Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mahindra Gets Nod to Sell its Australian Airplanes in India

Melbourne: Mahindra group can finally start selling its airplanes in India after it got approval from the country's civil aviation ministry.

"The aviation ministry yesterday has cleared few norms for certification, which will finally allow us to sell our Australian planes in India," said Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director on Mahindra Group.

In 2009, Mahindra group announced its intention to be a big player in the aerospace business by acquiring 75.1 per cent of stake each in two Australian aerospace firms for Rs 175 crore.

Since then it had started selling its aircraft in some markets but was unable to do so in India due to regulatory issues. Its aircraft are already flying in the Middle East and Australia.

"We bought an Australia company and we are selling our planes in California but due to a rule to do with seating capacity for piston engine plane, we were not able to sell in India," saids Mr Mahindra, who was also part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's CEO delegation to Australia.
19/11/14 NDTV

SpiceJet will need war chest of $250 million to turnaround

New Delhi: Budget airline SpiceJet Ltd would require a war chest of close to $250 million, a committed investor or group of investors with a hunger for high risk and an unwavering sight on the restructuring roadmap to fly out of the turbulence zone, said Kapil Kaul, the CEO of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (capa), South Asia. The airline consultancy body believes, without recapitalisation, recovery would not be "realistic."

"We estimate $250 million funding requirement to stabilise operations. (It) will require continuous flow of capital in the near term as market and competitive dynamics will remain challenging," said the head of the airline consultancy and research firm.

The no-frill airline's chief operating officer (COO) Sanjiv Kapoor told dna that it had already begun scouting for investors for recapitalisation and funding losses.

"There is a need for recapitalisation and we are looking for fresh capital," he said.
19/11/14 Daily News & Analysis

SpiceJet cancels 40 daily flights

New Delhi: Loss-ridden SpiceJet has cancelled over 40 daily flights as its fleet of Boeing 737s is down to 28 (two of which are grounded, including the buffalo-hit one in Surat) from the summer high of 35. Concerned at the fallout for passengers, who have booked in advance, the directorate general of civil aviation called the airline management on Monday evening to find the exact number of cancellations and to tell the low-cost carrier to make alternate arrangements for flyers.

While admitting that "recapitalization is key", airline COO Sanjiv Kapoor said the number of Boeings — and hence flights — will increase to 35 by the year-end. "We are restructuring our fleet and returning some old planes, due to which the schedule has been changed. This is all short term restructuring," Kapoor said.

"It is not correct to compare us to Kingfisher. We are paying salaries on time; all our tax issues (referring to TDS and service tax dues) have been cleared and we have among the highest load factors and enjoy a very good market share. Our revenue is $1 billion and market capitalization is $140 million," said Kapoor, while terming the auditor's caution as a "technical observation".
19/11/14 Times of India

SpiceJet begins reducing flights, cancels 40 for 'fleet restructuring'

New Delhi: Cash-strapped low cost carrier SpiceJet has cancelled up to 40 flights across the country due to “fleet restructuring”. The airline said it “was not going the Kingfisher way” and indicated that talks to get an investor on board for recapitalisation were underway.

Affected passengers were being accommodated on flights of other airlines or were being refunded fares immediately, the airline said. But the cancellations are bound to shake passenger confidence.

Aviation regulator DGCA could also be ascertaining from SpiceJet as to how many flight cancellations per day are being resorted to, along with details of the financial liabilities of the airline. Asked by reporters whether 70 flights had been cancelled on Monday, airline officials refused to specify a figure.
19/11/14 Deccan Chronicle

SpiceJet rejects KFA comparison

New Delhi: SpiceJet said it was carrying out restructuring now as it would not be able to do this once an investor is on board.

Aviation regulator directorate general of civial aviation(DGCA) could also be ascertaining from SpiceJet as to how many flight cancellations per day are being resorted to, along with details of the financial liabilities of the airline.

The airline had suffered a loss of Rs 310 crore in the second quarter of the current financial year.

Amid speculation that at least Rs 1,000 crore would be required as part of the recapitalisation process, SpiceJet officials said a “reasonable sum of money” would be required.
19/11/14 Deccan Chronicle

Mahesh Sharma talks of raising an international airport at Jewar from the greenfield

Lucknow: In the past decade, an international airport in Greater Noida has been proposed, shelved and revived, several times over. Now the newly-appointed Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma, who is from Noida, says he is ready to put his weight behind developing an international airport in Jewar, on the fringes of Delhi.
“My vision is clear. If we can have more than one airport in London, why can’t we have another airport in the vicinity of Delhi,” Sharma told Newsline here. “I am open to all the suggestions but at the same time I am ready to face all the hurdles in the way of establishing an airport in Jewar.”
The new minister’s enthusiasm is not shared by the UP government, which is in no mood to accept an international airport at Jewar as the project was aggressively promoted by the previous BSP government in the state.
19/11/14 Maulshree Seth/Indian Express

Midair scare for 100 Indigo passengers

Nagpur:  In a midair scare for over 100 Indigo flyers on a Pune-Delhi via Nagpur flight, both the windshields of the aircraft were reported to have developed cracks before landing at city airport on Tuesday evening. Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who was in the city to visit the Boeing MRO depot at Mihan, was booked on the same flight, airport sources said.

After windshields of flight 6E202 developed a crack mid-air, the plane made a precautionary landing at Nagpur airport with 102 passengers on-board. No injuries were reported but all the passengers were made to wait on the tarmac after the landing. The minister's flight was reported to have been delayed by around 40 minutes.

"Another Indigo flight from Vizag to Delhi with 57 passengers was routed to reach Nagpur and accommodate the stranded passengers of Pune-Nagpur-Delhi flight along with the minister. Thankfully, it was due to the minister, the private carrier diverted another flight and saved the passengers from further hassles. Else, the passengers would have had to wait till the replacement arrived the next day," sources added.
19/11/14 Times of India

Windscreen of aircraft scheduled to carry Minister cracks before take-off

Mumbai: A Delhi-bound IndiGo aircraft, scheduled to fly Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and other passengers, developed a windscreen crack minutes before its take-off from Nagpur airport on Tuesday evening. Raju, who visited Nagpur earlier in the day, was waiting to board the 8 PM (6E-202) flight when the crack was noticed.

Nagpur airport officials have confirmed the development, saying the minister had not boarded the plane, but was just waiting to board. When the aircraft landed, its windshield was found cracked, an official of the state-run airport said, requesting anonymity.

The official added that the airline has made an alternative aircraft available. The number of passengers could not be known immediately.
19/11/14 Daily News & Analysis

Govt to decide on Saturday on Tata-Airbus bid to supply 56 transport aircraft to IAF

New Delhi: The government will decide on Saturday whether to press ahead with the Rs 13,000 crore mega project for the private sector to supply 56 medium transport aircraft to the IAF despite only a single bidder, the Tata-Airbus consortium, being in the fray.

Though the defence acquisitions council (DAC) chaired by Manohar Parrikar will take the final decision, MoD sources on Tuesday said the "emerging dominant view" is that green signal should be given to the crucial project designed to promote Indian private sector's entry into the domestic aerospace arena with foreign collaboration.

"The Tata-Airbus technical and commercial bid is a credible offer submitted in a competitive environment. The other seven contenders backed out for one reason or the other," said a source.
19/11/14 Rajat Pandit/Times of India

Surat MP: AAI never invited me for meetings at Surat airport

After the district collector, member of parliament (MP) from Surat, DarshanaJardosh has dashed off a letter to the Union minister of civil aviation, AshokGajapathiRajuPashupati against Airport Authority India (AAI) authorities for not inviting her during the meetings of the airport committee or developments concerning the airport since the time she was elected MP for the two consecutive terms.

This is the first official reaction from the Surat MP after the November 6 incident of buffalo hitting the SpiceJet plane.

Referring to the November 6 incident as the most unfortunate and a big eye-opener on the neglect for the development of Surat airport, Jardosh stated in her letter, "I am not informed or being intimated about the meetings. The meetings were regularly held without my knowledge and presence. The AAI has not contacted me or kept in the loop about the developments at airport"
19/11/14 Melvyn Thomas/Times of India

‘No need for more world-class airports’

New Delhi: The airports at Bhopal, Raipur and Indore would have to wait longer to get the ‘world class’ tag as the 17 existing international airports are nowhere near realising projected traffic volumes, the Planning Commission has told the Prime Minister.
In a presentation to Modi on Wednesday on the achievements vis-a-vis targets for the infrastructure sectors so far, the panel said that adding three more to that list is needless.
“Out of 17 international airports, five have only a small volume of traffic. Airports with adequate traffic potential only will be made into international ones. These three are not being declared as international airports,” according to the presentation made to the Prime Minister.
19/11/14 Priyadarshi Siddhanta/Indian Express

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

DGCA withdraws proposal to ban charter operations with less than three aircraft

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has withdrawn and amended its proposal that suggested re-designation of all non-scheduled operator permit (NSOP) holders with less than three aircraft as ‘private’ airlines.
Officials on Tuesday said the civil aviation requirement to get a licence has now been retained to one aircraft only, as against three proposed earlier to get licence to fly the non-scheduled aircraft commercially. The DGCA proposal had also suggested de-licensing of such existing commercial non scheduled flight operators, a move that was criticised by the Business Aircraft Operator’s Association (BAOA) as “retrograde”, and one that would force a majority of India’s air charter industry to stop all “commercial” flights.
Earlier, in October, the aviation regulator had proposed a draft rule which would have permitted a non-scheduled air operator to start operations with one plane or a helicopter, but to raise the fleet size to at least three within a year of securing the flying licence.
18/11/14 Indian Express

AI flight suffers tyre burst and bird hit at Goa airport

Panaji: A Delhi-bound Air India flight via Mumbai with 164 passengers onboard had to abort take-off at the last minute today after it suffered a tyre burst as well as a bird hit at Dabolim airport in Goa.

According to airport sources, the incident took place around 7.20 AM when the flight (AI866) was about to take off.

Later, it was brought back to the bay at Goa airport after all the passengers were safely deplaned.

"I have received information that a bird hit happened this morning. We will inquire into it," K S Rao, Director Goa Airport, told PTI.
18/11/14 Deccan Herald

AI, crew lock horns over bar dues

Mumbai: The Air India has initiated action against the cabin crew who failed to pass on the dues from sale of duty-free alcohol to passengers, including serving the termination notice to one staffer. The crew members were given a deadline of September 30 to hand over the dues.

The national carrier's actions, however, have been challenged by many of the accused and the All India Cabin Crew Association. They alleged that of the 300 staffers who are yet to pass on the dues ranging from $200-6,000, only three are being targeted.

One of the accused who were chargesheeted, Raymond Kane, meanwhile filed a writ petition in the court in this regard and obtained a stay on any action by Air India. Kane approached the Delhi High Court saying Air India had given an option to the petitioner to clear the on-flight bar dues by September 30 to avoid administrative action, and he had done so by September 23. Even then, inquiry was continued against him and in a report dated November 3, he was held guilty.
18/11/14 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror

Paper-less air cargo supply chain facility introduced at Bengaluru airport

Bengaluru: Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd (AISATS), a 50:50 joint venture between Air India Limited and SATS Limited, a gateway services and food solutions provider in Asia, has introduced an e-freight initiative at its Bengaluru Airfreight Terminal facility.

With this launch, AISATS BLR has taken a step towards IATAs e-freight initiative, building a paper-free air cargo supply chain and replacing it with cheaper, accurate and reliable electronic messaging, AISATS said in a statement.

To facilitate this, AISATS has incorporated its Airport Community System (ACS), a web-based electronic platform that enables seamless electronic data interchange (EDI) between various stakeholders in the air cargo value chain. With this system in place, AISATS is well-equipped to do away with the traditional paper-based shipping data consolidation, and move towards electronic data management.
18/11/14 Business Standard

AI logs highest occupancy

New Delhi: Air India has something to cheer about this winter with the national career recording the highest seat occupancy in October, and it upstaged SpiceJet to take the second position in market share.
Air India is the only major airline along with Jet Airways to increase the number of passengers it flew last month compared to September, the latest data released by Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.
As per the report, the domestic air traffic grew by 18.31 per cent -- from 50.08 lakh passengers in October last year to 59.25 lakh in October this year.

The total number of passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-October period was 550.68 lakh as against 507.03 lakh during the corresponding period of 2013.
While IndiGo carried 18.90 lakh passengers last month, Air India came second with 11.56 lakh passengers. SpiceJet, which had the highest seat occupancy in September, had 10.27 lakh passengers in October as against 10.81 lakh in September. It's market share also decreased to 17.3 per cent in October from 18.6 per cent in September.
18/11/14 Deccan Herald

Mopa airport has no access, project is a scam: Vijai

Margao: Firing yet another salvo against the state government over the proposed Mopa airport, Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai on Tuesday pointed out that the airport has been conceptualized without access and thus smacked of a scam.

Addressing mediapersons, Sardesai said that the government, "either for political reasons or to save certain highly-placed land owners" allowed Sec IV of the Land Acquisition Act for the re-aligned access to the airport to be lapsed, as the new land acquisition law rendered the cost of the acquisition quite prohibitive.

In a bid to resolve the issue, Sardesai said the government contemplated construction of a 6km long flyover from the national highway to the airport by just obtaining NOCs from the landowners for constructing pillars for the purpose.
18/11/14 Times of India

Modernise Existing Airport: Former MP

Visakhapatnam: The existing airport at Visakhapatnam should be modernised before constructing the proposed green-field airport, former MP and GITAM University president MVVS Murthy has said.
In a detailed report submitted to chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, during the latter’s visit to Visakhapatnam Monday, Murthy opined that modernisation of the existing airport will meet the requirements of Vizagites till the implementation of the green-field airport. “While the length of the present runway is 10,500 feet, the capacity of the terminal building is only 20,000 sqm. The airport thus cannot handle even the existing domestic traffic properly (landing of around 18 flights every day). The length of the runway should be extended by another 1,000 feet to facilitate arrival of wide-bodied aircrafts easily.”
18/11/14 New Indian Express

Will finalize Boeing MRO start date in a week: Raju

Nagpur: Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Tuesday the delay in getting the Boeing MRO operational was "unacceptable." After visiting the site, the under construction taxiway and interacting with officials of Air India, the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) and a representative of Boeing, Raju said he would get down to "real business" in Delhi by next week to finalize a firm timeline.

"Within a week, I will call a meeting of all stakeholders and get them to work out a time frame within which the MRO facility could get rolling," he said. The project was conceived in 2005 but the actual construction started in 2011. The Rs800 crore unit is ready and the minister is keen that there are no further delays in getting it started.

Raju said he was "satisfied with MRO unit as stand-alone," but was quick to add that "the integration work was lacking." "Now, we are at the fag end of 2014. That the project is still to start production is something I am worried about. I came to see the ground reality and assess the status. The parliament session is beginning soon and if someone raises a question, I have to answer it," he said.
18/11/14 Ramu Bhagwat & Shishir Arya/Times of India

SpiceJet's Q2 Signals Cheap Air Tickets are Here to Stay

Budget carrier SpiceJet started the trend of announcing hefty discounts on air fares in India. Despite being neck-deep in losses, India's third largest carrier by market share cut air fares on some tickets by 50 per cent in January 2014 and followed up with a series of even steeper discounts. (Read)

By the end of the year, the price of a promotional SpiceJet ticket came down to triple digits. Other airlines followed suit raising fears of a price war in India's troubled aviation sector, where only a couple of carriers are making profits.

There was apprehension that SpiceJet was resorting to "mindless discounting", but second quarter results show that "there is a method to the madness", SpiceJet's COO Sanjiv Kapoor told NDTV on Monday. SpiceJet lost Rs 310 crore in the three months to September 30, which is 45 per cent less than the Rs 560 crore it lost last year. (Watch the full interview here)

The narrowing of losses has been driven by operational performance, SpiceJet says. The carrier has increased the passenger load factor, which measures the capacity utilization in percentage and cut down costs.
18/11/14 Varun Sinha/NDTV

SpiceJet may be no Kingfisher, but needs funds to turn things around

Two things are clear: SpiceJet will continue with its strategy of deep discounts to attract flyers and unless it gets recapitalized, a turnaround is far off.

The airline has seen losses go down by 45% in Q2 (a first in four successive quarters) as it increased revenues and yields while reducing costs and this has been possible in a large measure because of its pricing strategies which stimulated the market.
SpiceJet needs substantial funds to come back from losses.

But now, because of intensive fleet restructuring, SpiceJet's Boeing fleet is down by 9 aircraft compared to July. This means the airline has had to reduce daily flights by about 40 to take the number close to 300 - which in turn means its revenues and therefore finances may be impacted in Q3.

COO Sanjiv Kapoor said today that the fleet will be back to 35 Boeing aircraft (the Q400 fleet of 15 stays as it is) by December end but this could mean Q3 may not be a happy quarter for the ailing airline as revenues would fall on capacity shortage.
17/11/14 Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post

Gulf Air to operate daily flights to Thiruvananthapuram

Dubai:  Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air has increased its direct services to Trivandrum International Airport in Kerala.

"Following a successful year since the re-launch of our direct flights to Thiruvananthapuram in December 2013, we are delighted to announce our increased frequency that follows consistently strong passenger demand," Gulf Air Acting Chief Commercial Officer Ahmed Janahi said.

It will operate a daily service starting from the 5th of December 2014 between Manama in Bahrain and Thiruvananthapuram.

The two additional weekly frequencies between the two cities will operate on Mondays and Wednesdays.

There is an average of 85 per cent seat factor in 2014 to date.
18/11/14 PTI/conomic Times

AI to accomodate passengers of diverted flight in old terminal

Jaipur: The old terminal building of Sanganer airport here will be used to accommodate passengers of the flights diverted due to fog this winter, a senior airport official said here today.
The decision in the regard was taken to avoid chaos at the new terminal building of the airport during flight diversions.
"We will be able to accommodate 160-170 passengers at a time in old airport terminal building this year, which is presently used for cargo operations only. It will be in addition to the capacity of the new terminal," Sanganer Airport Director S N Borkar told.
He said the decision in the regard and the arrangement was made in view of chaos at the new terminal witnesses during the diversions of flight from Delhi and other nearby cities.
18/11/14 Economic Times

Sanganer airport to accommodate passengers in old terminal

Jaipur: The old terminal building of Sanganer airport here will be used to accommodate passengers of the flights diverted due to fog this winter, a senior airport official said here today.

The decision in the regard was taken to avoid chaos at the new terminal building of the airport during flight diversions.

"We will be able to accommodate 160-170 passengers at a time in old airport terminal building this year, which is presently used for cargo operations only. It will be in addition to the capacity of the new terminal," Sanganer Airport Director S N Borkar told PTI.

He said the decision in the regard and the arrangement was made in view of chaos at the new terminal witnesses during the diversions of flight from Delhi and other nearby cities.
18/11/14 PTI/Business Standard

Qatar Airways launches 2-for-1 ticket offer

Mumbai: Gulf carrier Qatar Airways has rolled out a 2-for-1 ticket offer for Indian customers, under which travellers booking one business class ticket will receive a second business class ticket for free on select global destinations.

Booking of tickets under the five-day promotional scheme commences today and the journey can be undertaken up to March 31 next year, Qatar Airways said in a release.
"We received an overwhelming response from the Qatar Airways Privilege Club members and social media fans in India on the 'Double the Luxury' promotion.

"We consistently strive to offer the most exceptional and enticing promotion for our travellers and given the popularity of this promotion and so decided to re-introduce it for the benefit of our passengers," Qatar Airways Vice President for Indian Sub continent Ihab Sorial said.
18/11/14 PTI/Economic Times

Not bird or plane, it's a poll chopper

Ranchi: They are the fabled pushpak vimans of poll-bound skies.
As many as nine helicopters are parked at the Birsa Munda Airport hangar for their use by political parties for speedy and hassle-free Assembly poll campaigns in far-flung areas.
And yes, whirring blades and rapid descent of a chopper make for a grand entry in front of gaping rural crowds. Leaders simply love that.
So, while the BJP's central leadership has hired four choppers for electioneering in Jharkhand, ruling party JMM is also not far behind with three choppers. The Congress and JVM have hired one each.
Though the facility does not come cheap and the campaigners have to be mindful of the electioneering expense cap set for the candidates concerned - Rs 28 lakh - the flying machines are in high demand.
BJP's four choppers include three single-engine machines and a twin-engine counterpart. All are hired from Delhi-based Tarsi Airlines owned by one Gulab Singh. The cost is steep - Rs 70,000 per hour - while the cost of parking, fuel, groundsmen is extra.
18/11/14 Amit Gupta/Telegraph

Gulf Air to operate daily flights to Thiruvananthapuram

Dubai: Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air has increased its direct services to Trivandrum International Airport in Kerala.
"Following a successful year since the re-launch of our direct flights to Thiruvananthapuram in December 2013, we are delighted to announce our increased frequency that follows consistently strong passenger demand," Gulf Air Acting Chief Commercial Officer Ahmed Janahi said.
It will operate a daily service starting from the 5th of December 2014 between Manama in Bahrain and Thiruvananthapuram.
The two additional weekly frequencies between the two cities will operate on Mondays and Wednesdays.
There is an average of 85 per cent seat factor in 2014 to date.
18/11/14 PTI/Economic Times

AISATS launches e-freight initiative at Bengaluru international airport

Bengaluru: Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd (AISATS) has introduced an e-freight initiative at its Bengaluru Airfreight Terminal facility at the Kempegowda International Airport, the company said today.

AISATS has incorporated its Airport Community System (ACS), a web-based electronic platform that enables seamless electronic data interchange (EDI) between various stakeholders in the air cargo value chain.
With this, AISATS BLR takes a big step towards IATA's e-freight initiative, building a paper-free air cargo supply chain and replacing it with cheaper, more accurate and more reliable electronic messaging, the company said in a release.

With this system, AISATS is well-equipped to do away with the traditional paper-based shipping data consolidation, and move towards electronic data management, the release added.
18/11/14 PTI/Economic Times

BIAL, SWR announce train halt station at airport

Bengaluru: The Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) will set up a halt station at the airport, near the trumpet interchange, for trains en route Devanahalli to facilitate easy conveyance for passengers and employees.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Anil Kumar Agarwal on Tuesday told mediapersons that the South Western Railways (SWR) was ready to provide a stop at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) for trains on the route. He was speaking at the inauguration of a BMTC bay at the City Railway Station for buses towards KIA.

Responding to the DRM’s suggestion, Bhaskar B, Senior Director (Finance and Support Services), BIAL, announced that the BIAL would take up the halt station construction.

Bhaskar told reporters that the railway line passes within the compound of KIA and a station would be constructed at the earliest. “We have a huge area of over 4,000 acres. We will ensure that the halt stop is constructed somewhere near the Trumpet Interchange," he said.
18/11/14 Deccan Herald

2 held for smuggling gold bars from Dubai

Pune: The customs on Tuesday arrested two men at the Lohegaon airport for trying to smuggle in gold worth Rs 80 lakh from Dubai.

One of the accused, Dadaso Dursharekar, a resident of Posewadi in Khanpur taluka of Sangli, had arrived at the Pune airport by an Air India flight on Tuesday morning. His associate, Digvijay Ghorpade, was waiting outside the airport to collect the gold.

Dursharekar tried to clear the customs channel by submitting a nil customs declaration about dutiable goods imported by him. However, an alert customs official noticed his suspicious activities and detained him for questioning.
18/11/14 Times of India