Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Qatar Airways turning purple to get IndiGo stake; or will it have to settle for SpiceJet instead?

On 28 July, Qatar Airways confirmed that it was only interested in buying a stake (up to 49% if its CEO Akbar Al Baker gets his way) in Guragon-headquartered (just outside Delhi) LCC IndiGo, and not its fellow Indian airline SpiceJet. The following day, a statement on IndiGo’s website seemed to suggest that a stake was not up for sale, with phrases like ‘completely baseless’ and ‘no discussion’ being used in the rhetoric. However, anna.aero’s data elves are too long in the tooth to believe any of that smoke and mirrors treatment, with these public flirtations between airlines more often than not ending up in marriage (and sometimes divorce).
So what would a Qatar Airways and IndiGo wedding mean in terms of the two carriers’ networks, in particular between the Indian and Middle Eastern markets. Interestingly, the Indian LCC does not currently offer any services from India to Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha. However, the LCC does operate 77 weekly frequencies to two other Middle Eastern hubs.
Whether IndiGo will be ‘encouraged’ to shift some of that Dubai capacity to Doha is unclear at this stage (probably unlikely as these routes are often determined by labour and VFR traffic flows), but naturally Qatar Airways and Doha Airport, both of which are part of the Qatar Airways Group, would be seeking to maximise the benefits of any deal that was signed. Any such move would make a small but palpable dent in Dubai’s weekly seat count – IndiGo currently offers 10,500 weekly one-way seats from Dubai, around 1% of the hubs total capacity (w/c 4 August 2015). By comparison, the 1,050 weekly seats IndiGo has available from Muscat does not even reach 1% of the 145,672 total from the Omani capital city.
03/08/15 anna.aero

Sebi seeks clarifications on IndiGo's Rs 2,500-crore IPO

New Delhi: Capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has sought fresh clarifications from budget carrier IndiGo on its proposed Rs 2,500-crore initial public offer (IPO).

Without disclosing the details of clarifications sought, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has said it's awaiting response from lead manager for the proposed public offer.

According to the latest weekly update on the processing status of draft offer documents filed with Sebi, the market regulator has said clarifications are awaited on IndiGo's IPO as of July 31, 2015. The next update will be uploaded on Sebi's website on August 10. The market watchdog said it might issue observations on draft offer document within 30 days after receiving a satisfactory reply from the lead merchant banker regarding the clarification or additional information sought from it. Sebi had earlier this month also sought clarification from InterGlobe Aviation, which runs the country's biggest airline by market share under IndiGo brand.

The regulator received last communication from the merchant banker on July 29. Indigo had filed its draft offer document with Sebi on June 30, 2015.
04/08/15 PTI/Business Standard

141 Emergency Landings

During the last three years and the current year, a total of 141 incidents of emergency landings due to medical emergency and technical reasons have been reported to DGCA.

All incidents except emergency landing due to medical issues are investigated by DGCA/AAIB and also by the PIB (Permanent Investigation Board) of the concerned airlines in association with officers of regional air safety offices depending upon the severity of case. Safety recommendations emanating from the investigation reports are followed up for implementation with the concerned agencies so as to prevent recurrence of similar incidents in future.

Moreover, the accident/incident data is regularly analysed and based on the analysis, Air Safety Circulars are issued to bring important observations/findings to the notice of the operators to avoid recurrence of such mishaps.
03/08/15 Business Standard

Pre-development work for Navi Mumbai airport to begin in Oct

Mumbai: With all the required permissions and most of the land acquisition in place, the pre-development work at the Navi Mumbai airport is slated to start from October, about three months before announcement of the partner selected for development of the country’s largest greenfield project.
The government-controlled City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), the nodal agency for the international airport project, will hand over the supervision of the pre-development work to winning bidder by the end of the current calendar year.
Cidco wants a closer co-ordination with the partner to develop the airport, a senior official of the agency told FE.
“The winning bidder will be handed over the supervision charges as soon as it comes on board. This will be done to speed up the project and also to bring a greater co-ordination between the government agency and its partner,” the official said.
04/08/15  Rhik Kundu and Shubhra Tandon/Financial Express

India preparing to appoint of an Aviation Ombudsman

A Working Group was constituted to examine the feasibility of setting up of Ombudsman for Civil Aviation sector. Based on its report, a draft consultation paper on Ombudsman for Civil Aviation was circulated for comments/views of stakeholders in February, 2014. During the stakeholder consultations, it emerged that there are already separate grievance redressal mechanisms with each airline as well as with DGCA to address the grievances.
03/08/15 NVO News

Haryana, Raj seek site clearance for new airport

New Delhi: The Civil Aviation Ministry has received proposals for site clearance from Haryana and Rajasthan for setting up an airport, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.
The Steering Committee, set up for greenfield airports, looked into Rajasthan's proposal and has recommended the Civil Aviation Ministry for site clearance. Whereas the Haryana government has been asked to rework the proposal, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in Lok Sabha.
The Ministry has already cleared a proposal for setting up a second airport in National Capital Region (NCR), he said.
"Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Development Corporation Limited had submitted a proposal for grant of site clearance for setting up a greenfield (new) airport for both passenger and cargo services at Kotkasim Tehsil in the Alwar district of Rajasthan," Sharma said in response to a question.
The Steering Committee considered the proposal and has recommended to the Ministry for grant of site clearance, the minister said.
03/08/15 PTI/The Statesman

Chamber for “Kalam Airport”

Ramanathapuram: The Ramanathapuram District Chamber of Commerce and Industry has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to name Madurai airport after former President APJ Abdul Kalam who died in Shillong on July 27.

In a letter to Mr. Modi, a copy of which was made available to the media here on Monday, chamber president Asmabagh Anvardeen has requested that it should be named as Abdul Kalam International Airport in memory of the great scientist.
04/08/15 The Hindu

358 flights cancelled by various carriers in June: Govt

New Delhi: Altogether ten domestic carriers cancelled a total of 358 flights during June for various reasons, Lok Sabha was informed today.
Of these, a maximum of 122 flights were cancelled by private operator Jet Airways while state-run Air India cancelled 110 flights during this period, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sahrma said in a reply in Lok Sabha.
Budget carrier SpiceJet also did not operate a total of 81 flights in June despite these flights being on the schedule.
03/08/15 PTI

Indian Flankers Test British Typhoons on Exercise

Indian air force pilots (IAF) flying their Su-30MKI Flankers provided stiff opposition for a UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon squadron during air combat maneuvering exercises just ended in the UK. Senior officers from both the IAF and the RAF were unwilling to discuss details, but AIN understands from informed sources with knowledge of the exercise that, in close combat, the thrust vector control (TVC) on the heavier Flankers more than compensated for the greater thrust-to-weight ratio of the Typhoon. The IAF is likely to buy another 30or 40 Su-30MKIs from the licensed Indian production line, boosting its fleet to close to300, especially after last week’s formal withdrawal by Delhi of the RFP for a Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

For Exercise Indradhanush IV, the IAF deployed four Su-30MKIs from No 2 Squadron based at Tezpur to RAF Coningsby, assisted by mid-air refueling from an IAF Ilyushin Il-78 tanker. Logistics support was provided by an IAF C-17 and a C-130J, and these transports also carried a special forces unit that  exercised with its RAF counterpart, including paradrops. Three previous exercises in the series included two visits by RAF Typhoons to India and an Su-30MKI deployment to the UK in 2007. However, that exercise was constrained by Indian security rules that precluded the use of the Flanker’s N011M passive electronically-scanned array (PESA) radar. There were no such restrictions this time, although the rules that were agreed by both air forces for the exercise included a common maximum range for beyond-visual range (BVR) engagements. The Flanker and the Typhoon both carry a long-range infrared search and track (IRST) sensor that can supplement or replace BVR detection of opposing aircraft by their respective radars.
03/08/15 Chris Pocock/AINonline

Rs. 78 lakh to be released soon for Shivamogga airport survey

Shivamogga: Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education and in-charge of the district Kimmane Rathnakar has said the State government would soon release Rs. 78 lakh to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for conducting a fresh technical survey on Shivamogga airport project.
Earlier, a technical committee from the AAI had recommended trimming the height of chimneys of a few industries near the proposed airport site and shifting of a 220-kV electricity line that passes through the area to ensure safe operation of flights.
04/08/15 Thr Hindu

Emirates offers 'Americas Pass' for Indian travelers

New Delhi: Emirates passengers from India looking to explore beyond the airline's network of American destinations now have dozens of options with the Americas Pass.
With one combined ticket, travellers flying to any of Emirates' 10 US destinations can connect to over 90 cities across the USA, Canada and Latin America through Emirates' five partner airlines: Jet Blue, Alaska Airlines, Virgin America, WestJet Airlines and Porter Airlines.
The Americas Pass will allow customers to enjoy competitive fares starting from 6,334 INR per flight from India. The pass will also come with a generous baggage allowance on all internal flights, adopting Emirates' two-piece policy for flights in Canada, North or South America as well as no minimum stay requirement.
Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates, said,"Emirates' Americas Pass gives our passengers something we've never offered before: freedom to explore two continents with a single ticket in conjunction with a long haul Emirates trip. From Vancouver, Canada to San Juan, Puerto Rico to San Diego, USA and hundreds of destinations in between, Emirates passengers can experience a range of cities, sights and events with ease and flexibility, as well as visiting friends and relatives."
04/08/15 ANI/New Kerala

Drones to Control Man-Animal Conflict Around Indian Forests

If things go according to plan, drones may soon come to the rescue of those caught in conflict with wild animals.
Scientists at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun have decided to use drone technology as a tool to control the increasing cases of man-animal conflict in and around forest areas.
"Besides regular surveillance of our wildlife, we have found that drones can also be used for conflict resolution. We can fly these machines at short distances on the periphery of our forests to track if any large mammal like a tiger or elephant has strayed into the nearby villages," WII's wildlife scientist K Ramesh, in-charge of the project, told PTI.
In cases where the villagers notice that a wild animal is lurking dangerously close to human habitat, they can inform the forest department who can fly a drone fitted with GPS device and hi-resolution cameras in the area to find out the exact location of the animal.
"It would then be driven back to the forest by officials," Ramesh said.
03/08/15 PTI/NDTV

How garbage poses threat to flights

The heaps of garbage and filth dumped just beyond the airfield of Gannavaram airport are a favourite hunting ground for kites, crows and quails. On any given day, it’s normal to see crows and kites pick up their choice morsels, glide over to the runway and enjoy their meal on the tarmac.

Flight and ground staff have their hands full trying to contend with the bird menace. Bird hits have grounded some aircraft and airlines are hard put to it to manage their schedules. A number of villages, Kesarapalli, Ajjampudi, Gannavaram and surrounding areas, have been using the fringe of the airport as their dumping ground, attracting birds as to a magnet.

Drive into any of these villages and you see waste material dumped in the open place adjoining the compound wall of the runway. Strewn plastic covers, food items and used paper plates are piled up. The situation is worse at VNR College near the airport where mounds of garbage are dumped right next to the compound wall.
04/08/15 M. Srinivas/The Hindu

No probe into purchase of aircraft by Air India: Govt

NEW DELHI: Government has not ordered any probe into large-scale purchase of aircraft by the Air India, Lok Sabha was informed today.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the government "has not ordered any probe into the matter."
"However, the CBI, on the issue of creation of MRO facilities and a training centre, in an agreement signed between Indian Airlines and Airbus Industrie, on the basis of of a preliminary enquiry (dated 14-1-2010), has filed an FIR (on 27-2-2013) and the matter is under investigation with the CBI," he said.
In 2004-6, with the approval of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, the Air India, the erstwhile Indian Airlines (now merged into Air India Ltd) and Air India Express, had placed an order for a total of 111 aircraft of which 102 have already been inducted, Raju said.

He also said that no purchase order for aircraft has been placed by Air India in the last three years and the current year.
03/08/15 PTI/The Economic Times

Number of expat pilots going down in India: Mahesh Sharma

NEW DELHI: The number of expat pilots in the country has decreased over the year with domestic carriers promoting nearly 1,000 co-pilots since 2012, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma informed Lok Sabha today.

According to the minister, a total of 942 co-pilots from across 12 airlines was promoted to the senior pilot's position between January 1, 2012 and July 28 this year.
While a total of 217 co-pilots were upgraded in 2012, the domestic carriers brought 288 first officers to the commander's position on the plane in 2013.

Another 268 co-pilots were promoted to senior pilot's position in 214, he said, adding till July this year as many as 169 co-pilots had joined the pilot's seat on the aircraft.
He said that there is a shortage of type-rated commanders in the country due to the growth in aviation industry and induction of more aircraft in the fleet by these airlines.

However, sufficient number of Indian co-pilots is available and employed with the airline.
03/08/15 PTI/The Economic Times

Airports facing ATC shortage, need to hire 1,500 ATC officers

NEW DELHI: In March, two aircraft operated by Emirates and Etihad Airways had a 'near miss' over Mumbai, as they were less than 1,000 feet apart and flying head on. Flying that close is considered dangerous and triggers a collision warning alarm in the cockpit. A Directorate General of Civil Aviation inquiry into the incident has yet to come up with its findings. Aviation experts meanwhile point out India's depleted pool of air traffic controllers—that means extra work pressure on those who are on duty-as a possible cause.
There had been several instances of near miss in Indian airspace in recent times, with Mumbai and Delhi accounting for the most.

To take the current work load, the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which provides ATC services in the country, needs to add at least 1,500 more ATC officers to the current roster of 2,600, say ATC sources.

An official at AAI's human resources department acknowledged the shortage and said a process to fill the vacancies was ongoing.
04/08/15 Mihir Mishra/The Economic Times

Air India might request DGCA to get safety chief back

Government carrier Air India (AI) might request the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to reconsider its order removing A S Soman from the post of its flight safety chief.
Soman, appointed in January, was removed on Friday on charges that he had failed to preserve the Digital Flight Data Recording for the mandated period.
“The airline received the DGCA order only on Friday. The management will discuss the issue (of the flight safety chief’s removal) on Monday and take a call accordingly,” a senior AI official said, adding, the aviation regulator might be requested to review its order.
According to regulatory norms, a scheduled airline has to monitor data for every flight and this should be kept in the records for six months.
DGCA’s approval is mandatory for appointment of an airline’s safety head. The post of safety chief in the government-owned airline is of the level of a director.
03/08/15 PTI/F.Business

Don’t fumigate plane with passengers on board, NGT directs Centre

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Centre to ensure that no disinfectant fumigation is carried out in aircraft while passengers are on board. The order came on a plea filed by a US-based neurologist, who contended that spraying such pesticides could have an adverse impact on health.
“You are supposed to kill mosquitoes not human beings. You cannot take a risk with the health of the people,” the NGT observed.
It issued directions to ensure that fumigation is carried out prior to loading of passengers or when the aircraft is empty. The Tribunal also directed the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to issue neccessary directions in this regard.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Dr Jai Kumar, a neurologist and director of the Primary Stroke Centre at Baylor Hospital in Texas.
04/08/15 Express News Service/The Indian Express

Local, overseas airlines owed Rs 2,739 crore dues to Airports Authority of India

NEW DELHI: Domestic and foreign carriers owed airport usage fee dues worth Rs 2,739 crore to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at the end of March 2015, the government said today.

Out of the total, national carrier Air India and its subsidiaries owed the maximum of Rs 1,963 crore. Other carriers include SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Jet Lite (India), IndiGo and Go Air.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said AAI has taken various measures to recover the dues such as charging interest on outstanding dues of delayed bills.

Various airlines were to pay airport usage fee worth Rs 2,738.87 crore to AAI at the end of March 2015, with "national carriers" owing Rs 1,962.92 crore, according to Sharma.
03/08/15 PTI/The Economic Times

No case of attempt to obtain pilot's licence on fake docs in 3

Aviation regulator DGCA has not come across a single instance of submission of fake documents for obtaining pilot's licence in the last three years, Government said today.

However, 19 cases of fudging of flyers hours for obtaining a trainee pilot's licence during 2010-11 are being probed by the anti-corruption bureau of Rajasthan, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma told Lok Sabha.

In addition 17 more cases were found in 2011 where pilots had obtained licences on the basis of fake Central Examination Organisation marks sheet, the Minister said.
03/08/15 PTI/Business Standard

Highrises near airport: Bombay HC seeks safety audit from AAI

Calling it a “very serious” issue, the Bombay High Court Monday directed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to produce the safety audit to see if norms related to heights of buildings in close vicinity of the Mumbai airport were being followed. Advocate Yeshwanth Shenoy, the petitioner, brought with him a thermocol model of buildings to demonstrate his case. The red markings on buildings’ crown, surrounded by clouds, demonstrated danger
Through his PIL, he alleged lapses and callousness on the part of the AAI while granting permission for building construction around the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) and Juhu Airport. He said the efforts, during a catastrophe, will prove to be a futile exercise for the firefighters as aviation fuel is highly combustible given the narrow lanes of slums around CSIA.
04/08/15 Express News Service/The Indian Express

Carriers to soon deploy flight-tracking technology

Domestic airlines are in the final stages of deploying the DGCA-mandated flight-tracking technology. The carriers are in talks with SITA, which provides airlines communication solution through its fully owned subsidiary, OnAir, to deploy the technology, said Maneesh Jaikrishna, VP, SITA – India and subcontinent.
Air Costa, Air Asia and Vistara have already deployed the solutions as they operate newer aircraft, which come with the tracking technology provided by SITA. Other including IndiGo, Air India, Jet Airways, Go Air and SpiceJet, are in advanced stages of deployment.
The flight-tracking technology allows airlines to stay in touch real-time with the ground through remote ground station equipment — which enables continuous monitoring of flights even when they are air-bound. It will establish connection between the pilot and the airlines’ operational control through live messaging.
04/08/15 Sunny Sen/The Financial Express

Five small airports being constructed for Rs 740 crore: Government

New Delhi: To increase regional air connectivity, five small airports are being constructed in different states at an estimated cost of Rs 740 crore, the government said.
Mahesh Sharma, who is the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said the government has decided to develop small airports at Tier-II and Tier-III cities in order to promote regional and remote area air connectivity.
In this regard, five locations -- Hubli and Belgaum (Karnataka), Kishangarh (Rajasthan), Jharsuguda (Odisha) and Tezu (Arunachal Pradesh) -- have been identified.
"The estimated project cost for Hubli is Rs 141.44 crore, Belgaum is Rs 141.87 crore, Kishangarh is Rs 160.05 crore, Jharsuguda is Rs 200 crore and Tezu is Rs 96.5 crore," Sharma said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
03/08/15 PTI/IBN Live

Portions of 15 air routes not adequately covered by radar: Minister

The government on Monday informed that portions of 15 air routes situated in northern and north-eastern India are not adequately covered by radar surveillance.

According to the minister of state (MoS) for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma, some distance of air routes such as W30, W31, W34, W36, W39, W85, W108 and W104 do not have adequate radar coverage.

"Portions of air routes are not adequately covered by radar due to topographical constraints and high terrain in these areas," Sharma informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply during question hour.

"However, the air traffic control (ATC) system available in the northern and north-eastern region are capable of processing all flights data."

The minister reported that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has taken steps to install radars at Amritsar and Imphal for enhancing the coverage in these air routes.
03/08/15 IANS/Business Standard

Chicago-Bound Air India Flight Delayed More Than 15 Hours

A Chicago-bound Air India flight was delayed by more than 15 hours in Delhi last week after a member of the flight's cabin crew was unavailable for duty, the Hindustan Times reported.
With no standby crew in place, the flight's 329 passengers were forced to wait overnight.
The flight was originally scheduled to depart at 2 a.m. local time Thursday, but was rescheduled for takeoff at 5:30 p.m.
An airline spokesperson attributed the lengthy delay to a "cabin crew shortage."
03/08/15 Patrick Clarke/Travel Pulse

Domestic Airport Terminal to Stay at Current Location

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday said that the domestic terminal of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport will not be moved from its current location at Shankumugham while also promising the Airport Action Council that no more evictions will take place for the redevelopment of the airport at Vallakkadavu and Vayyammoola region.
04/08/15 Express News Service/The New Indian Express

Soon, visa-on-arrival at Calicut airport

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs is planning to extend the tourist-visa-on-arrival facility for the Calicut International Airport.

The e-tourist visa facility, enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), is now available at nine destinations in the country including Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports. The new proposal is expected to give a fillip to the sagging tourism industry in north Kerala.

Highly-placed sources told The Hindu that the e-tourist visa facility would be worked out with the Bureau of Immigration, Foreigners Regional Registration Office along with the Tourism Ministry officials and the Airports Authority of India. “A team from New Delhi is reaching here on August 6 to discuss the proposal,” the sources said.

The average number of foreign arrivals per year at the Calicut International Airport is between 45,000 and 50,000 passengers. As many as 13 lakh Indians also fly down at the airport a year. The major traffic volume is experienced during April and May as well as the Haj season.
04/08/15 Biju Govind/The Hindu

Charter flights may skip Goa because of higher airport charges

Weak rouble led to a drop in Russian visitors to Goa last winter and the state's travel companies fear arrivals could decline this year too with Airport Authority of India (AAI) hiking the deposit amount it collects from charter companies.

The charter season in Goa runs from October-May and Russia and Britain are top source markets for Goa. In 2013-14 Goa airport handled 1141 charter flight movements and that number declined to 889 during last season till May 2015.

AAI collects a deposit from charter companies while granting them arrival and departure slots and for this year season the authority has revised the deposit structure leading to protests from local tour operators.
04/08/15 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

Woman Abducted by Ex-boyfriend from Airport, Rescued

Kochi:  A 30-year-old woman was abducted from the airport premises at Nedumbaserry in cinema style upon her arrival from the US after the family members of the girl resisted the marriage proposal of her alleged old boyfriend.

However, the airport police arrested three members of the gang that abducted her, including the alleged ex-boyfriend, from Palakkad and returned the woman to her parents as per her wish.

According to police, the entire drama unfolded from Sunday 10.30 pm onwards. When the woman landed at the airport on an Air India flight from the US via New Delhi, she was picked up by her family members and proceeded to their ancestral home at Mallapally in Pathanamthitta.

When the car carrying the woman reached the Cochin International Airport golf club, the five-member gang intercepted her vehicle and pulled out the woman into another car parked on the roadside, police said.

Later, the car sped to Thrissur side and when it reached Athnai junction on NH 47, the abductors moved  to another car in order to avoid being caught or chased by police.

From there it headed to Chalakkudy, where Martin, the alleged boyfriend, and Anju shifted to another Karanataka-registered taxi car and proceeded to Tamil Nadu via Palakkad.

The taxi driver, Shinz, who became suspicious, foiled the gang by stopping the car at various points in the national highway for the benefit of police.
04/08/15 New Indian Express

1kg gold found in toilet of Dubai-B’luru flight

Panaji: The Goa commissionerate of customs seized 1kg of gold that was being smuggled onboard Air India flight 994 into the country at Goa international airport, Dabolim, early on Monday. The haul, worth nearly 23 lakh, was made during a routine inspection by customs officials and airline security staff.

"The gold was hidden in the toilet but when we questioned the passengers and the airline staff, nobody claimed it," assistant commissioner Sekhar Jain said. "We learn new ways in which gold is smuggled with each inspection."

The 10 bars of gold, each weighing 100g, were wrapped in black adhesive tape and attached to the wall behind the toilet paper dispenser, customs officials said.

The Air India flight arrived from Dubai and after a brief stopover at Goa was scheduled to fly to Bengaluru. A routine check by customs officials and airline security staff led to the discovery of the smuggled gold.
04/08/15 The Times Of India

Ajmer resident held with gold worth Rs 5 lakh

Ahmedabad: Customs department on Monday morning held an Ajmer-based man for smuggling in 200g of gold, worth Rs 5 lakh, at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport. Hemant Kumar was held with gold bars concealed in his pocket. This is the first smuggling incident caught in the last month. Kumar arrived on Air Arabia's G9-483 flight from Sharjah.
04/08/15 Times of India

Jet probing theft of family's pouch containing passports, valuables

It seems the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, like major railway stations and other such crowded places, has its own set of pickpockets. A family of four on a trip to Mumbai realised this on Sunday, when a pouch containing their passports and valuables went missing, causing them a lot of inconvenience. It was later recovered with almost all of its contents gone.
According to sources, the incident happened on July 31, when the four landed in the city on a Jet Airways flight at 11.15pm. They realised they had forgotten the pouch on leaving the aircraft. But when they went back inside, it was gone. The pouch contained their passports, phone, cash and other valuables.
On Sunday, the airline authorities called them, informing them that the pouch has been found in an airport toilet with their passports intact but valuables and cash missing.
04/08/15 Shahkar Abidi/Daily News & Analysis

Monday, August 03, 2015

IndiGo-Qatar Airways-SpiceJet triangle: Is love really in the air?

An unconventional love triangle is unfolding in the skies between Indian airlines SpiceJet and IndiGo, and the Gulf-based Qatar Airways.

While SpiceJet is keen on winning over Qatar Airways, the Doha-based airline is busy wooing IndiGo. Only, IndiGo crushed their interest with a rather curt rejection.

It all started with Qatar Airways openly flirting with IndiGo. Its CEO Akbar Al Baker has been telling the media about its interest in “buying as much as 49 per cent” of the Indian low-cost airline.

In fact, Akbar told Emirates 24|7 in May that “if there is any opportunity for taking an equity stake in IndiGo, we will be very interested”.

Earlier this year, Al Baker had commented on its choice of IndiGo over other Indian carriers, saying: “We like to partner with success stories, not failures.”

He added: “If there’s equity available we would be very to take that equity in IndiGo.”

However, IndiGo put an end to the flirtations and denied any interest in Qatar Airways, adding a fresh twist to the drama.

“News reports about any possibility of Qatar Airways acquiring a stake in IndiGo are completely baseless,” read their official statement.
03/08/15 Sneha May Francis and Bindu Rai/Emirates 24|7

Course Correction: SpiceJet in a sweet spot, but will it last?

Fom the brink of bankruptcy, the country’s second largest no-frills carrier SpiceJet has bounced back to report a bottom line of Rs 71.8 crore in the three months to June. That’s a second consecutive quarter of profits and compares with a loss of Rs 124 crore in Q1FY15.
The turnaround has resulted from a confluence of several factors: lower fuel costs which fell 53.6%, a cut in capacity and a good summer holiday season. A sweet spot, which may or may not be enough to keep it going. As HSBC assessed it, the turnaround was primarily led by a 13 percentage point improvement in the load factor—the highest ever in SpiceJet’s history—and a 12% lower unit fuel costs.
Earlier this year, the Gurgaon-headquartered airline was taken over by co-founder Ajay Singh from Kalanithi Maran’s Sun Group after the government stopped the carrier from selling tickets for periods ahead. Singh agreed to arrange for a capital infusion of Rs 1500 crore of which only Rs 600 crore has come in, according to Sanjiv Kapoor, the airline’s chief operating officer.
03/08/15  Rhik Kundu/Financial Express

KIAL Hopeful of Trial Run by December

Kannur: Though heavy rain with the onset of monsoon has delayed developmental works at Kannur Airport, there is no apprehension in the minds of officials that regarding the completion of runway work by December. “We were able to complete just 57 per cent of the run way, but there is hope for a trial run by December,” G Chandramouli, managing director, Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL) told Express, during his visit to Kannur for administering ongoing work, on Thursday.

He admitted there is a slight delay in carrying out the runway work and it has taken a setback due to the heavy rains, which have made things difficult to move forward as proposed. But if the monsoon recedes by September, it may not be difficult to carry out the first landing trial at the new airport, as previously planned by December 31, he said. He was optimistic that by the mid of next year, flight operations would begin here.
03/08/15 New Indian Express

Snake in Airport hall Triggers Commotion

Thoothukudi: There was panic at the Thoothukudi airport on Sunday morning when passengers spotted a snake in the building and raised an alarm.

Around 9 am, when passengers of a SpiceJet flight from Chennai were waiting at the arrival area for their luggage, a passenger saw the snake under the chairs. Passengers started screaming for help. Scared children stood on the chairs. The snake tried to escape out of the building but could not as people were streaming in through the door.

Airport security guards and policemen rushed to the spot and tried to catch the snake. They ended up killing the snake as trapping it seemed difficult. Normalcy returned to the airport only after the snake was killed.
03/08/15 New Indian Express

Air India blames crew for misusing galley equipment

The national airline, Air India, which has blamed crew shortage for some of its punctuality woes, is now blaming crew members for misusing equipment. In a letter (mid-day has a copy) that has been sent to crew members, they have been blamed for misusing the galley equipment, causing the airline to spend huge amounts on repairing it.
The letter, which bears the signature of an Air India Senior Manager and was sent on July 23, states: “...the galley equipment/ aircraft passenger amenities are not being handled in the appropriate manner by the crew, hence getting damaged, leading to prolonged unserviceable equipment, and further leading to extremely high repair costs.
This also adversely affects the efficiency and quality of services being provided to the passengers.” It goes on the say, “…use of sharp instruments, ballpoint pens has been observed on galley equipment. Henceforth, it would be the responsibility of the crew taking over the galley, to observe and report any damage to the equipment, and bring it to the notice of the CCIC (Cabin crew in charge), and thereafter log in the cabin log.’ -
03/08/15 Neha LM Tripathi/Mid Day

Here's why flying in & out of Mumbai is risky

Mumbai:  The high cost of renting, or buying, a flat near the airport has worsened the city's air traffic control's (ATC) manpower problem. This in turn has led to chronic flight delays and ever-increasing cases of potential mid-air collisions.

Expensive real estate turns out to be the real spoiler in a situation where there is heavy reliance on personnel transferred from other parts of the country, as is the case in Mumbai. Had the cost of leasing a flat close to Mumbai airport been the same as that in Delhi, or had it been as cheap as in Kolkata or Chennai, air traffic control officers (ATCOs) across the country, especially seniors, would not have shunned a Mumbai posting. The dearth of official quarters has exacerbated the problem.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which provides ATC services in the 9.6 million sq km Indian airspace, is yet to wake up to the problem.
03/08/15 Manju V/Times of India

Land purchase sanctioned for airport at Bareilly

Lucknow: Even as the fate of the proposed Jewar airport in Greater Noida hangs in balance, the UP government has given a fresh boost to construction of an airport facility at Bareilly, the strategic doorway to politically crucial West UP. The department of civil aviation has sanctioned over Rs 53 crore for purchasing land near the existing air force station to pave way for a civil conclave that could essentially be used like a terminal building once domestic air carriers start operations. Sources in the civil aviation department said that around 10 hectares of land would soon be purchased in Gram Murdiya Ahmednagar near the air force station. Officials said that the land would be acquired for the facility on the basis of mutual agreement with the land owners. The state government has estimated different compensation for different plots which would be pieced together to form a larger site for a civil conclave.
03/08/15 Nyooz

Ministry's plan of shifting flight operations to T3 puts Metro station's fate in limbo

New Delhi: Uncertainty looms large over the upcoming Metro station at Terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in the Capital, with the Civil Aviation Ministry planning to close passenger services at the domestic terminal.
Shifting of domestic flight operations from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 will render the upcoming Metro station useless while the existing Aerocity station on the Airport Express Metro could also meet a similar fate.
Sources in the Urban Development Ministry said the move may force the Delhi Metro to suspend passenger services at the two stations as it could lead to a huge reduction in footfall.
As per the plan, the Central government wants to convert Terminal 1 into cargo terminal and shift all low-cost carriers to Terminal 3. Once shifted, there will be no passenger footfall at Terminal 1 station, thus depriving the new Metro station of passengers.
03/08/15 Rakesh Ranjan/Mail Today

Did IAF compromise on pilot training?

Pune: A number of aircraft belonging to the Indian Air Force (IAF) have crashed in recent years, and sources in the IAF have hinted that pilots' training may have been compromised, leading to these incidents. "Due to nonavailability of basic trainer aircraft, intermediate jet trainer and full complement of advance jet simulators, pilot training was compromised. Considering these things, it's an alarming trend we have seen in recent years," said a senior IAF officer, wishing to stay anonymous.

According to Ministry of Defence (MoD) data, 20 fighter aircraft (3 Sukhoi, 12 MiG and 5 Jaguar) have crashed in the last three years. When asked why instances of MiG aircraft crashes are significantly higher, the officer said, "MiG 21s and 27s were brought in from Russia in the 60s and 70s. Considering the rise in MiG accidents, three squadrons of the ageing MiG 21 and 27 fighter jets are set to be phased out this year. Three squadrons of 18 aircraft each will be pulled out due to the end of their life cycle."
03/08/15 Pune Mirror

Builders blame BMC-AAI dispute for stalled projects

Mumbai's developer community is worried. For nearly five months now, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has stopped issuing a crucial document to city builders which is mandatory for securing the no-objection certificate from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for all buildings reaching beyond certain AAI-specified heights anywhere within the 20-km radius from the airport. As a result, several new constructions and redevelopment projects in the city have been stalled. Developers say an internal dispute between the AAI and the BMC is to blame for the mess.
It goes like this: Till March, the BMC was responsible for providing the World Geodetic System-84 coordinate certificate (the certificate specified the latitude and longitude of a particular plot and the site elevation) to the developers, who in turn had to submit it to the AAI, along with their application, for building height clearances.
At present, AAI approval is required for buildings of any height within a 3km radius of the airport. Buildings with a height of 45 metres within a 5.5km radius, 65m in a 6.5km radius, 80m buildings in a 7.5km radius and buildings of 85m beyond a 22km radius of the airport is permissible. Beyond these specified heights, AAI approval is required.
03/08/15 Amrita Nayak Dutta/Daily News & Analysis

British Airways slashes the size of hand luggage

London: The UK's flag carrier British Airways has reduced the size of the hand luggage, for economy class travellers, by nearly half from August 18 after claiming that big passenger bags were causing regular flight delays.

The maximum size of main carry-on bags will remain unchanged, but smaller second bags such as handbags will be capped at 40x30x15cm instead of the current 45x36x20cm, the airline said in a statement.

The airline, which allows each person to have two bags in the cabin, is almost halving the size of the "personal" bag from August 18, it said.
02/08/15 PTI/Times of India

Every home will have a drone soon: Indian-origin scientist

Washington: The current craze of grabbing the latest mobile phone may soon be replaced by a desire to own a drone, according to Indian-origin scientist  Parimal Kopadekar from NASA.

In five to 10 years from now, every home may have a drone,  Kopadekar said at a conference on Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management hosted by Nasa and the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International last week.
"I see a time when every home will have a drone,"  Kopadekar, manager of Nasa's Safe Autonomous System Operations Project at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, was quoted as saying by USA Today.

"You are going to use a drone to do rooftop inspections. You are going to be able to send a drone to Home Depot to get a screw driver," he noted.

He said that  "this is in five or 10 years". Scientists conceive new beneficial applications for these aircraft, including goods delivery, infrastructure inspection, search and rescue, and agricultural monitoring.
03/08/15 IANS/Deccan Herald

India Is Set to Re-Compete MMRCA!

After selecting the Rafale in a direct buy from France and scrapping the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender for 126 aircraft, India is likely to recompete the program, inviting bidders to compete on the production of 90 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force. The Air Force requires at least 126 aircraft to replace aging fighter jets to be withdrawn from service in the coming decade. Although India agreed to buy 36 Rafales directly from France, the air force needs the remaining 90 aircraft to replace hundreds of its MiG-21, 27 and Jaguars reaching the end of their service life.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is expected to be drafted soon after the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) comes in place.

Although not as big as the original 126 aircraft MMRCA tender, the new program is expected to be one of the biggest projects under the ‘Make in India’ campaign, as the cost of the programme is expected to be around $30 billion. Out of the 90 aircraft, 54 will be single-seaters and the remaining 36 tandem-seaters. The base order will be for 90 aircraft with an option for 45 additional fighters as a follow-on order.
02/08/15 Defense Update

Aeroflot bars Kashmiris on Turkey flight

New Delhi: Last week, Russian airline Aeroflot refused to take four Kashmiri students to Turkey from Delhi's IGI airport on flimsy grounds. According to the victims, airlines didn't give any reason but asked the quartet to travel with Turkish Airlines before throwing them out of the terminal building.
The students have filed complaints with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and Aeroflot. Reacting to the incident, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has termed the act of the airline as fishy.
One of the fliers - Mohd Iqbal Rather, a student of Aligarh Muslim University - told Mail Today: "We reached Delhi airport on Thursday around 1.30 am to catch Aeroflot flight number SU 233. When we went to the airline counter, officials told us that we can't travel to Istanbul with Aeroflot. When we asked the reason, they didn't tell anything. Later, they asked their colleagues to take us out of the terminal building. We were humiliated despite the fact that we had proper visa, tickets and other documents."
03/08/15 Ankur Sharma/Mail Today/India Today

HAL to Start Op At Nashik Terminal

Bengaluru: The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has signed an MoU with the Maharashtra government to undertake operations at the new terminal building at the Nashik Airport. HAL will utilise the terminal building on a lease of 30 years as the land belongs to it.

The companies that will start services from the airport include Air India, Blue Dart, DHL, Indigo, Jet Airways, Go Air and AI Express. HAL held an airline operator conference showcasing its airport facilities at the new terminal building at Ojhar, 20 km from Nashik.

HAL chief managing director T Suvarna Raju said: “Civilian aircraft operations at Nashik will go a long way in the development of the region in the coming years. Apart from operating the scheduled flights, domestic and international airlines will be able to use this airport for diversion, technical halt and night parking. The movement of cargo directly from Nashik should reduce load on Mumbai airport.”
03/08/15 New Indian Express

AI to gain most if govt clears funds to Home Ministry

New Delhi: Air India (AI) will be a major beneficiary of the increase in funds for the Union Home Ministry once Parliament clears the supplementary demands for grants.

The Finance Ministry has earmarked Rs 100 crore for the Home Ministry to clear “pending claims from Air India for operating and maintaining” prime minister's aircraft.

AI operates Boeing-747 planes as Air India One whenever the prime minister goes abroad. There are pending bills with regard to the use of Air India planes for VVIPs.

The External Affairs Ministry also has to settle a Rs 188.91 crore bill with AI towards maintenance cost of B747 aircraft for VVIP movement.  Parliament's approval has been sought for a gross additional expenditure of Rs 40,821.88 crore, of which the Home Ministry will get an extra Rs 227.96 crore besides the earlier allocation of Rs 68,444.10 crore. The national carrier will also get an additional equity infusion of Rs 800 crore, for which the Finance Ministry has sought approval in the supplementary demands for the Civil Aviation Ministry.
03/02/15 Deccan Herald

Aera takes Dial fees fight to SC

New Delhi: The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Aera) has petitioned the Supreme Court for vacating a Delhi High Court order that allows the GMR-led Delhi International Airport (Dial) to collect airport fees fixed earlier, while staying a planned cut in aeronautical charges by 78 per cent for Indira Gandhi International airport.

The apex court has directed the parties concerned to respond within three weeks.

“The airport regulator wants to implement the proposed reduction in aeronautical charges. Aera has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court. It has argued that the move would benefit air passengers. As a result of lower airport charges, airfares would fall,” an aviation official told Financial Chronicle.

On January 29, Aera had proposed to reduce aeronautical charges at Delhi airport for 2014-19 against the private operator’s demand for raising charges by 42.6 per cent.
02/08/15 Nirbhay Kumar/mydigitalfc.com

13 Years On, Desi IJT Back to Drawing Board

Bengaluru: Thirteen years after a prototype took to the skies, HAL’s intermediate jet trainer HJT-36 Sitara project has gone into a tailspin.

The Indian Air Force has told Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to address basic flaws in its design.  The trainer, IJT in official parlance, must be made capable of recovering from stall and spin, the IAF has informed the Bengaluru-based public sector major manufacturer. “You cannot fly an aircraft that can’t spin and recover from it. They have to return to the drawing board and make it work,” a senior IAF officer told Express on condition of anonymity. The IAF has expressed its displeasure over long delays at HAL, besides the aircraft’s inability to meet its requirements.

The project, begun in 1999, was hit by a series of accidents and a change of engine. The first prototype took to the skies in 2003 and six prototypes are now operational. “It is an aerodynamic or design flaw. It cannot be rectified unless they start all over again,” the officer said. That means the project will be delayed further.
03/08/15 Ramu Patil/New Indian Express

Shifting flight operations to T3 aimed at cutting expenses

New Delhi: The closure of passenger services at Terminal 1 of the IGI Airport looks imminent with stakeholders working out modalities for converting it into a full fledged cargo terminal.
Shifting of low-cost domestic flights to Terminal 3 aims at cutting down passenger fares, transit time and fuel consumption. A senior official at IGI Airport said the Terminal 3 has the capacity of handling 60 million passengers per year, but the capacity could be increased up to 100 million passengers annually. At present, Terminal 3 caters to nearly 40 million passengers while Terminal 1 handles 10 million passengers annually.
Well-placed sources said shifting the flight operations to T3 will help in reducing the establishment expenditure, which includes operation and maintenance cost and the expenses on security apparatus at the airport.
Sources said the Civil Aviation Ministry is not keen on maintaining two airport terminals located at a small distance.
03/08/15 Rakesh Ranjan/Mail Today/India Today

MH370: Malaysia calls for help in wreckage search near Reunion

Reunion: Malaysia has asked the authorities in the islands surrounding Reunion to be vigilant for possible plane wreckage, as France confirmed that the object washed up on the Indian Ocean isle was from a Boeing 777.
Mauritius, which is some 140 miles from Reunion, has already ordered its coastguard plane to fly surveillance flights over the area, and their boats to be on the lookout.
Other islands in the region – Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Maldives – are expected to do the same.
“I urge all parties to allow this crucial investigation process to take its course,” said Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysia’s transport minister. “I reiterate this is for the sake of the next of kin of the loved ones of MH370 who would be anxiously awaiting news and have suffered much over this time.
“We will make an announcement once the verification process has been completed.”
Mr Liow said that the French-led team analysing the wing fragment – known as a "flaperon" – which was found on Reunion on Wednesday, have confirmed it is from a Boeing 777. MH370 is the only Boeing 777 to have crashed in the southern hemisphere.
French authorities are expected to announce on Wednesday whether the wing belonged to MH370, disappeared on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
02/07/15 Harriet Alexander/The Telegraph, UK

MH370 investigators to meet in France ahead of debris analysis

Five days after the discovery of a Boeing 777 wing fragment on the Indian Ocean island of RĂ©union, French and Malaysian aviation experts will meet police and magistrates in Paris to co-ordinate their work in the investigation into the disappearance of Flight MH370.

It comes after a fevered hunt for more possible wreckage on the island on Sunday turned up no further clues, with authorities confirming that metallic debris found by locals did not come from an aircraft.

A Malaysian delegation headed by the director general of civil aviation, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, and representatives from Malaysia Airlines and judicial officials will meet on Monday in a chamber of the three French magistrates assigned to the case.
03/08/15 AFP/Guardian

Identification work of suspected MH370 debris set for Aug.5

Plane debris that washed up on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion and may belong to the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight has been transferred to Toulouse for identification, which would be conducted on Aug. 5, French media reported on Sunday.

In Saint-Denis, capital of La Reunion, Chinese Consul General Guo Wei told Xinhua that the Chinese side is closely following latest developments of the issue.

The consulate has been continuously monitoring information concerning recovery, transport and examination of the debris, and will keep in touch with La Reunion authorities, he added.

The flight, a Boeing 777-200, went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, and a total of 239 passengers on board, most of them Chinese nationals, are presumed dead.

The debris was found Wednesday off the French overseas island. Experts identified it as a part of a plane wing known as a flaperon. A day later, pieces of a suitcase and bottles were also found in the area.

The flaperon has been transported by truck to Toulouse on Saturday after being airlifted to Paris from Saint-Denis.

The debris, about 2-2.5 meters long, will be checked by experts at the military-run General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) in Toulouse suburbs. The fragments of that suitcase went to a Paris lab for investigation.

French experts won't examine the debris till the arrival of their Malaysian counterparts, the Paris prosecutor's office said in a statement.
02/08/15 Wang Fan/Xinhua/Ecns.cn

Hunt for MH370: Australia Won’t Extend Search Without Fresh Evidence

Canberra, Australia: Australia still plans to end the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after the current undersea search zone has been covered unless a wing part found on a remote Indian Ocean island yields hard clues on the fate of the vanished aircraft, the country’s deputy prime minister said Monday.

Warren Truss, whose country is leading the southern Indian Ocean search and bearing most of the costs, said unless a small flap found on France’s RĂ©union Island last week revealed evidence of an explosion or structural failure changing calculations of where the aircraft may have come down, Australia expected to wrap up the search late next year.

“The experts are telling us that there is a 97% possibility that it is in that area, and if you move into a wider area there is just too much to be covered for a small chance of finding the aircraft,” Mr. Truss said in an interview.
03/08/15 Rob Taylor/Wall Street Journal

'MH370 plane door' found is just a Ladder

Malaysian officials have said the latest piece of 'debris' found on the tiny Indian Ocean island where a Boeing 777 wing flap was washed up is nothing more than part of an ordinary ladder.
Police had taken the unusual piece of metal from a Reunion beach this morning, thinking it may have been part of a door from the missing Malaysian Airways plane.
A wing flap, thought to belong to the aircraft, was found on the island's shore on Wednesday, and has been flown to France for analysis.
Malaysian director general of civil aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman - who is leading the investigation in France - has dismissed all speculation over today's finds.
'I read all over media it (the new debris) was part of a door. But I checked with the Civil Aviation Authority, and people on the ground in Reunion, and it was just a domestic ladder,' he said.
However, all the authorities who have inspected the wing flap - including the French, aircraft manufacturer Boeing and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) - have confirmed the part was from a Boeing 777.
MH370 is the only missing 777 in the world.
02/08/15 Flora Dury and Stephane Linning/Mail Online

MH370 mystery: As debris floats up, Pune family waits for answers

The possible wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines flight, MH370, washing up on the shores of the remote Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean has brought little respite to the family of Prahlad Shirsath, whose wife Kranti Shirsath was on the ill-fated plane that went missing on March 8, 2014. The family was torn apart after the tragedy 16 months ago. While Shirsath’s elder son, Rahul, now lives in an engineering college hostel in the city, his younger son was admitted to a school hostel in Sangamner, Ahmednagar. Prahlad took up his previous job with the NGO Concern Worldwide after a gap of almost one year and is presently on an assignment in Nepal. “Last year, I was in Class 12 and papa helped me with my studies and my dream to get admission into an engineering college. Once I got admission, I decided to stay in the college hostel. Kabir was sent to a boarding school. Papa rejoined Concern Worldwide,” said Rahul Shirsath. Talking about his father, Rahul said that Prahlad’s decision to rejoin his work was more to do with his mother’s absence than money. “Mom’s absence can be felt everywhere in the house and in everything we do. It was very hard for dad as he looked after the house and us throughout last year. He used to be alone at home when we went to school and hence it was hard for him. That is why he decided to join the NGO and work among people who need his help. He is on a short assignment in Nepal, helping the people there and that keeps him busy,’’ said Rahul.
03/08/15 Indian Express

'Make in India' for 90 medium combat jets

NEW DELHI: In another major step towards self reliance in the defence sector, a plan is being finalised to produce 90 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) in India, informed sources said.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is expected to be drafted soon after the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) comes in place.

Expected to be one of the biggest projects under the Make in India campaign, the cost of the programme is expected to be around $30 million, the sources said.

The Indian Air Force requires 126 MMRCAs. With India getting into an agreement with France to get 36 Rafale fighter jets in flyaway condition, there was a lack of clarity on how the rest of the gap will be filled.
The sources said that now these remaining jets will be made in India, in what will be a major step in domestic manufacturing of such aircraft.

According to the sources, the air force does not have enough squadrons in the event of a joint war with Pakistan and China.

"An RFP is expected to be drafted soon for making 90 MMRCAs in India. A global tender will be floated. The private sector will also have an active participation," said an official from the defence ministry.
02/08/15 IANS/The Times Of India

Air India may request DGCA for Soman's reinstatement

NEW DELHI: National carrier Air India may request aviation regulator DGCA to reconsider its order removing A S Soman from the post of its flight safety chief after discussing the issue tomorrow.

Soman, who was appointed to the post in January, was removed on Friday on the charge that he had failed to preserve the Digital Flight Data Recording (DFDR) for the mandated period.
"The airline received the DGCA order only on Friday. The management will discuss the issue (of flight safety chief's removal) on Monday and then take a call accordingly," a senior Air India official said, adding, the aviation regulator may be requested to review its order.

According to regulatory norms, a scheduled airline has to monitor data for every flight and this should be kept in the records for six months.
02/08/15 PTI/The Economic Times

Airlines against Bengaluru airport's 50% discount to AirAsia

NEW DELHI: AirAsia India's decision to declare Bengaluru airport as its hub won the new carrier up to 50 per cent discount in airport charges. This has not gone down well with the older airlines, which have opened a new front against the Indo-Malaysian low-cost carrier by complaining to the government against the discount.
"The airlines have complained about it and the airport regulator Airports Economic regulatory Authority (AERA) has been asked to look into the issue," said a civil aviation ministry official, who did not want to be identified.
03/08/15 Mihir Mishra/The Economic Times

No plane link to new debris in island hunt for MH370 clues

A fevered hunt for more wreckage from missing flight MH370 on La Reunion island turned up no new clues Sunday as authorities said metallic debris found by locals did not come from an airplane.
However Malaysia urged authorities in the Indian Ocean region to be on the lookout for debris washing up on their shores after the discovery of part of a Boeing 777 wing raised hopes it could help solve one of aviation`s greatest mysteries.

Locals on La Reunion island have been combing the shores since the wing part was found last Wednesday, handing over bits of what they believe to be wreckage to police.

On Sunday, several pieces of debris sparked excitement, one of which was believed by locals to be from a plane door.

However investigators quickly shot down hopes.

Malaysian Director General of Civil Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman who is in France for the analysis of the wing part, told AFP one item "was actually from a domestic ladder. It is not a door".

And a source close to the investigation in Paris said "no object or debris likely to come from a plane" had been placed into evidence on Sunday.

Police on the Indian Ocean island also collected Sunday a mangled piece of metal inscribed with two Chinese characters and attached to what appears to be a leather-covered handle.

Chinese internet users suggested it may be a kettle.
02/08/15 AFP/Z News

Land purchase sanctioned for airport at Bareilly

LUCKNOW: Even as the fate of the proposed Jewar airport in Greater Noida hangs in balance, the UP government has given a fresh boost to construction of an airport facility at Bareilly, the strategic doorway to politically crucial West UP. The department of civil aviation has sanctioned over Rs 53 crore for purchasing land near the existing air force station to pave way for a civil conclave that could essentially be used like a terminal building once domestic air carriers start operations.

Sources in the civil aviation department said that around 10 hectares of land would soon be purchased in Gram Murdiya Ahmednagar near the air force station. Officials said that the land would be acquired for the facility on the basis of mutual agreement with the land owners.

The state government has estimated different compensation for different plots which would be pieced together to form a larger site for a civil conclave. While for some, a compensation of Rs 20,000 per square meter has been estimated, for another, it has fixed at Rs 6,000 per square meter. Officials said that the compensation is as per the condition of the site and its utility.
03/08/15 Pankaj Shah/The Times Of India

Air India arm sends Rs 406 crore down drain

Air India Charters Ltd, the low cost subsidiary of national carrier Air India, has been indicted by the CAG for wasting Rs 405.83 crore by renewing the lease of four aircrafts in its fleet even though the planes were not required as the airline went in for the acquisition of 18 new Boeing planes.

The airline did not even have enough pilots at the time to fly the planes and was operating on loss making routes but still decided to renew the dry lease of the four aircraft, the CAG report tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Friday states.
According to the report, acquisition of 18 new aircrafts was approved by the company and the Ministry of Civil Aviation in December, 2005 to replace the aircraft on dry lease. In fact it had been decided that in case Boeing was able to commence deliveries of the aircraft earlier, the number of aircraft would be reduced accordingly.
03/08/15 Mail Today Bureau/Business Today

Airport baggage theft too takes off

New Delhi, Aug. 2: A query triggered by a parliamentarian's loss has prompted the government to unzip baggage data that suggest India's airports are getting increasingly theft-prone.

Airports across the country cumulatively documented 114 cases of baggage theft last year, a 50 per cent increase over the number during the previous year, the Union civil aviation ministry has told Parliament.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi alone accounted for 67 of the cases last year, and has already registered 28 among the 47 such incidents reported between January and May this year, the ministry said in a report tabled in the Lok Sabha last week.
B.V. Nayak, the Congress MP from Raichur constituency in Karnataka, lost Rs 2 lakh in cash while travelling from Bangalore to Hyderabad in May this year. The theft had prompted him to ask the government whether "the number of cases of baggage theft has increased in the country during the last three years".

Recalling the incident, Nayak today told The Telegraph he felt something amiss when he noticed that two knobs on his suitcase were broken when he collected it at Hyderabad airport.

"I immediately checked and found that while clothes and documents kept inside were there, Rs 2 lakh in notes I had kept in the suitcase were missing - I felt violated," he said.

"I had taken an Air India flight, so I immediately took up the matter with airline staff at Hyderabad airport but they said the theft could not have taken place after check-in, it would have happened during scanning of the luggage - which I think is an unbelievable explanation."
02/08/15 Sumi Sukanya/The Telegraph

Bird-hit fears loom over city airport

AHMEDABAD: With the onset of monsoon, birds have been returning to the city airport in large numbers, increasing the risk of bird-hits. In second half of June, Airports Authority of India (AAI) announced that in association with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, it will launch an awareness campaigns. But little seems to have moved on the ground.

While measures like grass-cutting and routine inspections are being implemented inside the airport, the situation on its periphery remains the same. Birds continue to flock to the airport and have been seen close to the runway. It is to be noted that last year in the monsoon, two major incidents of bird-hits were reported at Ahmedabad airport, in early August. In both the incidents, aircraft suffered damage and had to be grounded.

"The circulars for awareness were issued but no major activity has taken place on the ground," said a source at the airport. "In the rainy season, water-logging and garbage piles attract birds to the areas around the airport, posing a severe threat to flights."
03/08/15 The Times Of India

AI to gain most if govt clears funds to Home Ministry

Air India (AI) will be a major beneficiary of the increase in funds for the Union Home Ministry once Parliament clears the supplementary demands for grants.

The Finance Ministry has earmarked Rs 100 crore for the Home Ministry to clear “pending claims from Air India for operating and maintaining” prime minister's aircraft.

AI operates Boeing-747 planes as Air India One whenever the prime minister goes abroad. There are pending bills with regard to the use of Air India planes for VVIPs.
03/08/15 DHNS/Deccan Herald

Air India asks DGCA to reconsider removal of AS Soman

National carrier Air India may request aviation regulator DGCA to reconsider its order removing A.S. Soman from the post of its flight safety chief after discussing the issue on Monday.
A.S. Soman, who was appointed to the post in January, was removed on Friday on the charge that he had failed to preserve the Digital Flight Data Recording (DFDR) for the mandated period.

“The airline received the DGCA order only on Friday. The management will discuss the issue on Monday and then take a call accordingly,” a senior AI official said.
03/08/15 PTI/The Hans India

Unexpected night rain delays flights, passengers and schedules affected

CHENNAI: Flying to the city has become unreliable by evening flights. Unexpected night rain has been causing delays as the MeT department is not able to accurately predict and spread information about the weather situation to airlines and airports efficiently. Airlines have raised the issue with the Airports Authority of India several times.

More than five flights suffered delays between 7pm and midnight on Friday. At least one or two flights were delayed every day in the last three days due to inclement weather. And it was a tough time for travellers and airline officials as passengers and schedules were affected.

"Schedules elsewhere were affected because planes arrived at Chennai late. Ground handling work like loading and unloading of baggage and readying a plane were also hit because many planes are parked in the remote bay which is away from the passenger terminals," said an airport official.

Sources said though pilots receive updates from MeT department, a change in weather that brings in heavy rainfall in a short span of time is affecting airline operations. This has made it very difficult for airline staff who manage operations.

Aera takes Dial fees fight to SC

The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Aera) has petitioned the Supreme Court for vacating a Delhi High Court order that allows the GMR-led Delhi International Airport (Dial) to collect airport fees fixed earlier, while staying a planned cut in aeronautical charges by 78 per cent for Indira Gandhi International airport.

The apex court has directed the parties concerned to respond within three weeks.

“The airport regulator wants to implement the proposed reduction in aeronautical charges. Aera has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court. It has argued that the move would benefit air passengers. As a result of lower airport charges, airfares would fall,” an aviation official told Financial Chronicle.
02/08/15 Nirbhay Kumar/mydigitalfc

Missing MH370 plane draws eyes to land of molten lava and killer sharks

As experts on the Indian Ocean island Reunion studied plane debris for clues in the search for missing flight MH370, scientist Nicolas Villeneuve was making his own discovery: the island's volcano was about to erupt.
Reunion, a part of France that lies in the Indian Ocean around 370 miles east of Madagascar, gained newfound notoriety last week when a beach cleaner stumbled across a barnacled piece of an airplane wing known as a flaperon.
The wreckage was flown on Friday to mainland France where experts hope forensic analysis will uncover if it was part of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished without trace in March 2014 along with 239 passengers and crew.
Hopes that the piece of debris could help solve one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history and end 16 months of painful uncertainty for relatives has briefly turned the global media spotlight on Reunion.
02/08/15 Joe Brock/News Asia Pacific

No More Premium Parking at Airport

CHENNAI: This could be either bitter or sweet news for you depending on where you park your car while at the city airport. Doing away with the concept of a separate premium parking space, parking contractor Garuda Aviation has docked the prices for all parking to Rs 150.

The only catch — normal parking, which used to cost Rs 135 for four hours now costs Rs 150 for half the time viz - two hours. “We have done away with the premium and normal parking and made it a single rate because the slots are not quite well defined. With the Metro work going on there is constant realignment of the parking lots and so we have made this move,” said an official of the company.

After Garuda picked up the parking contract from Airports Authority of India (AAI)  four years ago,  they have been operating tollbooths and electronic parking systems at the airport. The cost started at Rs 120 and then was hiked to Rs 135 and now stands at Rs 150. A revision in the rates was supposed to be done earlier this year but was deferred because of contractual extensions and other constraints.
03/08/15 Daniel Thimmayya/The New Indian Express

Another glass panel shatters at Chennai airport

CHENNAI: Shattering of glass panels and doors continues at Chennai airport as another glass panel fell off on Saturday at the new domestic terminal. An airport official said the panel did not fall off but broke because of a worker's fault.

"The worker pushed the glass panel which was near a door and it broke under pressure. Nobody was injured. It is not because of the quality of the glass but due to poor handling of the facility," said an official of Airports Authority of India. However, repeated breaking of glass panels have created a concern regarding passenger safety at Chennai and Kolkata airports - both developed by AAI. In Kolkata airport, a CISF jawan fell to his death after he stepped into a sheet that tried to cover a hole, created by a broken glass tile, on a glass-floored bridge on Saturday.
03/08/15 The Times Of India 

Plane collision averted at Guwahati airport

Guwahati: A collision was averted at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) airport here on Sunday, when a plane was on the runway for takeoff, while another aborted landing at the last minute, officials said.
The Spice jet aircraft (SG 653) from Agartala decided to go around after failing to get clearance from the Air Traffic Control for landing.

Airport officials said the incident took place when an Indigo flight (6E-571) bound for Delhi was on the runway for takeoff.
02/08/15 Agencies IndiLeak

Company plans maintenance, overhaul of civil aircraft at Ozar

NASHIK: The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is planning to set up a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for civil aircraft at its Ozar division.

Currently, the company has MRO facility for defence aircraft at its Ozar and Bangalore divisions. Now it proposes to expand its operations.

T Suvarna Raju, chairman and the managing director, said: "The HAL is engaged in manufacturing defence aircraft and have produced 3,900 aircraft across all divisions so far. Besides, it has overhauled 6,000 engines. Whatever we supply, whether they are indigenous or licensed products, everything is overhauled at HAL divisions. The HAL has MRO facilities for defence aircraft at its Nashik and Bangalore divisions. The company has expertise in doing MRO for defence aircraft."
03/08/15 Tushar Pawar/The Times Of India

3D state tourism map to be put up at airport

A 3D Tourist Map of Odisha will be put up at the Biju Patnaik Airport, as part of the drive to capitalise on the Annual Convention of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurants Association of India ( FHRAI) scheduled to be held here from 25 to 27 September.
Chief Secretary Gokul Chandra Pati has asked concerned officers to promote Odisha tourism on World Tourism Day and orient the events of the celebration towards inviting more investments to the state.
The World Tourism Day and organisation of the 50th Annual Convention of the Federation of Hotel & Restaurants Association of India (FHRAI) in the state provides a great opportunity to showcase Odisha tourism, he observed.
The state government has decided to hold these two events under joint collaboration between the department of tourism and FHRAI.
03/08/15 The Statesman

Tiruchi airport gets canopy at cargo terminal

Persistent demand of exporters for a canopy in front of the export cargo terminal at the Tiruchi international airport has been addressed.

A huge canopy has been put up in front of the cargo terminal enabling exporters to despatch their goods without any difficulty during rain or intense heat.

It has been established at a cost of Rs. 40 lakh with funds provided by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The canopy construction work which commenced in March was completed in a span of four-and-half months much ahead of the deadline.

It would provide cover for goods carriers carrying international cargo meant for overseas destinations.
03/08/15 R.Rajaram/The Hindu

Mumbai Airport and Vistara launch mobile phone boarding pass facility

Mumbai: GVK MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd.) and Vistara today announced the launch of mobile phone boarding pass facility for Vistara’s customers travelling out of Mumbai’s T2 terminal to New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Goa. The first of its kind initiative by Mumbai Airport, helps provide Vistara’s customers a truly seamless travel experience. The mobile boarding pass facility is also a time-saver for passengers and result in reduction in usage of paper boarding passes.  Overall, the mobile phone boarding pass facility will lead to another ‘Experience Simplicity’ feature while travelling through Mumbai Airport by Vistara.
02/08/15 Odisha Diary.TV

Jet Airways, SpiceJet surge after fuel price cut

NEW DELHI: Aviation stocks jumped up to 8 per cent in trade on Monday after India Oil Corp said it has cut aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices by 8.4 per cent to 9.7 per cent.

Jet Airways surged 8.59 per cent to hit its intraday high of Rs 434.70 on the BSE.

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet gained 5.50 per cent to hit its day's high of Rs 28.75 on the exchange.
03/08/15 The Economic Times