Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SBI to bail out Kingfisher: Reports

New Delhi: In what may come as good news to crisis-hit Kingfisher Airlines, prominent banks that have lent to the airline have reportedly decided to provide a relief package to it, sources said.

NDTV has learnt that the State Bank of India will provide Rs. 1200 crore relief package to Kingfisher out of which nearly Rs. 700 crore will be provided in working capital loans.

The package will include bank guarantee and loan repayment extension, sources said.

Also, Punjab National Bank is also likely to provide a guarantee of Rs. 160-200 crore.

However, SBI denied comment on the latest development. "We cannot comment due to client confidentiality," SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told NDTV.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh welcomed the move. "If banks lend money to Kingfisher, it is all good," he said.

SBI currently has an exposure of Rs. 1400 crore to Kingfisher and has classified it as a non-performing asset in the third quarter of this year. Till yesterday, a consortium of 18 banks that have lent to Kingfisher had refused to convert any more loans into equity.

Kingfisher declared losses of 444 crores in Q3 - up from 254 crores a year ago. Kingfisher's current debt is close to 1.3 billion dollars or Rs. 7,057.08 crore. Adding to the woes of the beleaguered airline, the Income Tax department froze its accounts of Friday - a reason airline baron and Kingfisher Chairman Vijay Mallya attributed the chaos to.

The CEO of the airline was summoned by the aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, on Tuesday after the private carrier cancelled a large number of flights over the weekend that has spilled onto the new week. It also witnessed resignations of at least 34 pilots on Tuesday, with several other staff members being put on notice. The airline, though, assured the DGCA that it had enough cabin crew and pilots to manage its flights. The regulator, meanwhile, has decided to go for "safety surveillance" of all of Kingfisher's operating aircraft but assured that there is no cause for concern and passengers need not be worried.

Out of Kingfisher's 64 aircraft, 28 are operational. At least 20 flights were cancelled today; yesterday, at least 34 Kingfisher flights - six from Delhi, five from Mumbai, 18 from Bangalore and five from Hyderabad - were cancelled. On Monday, the airline cancelled 30 flights; half of its flights from major metros were cancelled or delayed on Sunday. Internationally, flight operations to Bangkok, Dhaka and Kathmandu have been shut. Colombo, sources say, will be shut down shortly. Of all Kingfisher Airlines international services, only the London flight is presently operating.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

GoAir to launch new flights to Ranchi, Kolkata from Feb 5

NEW DELHI: Aiming to make its presence felt in the tier-II cities, budget airlines GoAir will be launching four additional flights to Ranchi and Kolkata in February from here.

From February 5, GoAir will introduce two additional flights from Delhi to Kolkata and Ranchi. Also, the airline will increase its frequencies to and from northwest India, an airline spokesperson said.

"Delhi is now connected to Kolkata and Ranchi by double daily service which facilitates day return trips for business travellers," he said in statement.

The new flight (G8 719) would leave Delhi at 6.20 AM and reach Ranchi at 7.55 AM and the return flight (G8 720) leave Ranchi at 8.25 AM and reach Delhi at 10 AM.

Similarly, the flight for Kolkata (G8 715) would leave Delhi at 5 PM and reach there at 7.10 PM and on the return trip, flight (G8-716) would take off at 7.45 PM and reach the national capital at 10.10 PM.

The airline also announced that it would increase its frequencies to and from northwest India from February 5.

GoAir touches 21 destinations with 90 daily flights, the spokesperson said adding that the company, which has a fleet of 11 aircraft, would induct three new Airbus A320 this year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Focus on heritage for Delhi centenary

Travellers on flights to Delhi could be able to learn more about some of the city's grandest sites as it celebrates its 100th year as the capital of India.

People who visit the city are often impressed by the architecture but do not understand much about it, according to A G K Menon, convener of conservation group Intach's Delhi Chapter.

He told the Times of India architects Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens were behind many of the most iconic structures, but many people will not understand when they are told the city was influenced by the Garden city movement.

"We will have to tell people what the Garden city movement was and how it influenced the construction of New Delhi," Mr Menon added.

While the history of the city could be celebrated by people on flights to Delhi, many could also be impressed by the modern Metro system, which was named as best clean development at the Urban Mobility Conference 2011.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

DIAL to Charge Airport Development Fee(ADF)

NEW DELHI: Passengers who book flight tickets on or after December 1 for both international and domestic travel from Delhi till May 2013 will have to shell out extra money. The IGI airport management will start levying an Airport Development Fee (ADF) on each passenger who flies out of the IGI Airport to the tune of Rs 1,413 per international passenger and Rs 221 on each domestic passenger. Passengers who have already booked tickets for travel on or after December 1 will not be required to pay the ADF.

Tickets are also likely to get more expensive with fuel prices recording an average increase in of Rs 2,700 per kilolitre, effective from December 1. Airlines will incorporate this increase in ticket prices as well.

The decision to not charge ADF from passengers who have already purchased air tickets was taken by the civil aviation ministry and directorate general of civil aviation after airlines complained that they would have to collect the ADF from each passenger who had not paid so far when they reported for check-in.

"It has been decided to collect ADF only on tickets that are issued from December 1 so that we can avoid passengers having to queue up at the airport to pay the fee. Airlines had said that it would become a logistical nightmare for them to collect the amount which is not even a round figure and tender change to the hundreds of passengers who have already booked their tickets," said a senior ministry official.

Some airlines, like Air India, had already started collecting ADF since the third week of November but sources say that this money will not be refunded.

"There was no order from either the ministry or DGCA to collect ADF even though Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL) had announced the implementation of the fee from December 1. However, if some airlines have 1, already collected the amount under the head of ADF, they will have to submit the money to Airports Authority of India," said highly placed sources.

DIAL had started collecting ADF from passengers since March 2009 but an order from the Delhi high court had stalled the exercise in June this year. The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) finally passed an order on November 16 that permitted DIAL to restart collection of ADF from December 1 for a period of 18 months.

"The ADF is Rs 1,300 for international passengers and Rs 200 for domestic passengers with an additional 10.3% service tax. We had initially been allowed to collect it for a period of 36 months starting March 2009 and have now received an extension of 18 months. This is the first phase of collection through which we hope to bridge our funding gap by Rs 1,230.27 crore. A cost of Rs 701 crore that would be incurred by DIAL from April 2010 would be recovered in phase-II of the ADF collection from June 2013 to February 2014," said DIAL officials. Source:Times Of India

Friday, October 21, 2011

Surat Upbeat Over SpiceJet Flight Plans

SURAT: There could not have been a better Diwali gift to the diamantaires in the world's biggest diamond cutting and polishing centre in Surat.

Come December, the diamond city is all set to get wings with SpiceJet planning to start intra-state flights connecting Ahmedabad and Surat with Saurashtra and Kutch.

For most of the diamantaires travelling to Antwerp thrice a month, the air connectivity between Surat and Ahmedabad planned by SpiceJet would give them direct access to international fights from Ahmedabad international airport. Instead of taking four to five hours long route from Surat to reach the Chattrapati Shivaji international terminus at Mumbai, the diamantaires can take a direct flight to Ahmedabad from Surat.

"Over 600 small and medium diamantaires from the city go to Antwerp for purchasing rough diamonds by boarding international flights from Mumbai airport. Now, the same traffic would be diverted to Ahmedabad with the start of inter-state flight services by SpiceJet," said Dinesh Navadia, president of Surat Diamond Association (SDA).

"For me and other diamantaires shuttling between Mumbai and Antwerp, this is a very important development. Catching an international flight to Antwerp from Ahmedabad will not only save time and money but more importantly it will ensure safety for the diamantiares as well," said a leading DTC sightholder.

With the diamond hub of Varachha and Katargam having a population of more than 10 lakh people, mostly diamond traders, workers and manufacturers, hailing from Saurashtra region, tens of thousands of people travel by train and road towards their hometown throughout the year.

In a survey conducted by a private airline company few months ago, there are 600 private luxury buses in the city that ferry more than 10,000 to 15,000 passengers towards different destinations in Saurashtra on a daily basis. The number of travellers from Surat increases manifold during the marriage and vacation seasons.

About 60 per cent of the passengers travelling by luxury coaches, mostly diamond manufacturers, can afford flying to their home towns spending anything between Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per head.

A senior officer with Airport Authority of India (AAI) said, "It seems SpiceJet authorities have completed all the formalities to start the inter-state air services in Gujarat. Surat and other small centres in Gujarat will be largely benefitted."

Chandrakant Sanghavi, regional chairman of Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), told TOI, "I am going to participate in the Ranotsav programme with my family and friends and we would be able to fly to Kutch."
Source: Times of India