Saturday, April 25, 2015

DGCA cautions against compromising aviation safety

New Delhi: Cautioning against laxity in aviation safety, particularly in the backdrop of incidents elsewhere, India`s aviation regulator on Friday said its inspections have thrown up instances where safety was compromised.
"There are a few incidents that are taking place mainly because we have been compromising on some of the safety aspects," Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) M. Sathiyavathy said here.

He was speaking at the launch of India Aviation 2016 to be held from March 16-20, 2016, at Begumpet airport of Hyderabad.

"After the Mangalore accident, we did not have any major incidents but that does not mean that we should be complacent," she added.
24/04/15 IANS/Zee News

Air traffic rose by 20% in quarter, less occupancy in March

New Delhi: India's air passenger traffic rose by an impressive 20.57 percent in the March quarter over the same period a year ago. However, the carriers filled less number of seats in
March against February, according to the data released by the DGCA.
Nine Indian carriers together flew a total of 185.46 lakh passengers in the March quarter of the previous fiscal as against 153.81 lakh passengers ferried by them in January-March quarter of financial year 2013-14.
At the same time, the load factor of the domestic airlines in March this year has shown decreasing trend
compared to previous month due to end of vacation period of various sectors, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
On a month-on-month basis, domestic carriers ferried a total of 62.85 lakh passengers in March with budget carrier IndiGo carrying more than a third of this at 22.86 lakh passengers.
This was followed by Jet Airways and its wholly-owned subsidiary JetLite, which together have flown 13.95 lakh passengers in the reporting month.
While national carrier Air India stood at a distant third as it transported a total of 10.60 lakh passengers in March 2015, the number of passengers ferried by GoAir and SpiceJet during this period stood at 6.90 lakh and 5.31 lakh respectively.
At the same time, Tata-SIA joint venture carrier continued to struggle to attract passengers in its three-class configuration-business, premium economy and economy with the airline flying just 53,000 passengers in March this year.
24/04/15 PTI/First Post

Nagpur Flying Club takes off again

NAGPUR: The Nagpur Flying Club, which had stopped operations in January after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) did not extend its licence, has got a breather.

DGCA had taken similar action against 25 other flying clubs in the country, including National Flying Training Institute at Gondia, the electoral constituency of former civil aviation minister Praful Patel. Flying has resumed in Gondia too, which has also got three months to complete all requirements.
25/04/15 TNN/The Times Of India

Despite AAI dampener, airport hope takes wings

AMRAVATI: Despite the negative opinion of Airport Authority of India (AAI) regarding the feasibility of Amravati airport, Union minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma has responded positively to the strong wishes of Union minister Nitin Gadkari and public representatives of Amravati, deciding to study the airport proposal afresh.

Sharma announced this at a meeting, arranged with the initiative of Gadkari, with guardian minister of the district Pravin Pote, MLAs Sunil Deshmukh, Yashomati Thakur, Ravi Rana, Bachchu Kadu, Anil Bonde, Prabhudas Bhilawekar, Ramesh Bundile, Virendra Jagtap and collector Kiran Gitte at New Delhi on Thursday.
25/04/15 TNN/The Times Of India

Juhu airport primary runway hold-up hits aircraft movement

Scores of arriving flights at Juhu airport were affected for over three hours after a fire engine got stuck on the primary runway on Friday morning.

Though the airport authorities could not confim the number of affected flights, saying most of the flight operations are of non-scheduled operators, the departing ones were made to take off from the secondary runway till the time the primary runway was occupied.
25/04/15 Shahkar Abidi/dna

Tripura demands 4 more AI flights

Agartala: To curb the monopoly of private airlines in the Agartala-Kolkata and Agartala-Guwahati sectors, the Tripura government has demanded at least four more flights, preferably by national carrier Air India.

Transport minister Manik Dey said Air India has been operating only one flight in the Agartala-Kolkata sector, despite repeated requests to the civil aviation for additional flights.

Taking advantage of passenger pressure and absence of state-owned airlines, Indigo and SpiceJet have again doubled fares in all routes connecting Agartala over the past one week. Dey said heavy pre-monsoon shower and storm have disconnected land connectivity of the state with the rest of the country. The only highway connecting Agartala with Guwahati has remained snapped at several locations in of south Assam's Barak Valley for the last two weeks.
25/04/15 TNN/The Times Of India

Fresh EIA Nod Set to Revive Aranmula Airport Project

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM /ARANMULA:In what could be viewed as a step towards the possible revival of the proposed Rs 2,000 crore Aranmula airport project, the Union Environment Ministry (MoEF) has given its nod to the promoters for a fresh Environment Impact Assessment.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had earlier cancelled environmental clearance given to the project pointing out flaws in the EIA study.
The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the MoEF, which met in New Delhi on Friday, permitted KGS Group, promoters of the project, to go ahead with the EIA while considering their plea in this regard. The EAC rejected the arguments that the proposed site was not suitable for the airport project.
25/04/15 Express News Services/The New Indian Express

Friday, April 24, 2015

Jet Airways Offers Promotional Fares Starting Rs 1,755

Jet Airways has joined the latest round of fare-war by offering special economy class fares starting Rs 1,755 on select domestic routes.

While airfares between Bhopal and Indore start at Rs 1,755 - the lowest under the scheme - tickets from Bhopal to Ahmedabad and Indore to Ahmedabad can be booked at Rs 1,860.

The booking for this offer is open till April 30, 2015, and is applicable for travel between April 26, 2015 and September 30, 2015.

Jet is also offering under another scheme fares starting as low as Rs 2,015 on some domestic routes. Under this 'LoFares' scheme, Raipur to Mumbai fare is priced at Rs 2,015 - the lowest under the scheme. Bookings for this scheme are open till April 30, 2015.
24/04/15 NDTV

Last-minute delay of AI flight leads to chaos at Delhi airport

New Delhi:  There was chaos at Indira Gandhi International Airport on Thursday night as an Air India flight to Chicago was delayed by over 11 hours at last-minute.

According to passengers, Air India announced the delay in flight just before boarding was to begin.

A passenger booked on the flight told TOI that Air India cited lack of crew as the reason for delay.

The flight that was scheduled to leave at 2.20am on Friday has now been rescheduled for 1.30pm.
24/04/15 Times of India

Air traffic up 18.8%, IndiGo leads

Mumbai: Domestic air traffic grew 18.8 per cent in March on a year-on-year basis, with IndiGo leading all airlines with a 36.4 per cent market share.

This is the third consecutive month which saw a strong growth in air travel. Domestic airlines flew 6.2 million passengers last month as against 5.2 million passengers in March 2014.

Jet Airways and subsidiary JetLite retained the second spot, with 25.4 per cent share. Air India was third, with 16.9 per cent share in February.

JetLite reported the highest seat occupancy - over 87.8 per cent in March. Jet Airways was second, with 86.6 per cent load factor. Load factors of all airlines declined in March compared to February. However, the occupancy last month was better compared to March 2014. Vistara reported an occupancy of 53.6 per cent in March, the lowest among all airlines.
24/04/15 Business Standard

Near Air Collision Averted at Airport

Chennai: An air collision was averted at Chennai airport as a Bahrain-bound Air India flight was preparing to take off on the runway when an incoming Indigo plane is believed to have received a go ahead to land from Air Traffic Control, according to a well-placed airline source. Before there was any danger of collision, the pilot of the incoming aircraft was asked to go round the airport’s airspace, and the AI flight was directed to take off.

Indigo officials declined to talk about the incident believed to have occurred between 7.45 pm and 8 pm, but they did have to prepare for two incoming flights from Kolkata and Bangalore during that time frame.  Incidentally, both planes were delayed by 30-40 minutes on Thursday evening.
24/04/15 New Indian Express

Runway to be closed for 2 hrs from July, re-carpeting to begin on Sept 1

Kozhikode: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has finalized the schedule for partial closure of the runway of Karipur Airport to facilitate re-carpeting works. As per the revised schedule, the runway will remain closed daily for two hours- from 3 pm to 5 pm - from July 1 to August 31. The preparatory works for the Rs 60 crore runway re-carpeting would be carried out during the period.

The actual re-carpeting works will start on September 1 during which the runway would remain closed for eight hours each day, said airport director Peter K Abraham. The closure would be effected daily from 12 noon to 8 pm. This partial closure of runway for eight hours a day would continue for at least 17 months. However the ban on operation of wide bodied aircrafts at the airport would come into effect from May 1 onwards, due to runway safety concerns.
24/04/15 Times of India

Cheap air travel at midnight: Jet Airways to start 'red-eye' flights

New Delhi: In a good news for frequent domestic flyers in India, the passengers can now book red-eye flights, that are comparatively cheaper than the daytime flights. Red eye flights, that are popular in West, operate in mid night till wee hours of mornings.

According to TOI report, Jet Airways is all set to start three red-eye flights. [After SpiceJet, GoAir in turbulent phase: 35 pilots resign in 3 months]

The flights will operate from Mumbai-Delhi, Delhi-Kolkata  and Delhi-Pune.

Mumbai to Delhi flight will take off at 2.30 am and will land at 4.35 am. Delhi to Kolkata flight will take off at 2.10 am and will land at 4.25 am. Delhi to Pune flight will take off at 3.20 am and will land at 5.30 am.
24/04/15 One India

Subramanian Swamy smells a rat in SpiceJet buyout, writes to PM Modi demanding probe

Subramanian Swamy has waded into the controversy over the acquisition of a controlling stake by former promoter Ajay Singh in SpiceJet.
The BJP MP has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making several allegations against this transaction which has enabled Singh to acquire over 58% stake in the listed airline from former promoters, the Marans. Singh appeared as a white knight to save the ailing SpiceJet which had to briefly ground operations in December last year for lack of cash to pay oil companies. Singh bought out the promoters and has also committed to invest Rs 1500 crore in tranches into the airline to revive its fortunes.
Swamy earlier took to twitter to question the deal, saying he may move court against it. Here are the allegations he has made in the letter dated April 20, addressed to the PM.
24/04/15 Sindhu Bhattacharya/First Post

Air India SATS Airport Services invests Rs 57 crore in new ground support equipment

MUMBAI: Air India SATS Airport Services (AISATS), the joint venture between India's national carrier and Changi Airport's ground handing services provider Thursday said it has invested Rs 57 crore in new ground support equipment at the Delhi airport.
This investment is part of the Rs 85 crore planned committed by the JV in the last one year.
23/04/15 Anirban Chowdhury/The Economic Times

PESB selects Vinod Hejmadi for Air India's Director-Finance post

New Delhi: Vinod Hejmadi was today selected for the post of Director-Finance in Air India by Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB).
Hejmadi, who presently holds the post of general manager for finance at the national carrier's office in Mumbai, was selected after he along with two others were interviewed today by the government's head hunting body.
"His name would now be sent to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet for approval. PSEB had interviewed two other candidates for the post and found Hejmadi most suitable for the job," Air India sources said.
23/04/15 IST/first post

Aviation regulator on track to meet US counterpart's conditions

India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will be able to meet its requirement of hiring flight operations inspectors (FIOs), fixed by the US regulator as a pre-condition to maintain its air safety upgrade.
According to government officials, the DGCA has 55 FIOs at present — only 20 short of the total number of inspectors required according US aviation watchdog Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s directive.

“At present, we have around 55 inspectors and we are confident we will be able to hire a total of 75 till next year,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.
24/04/15 BS Reporter/Business Standard

Pilot holds up Air India flight for 3 hours for 'dirty' oxygen mask in cockpit

NEW DELHI: An Air India flight was delayed by three hours after its pilot refused to accept a "dirty" emergency oxygen mask and insisted for a "fresh" one before flying the plane.
Air India has initiated a probe into the incident, which took place yesterday when its Kochi-bound flight from Delhi Airport was readying for take-off.
The same aircraft was to fly on two other routes where too services got delayed because of the pilot's refusal to operate the flight due to "unhygienic" mask in the cockpit, an Air India official said here today.
23/04/15 PTI/The Economic Times

Air India seeks government approval for Rs 200 crore asset sale

Air India is awaiting civil aviation ministry nod to sell its properties in Mumbai and Chennai as a part of the asset monetisation drive.

Air India hopes to collectively earn about Rs 200 crore from the sale of four flats on Pedder Road in Mumbai and 1.3 acre land parcel in Chennai.

"We have submitted the proposals to the ministry about a month ago and are waiting for permission. Government rules require us to take prior consent from the ministry before we undertake the sale. State Bank of India has agreed to purchase four flats in Sterling Apartments in Mumbai and while Income Tax department has expressed willingness to acquire the land in Chennai," an Air India source said.
23/04/15 Aneesh Phadnis/Businesss Standard

Jet Airways starts more domestic services to cash in on summer rush

MUMBAI: Jet AirwaysBSE -4.75 %, India's biggest carrier by market share Friday announced plans of adding 31 domestic flights this summer.

Jet has introduced a total of 23 inbound and outbound flights from Delhi to cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengalore, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Lucknow, Patna, Srinagar, Jaipur and Pune.
23/04/15 ET Bureau/The Economic Times

Vistara seems to be struggling to fill seats

NEW DELHI: Vistara, a Tata Group and Singapore Airlines Ltd joint venture company, seems to be struggling to fill seats in their flights and has reported lowest load factors in the industry for the third consecutive month.

The airline, which has introduced premium economy for the first time in the country, reported load factors of 53.6% during the month of March - a decline from 58.6% in February but an increase from 45.4% in January.
While the load factors for Vistara fell, the airline increased its market share from 0.5% in February to 0.8% in March on the back of new flights launched by the airline.
24/04/15 Mihir Mishra/The Economic Times

Are our airports built right?

As the Chennai airport struggles to get its act together, it’s time to look at its environmental impact and the need to make its architecture and design energy-efficient.

To retrofit an airport is not easy, so going green at the design stage makes far better sense, says a spokesperson of Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). IGBC was involved with the world’s first green passenger terminal, Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, as well as with the international airports at New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
IGBC’s rating approach to improving the energy efficiency in design, construction and airport operations involves various parameters. “Orienting the building to allow optimum sunlight and ventilation and incorporating high performance walls, roofs and glass is important. As airports require constant cooling, energy-efficient air conditioning systems are a must. Installing energy meters to measure, monitor and sustain building performance and using renewable energy sources to meet its energy requirements is the way forward,” says the spokesperson.
24/04/15 Nidhi Adlakha/The Hindu

Cockpit fight: In a first for India, anger management prescribed for pilot

New Delhi: In a first for India, an airline pilot has been prescribed anger management for losing his cool in the cockpit and getting into a heated argument with his captain. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked Air India to make the co-pilot undergo "corrective training" that includes anger management and psychological analysis before making him fly again.

The DGCA ruling came following an April 5 episode when an AI flight was on ground in Jaipur, preparing to fly to Delhi. The commander, who happened to be younger than the co-pilot, called the latter "uncle" and asked him to jot down critical take-off data of flight AI 611. The co-pilot reportedly took umbrage at being called "uncle" and got into a fight with the captain.
After TOI reported this cockpit fight, the DGCA had summoned both the pilots for questioning. The cockpit voice recorder of the flight was also analysed. "The commander was not found to be at fault and no action was deemed necessary against him," said a senior official. "For the co-pilot, however, corrective training that may include anger management has been prescribed."
24/04/15 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Odisha renews bid to start international flights from city airport

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Tourism Minister Ashok Panda met three Union ministers and chiefs of Indigo and Air India to push for international flight operations from Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar to Dubai and Bangkok on the eve of the Nabakalebar festival.

Panda met Union Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Pradhan and Panda later had a meeting with the Chief of Indigo Airlines to push the agenda.

Panda specifically requested an extension of the Mumbai-Dubai Air India flight and Kolkata-Bangkok Indigo flight to Bhubaneswar. He assured the companies of all possible cooperation from the state government’s side and informed them about the preparedness of the airport and infrastructure to handle international flights.

Civil Aviation Minister Raju informed Panda that steps are being taken to extend the Air India flight to Bhubaneswar and a survey is already undeway on this regard.
24/04/15 Odisha Sun Times 

Aviation regulator on track to meet US counterpart's conditions

New Delhi: India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will be able to meet its requirement of hiring flight operations inspectors (FIOs), fixed by the US regulator as a pre-condition to maintain its air safety upgrade.

According to government officials, the DGCA has 55 FIOs at present — only 20 short of the total number of inspectors required according US aviation watchdog Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s directive.

“At present, we have around 55 inspectors and we are confident we will be able to hire a total of 75 till next year,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.

Earlier this month, the FAA had upgraded India’s air safety ranking, 14 months after the downgrade, allowing Indian carriers to expand their services to the US. The US regulator had flagged several shortcomings in January last year, including a shortage of full-time flight operation inspectors and lack of technical staff in DGCA, besides weak safety procedures. The FAA’s upgrade was a signal that India's aviation safety oversight is matching international standards.
24/04/15 Business Standard

UP government pitches for airport at Saifai

Lucknow: After two-and-a-half-years of deadlock — first with the UPA regime and now with the NDA government — over construction of the Taj International Airport in western Uttar Pradesh, the state government is preparing to pitch for CM Akhilesh Yadav’s native place Saifai as one of the three new options where the airport can come up.
The three new options being proposed are Saifai in Etawah, Hirangaon in Firozabad and Bateshwar in Agra. Sources said Akhilesh has floated the idea based on the argument that it will be easier to get clearance to upgrade an existing airstrip — like the one present in Safai — into an international airport.
Sources added that as the sites proposed by RITES — consultant to the state government — could not get sanction in the last two years, the government will now prepare a fresh proposal to be placed before the Civil Aviation Ministry.
24/04/15 Maulshree Seth/Indian Express

When Sachin Tendulkar was mobbed at Melbourne Airport!

Passengers lined up outside Gate 16 of the Melbourne International Airport as the boarding announcement confirmed the departure of their flight. Suddenly there was commotion, some people left the line and ran towards Gate 18. A short man, dressed casually, dragging his bag was making his way to his flight with a young, muscular and moustached man. “Who has come?” asked someone who couldn’t get a glimpse of them. “Don’t you know! That is Sachin Tendulkar,” said an Indian man as he ran towards Gate 18 to greet his hero.
The young man with Tendulkar was none other than the Indian opener, Shikhar Dhawan, who was the star during the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Though Dhawan is a current player and had done well in the big event, hardly any fan bothered him. He slipped somewhere in the background as Tendulkar became the cynosure of all eyes at the gate. People had left their seats from the areas near the gates, some had left the boarding queue and made their way towards Tendulkar.
24/04/15 Nishad Pai Vaidya/Cricket Country

Yet Again Ceiling Crashes Down At Chennai Airport

Chennai:  In the third such incident this month, a portion of false ceiling came down crashing at the airport here today, but no one was injured.      

The incident happened near Gate No.7 of the Domestic Departure terminal and officials immediately rushed to the spot.

No one was injured in the incident, officials said.      
24/04/15 PTI/New Indian Express

ONGC operations at Juhu airport affected for 3 hours as fire engine stuck on main runway

Mumbai: ONGC operations from the Juhu airport were affected on Friday morning as a fire engine was stuck on the main runway due to a mechanical failure.
The Juhu fire Brigade’s fire engine broke down during the routine runway inspection of the Juhu airport’s main runway 08-26 around 7.30am, resulting in all departures being put on hold.
Till 10.30am,  Juhu’s secondary runway 16-34 was used only for departures and arrivals were not allowed.
24/04/15 Indian Express

South African woman held with narcotics at IGI Airport

New Delhi: A South African woman trying to smuggle about 24 kilo of pseudoephedrine drugs to Johannesburg was caught at IGI Airport in the wee hours of Wednesday.

The woman had neatly packed the drugs in nine packets and concealed them in bed sheets and pillow covers.

The total worth of the recovered drug in the international market would be around Rs 23 lakh, said CISF on Thursday.

Culprit Rachael Zulu, 31, was on a tourist visit to India and was scheduled to return to her country via Abu Dhabi.
24/04/15 Deccan Herald

Women with Gold Bars Detained at RGIA

Hyderabad: Two women passengers were detained by custom officials for transporting 7 kg gold bars worth `3 crore, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) on Thursday. The women who arrived from Dubai, were found to be in possession of 7 kg gold biscuits, the officer said. The women reportedly said that some unidentified persons in Dubai airport met them and offered commission for smuggling gold.
24/04/15 New Indian Express