jail.
According to him, after he cleared the immigration check, three men approached him and asked for directions to Gate 39. “They were also from Chennai, and since we were all travelling to the same destination, I readily helped them with directions,” said the businessman.
23/07/14 Anjana Sankar/Gulkf News