Thursday, October 28, 2010

Go Airways flight makes emergency landing

A Go Airways flight from Lucknow to Delhi Friday morning made emergency landing at Patna Airport due to bad weather.

The incident took place at Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport, Patna when the flight SG-352 was on its way from Lucknow to Delhi, the officials said. The flight was diverted to Patna after dense fog at Delhi airport.

All the passengers were exited safely from the flight after its landing at the airport.

No causalities or mishappening had occurred, the officials added.

The passengers created ruckus at the airport when there was no information about the next flight by the Airport Authorities.

It is mentioned that it was the third case of emergency landing in the last couple of days.
Source: Samay Live

Monday, October 25, 2010

7 Mumbai-bound flights diverted

Hundreds of passengers on board seven city-bound flights were forced to country at other airports on Friday night because an Air India flight from London was stuck on the taxiway paralysing operations for nearly an hour. Six flights had to become diverted to Ahmedabad and one was sent to Hyderabad.
after vacating the principal runway, the pilot of flight AI 130 informed the air targeted visitors control that he was unable to move the landing gear with the aircraft as a result of suspected hydraulic failure.

A Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson, mentioned that airport staff saw smoke emanating within the landing gear. “The staff sprayed foam on the gear and passengers were safely deplaned,” the spokesperson said.

At that thing air targeted visitors control officials were using only the principal runway. They had to switch for the other runway because the exit within the principal runway was blocked by the Air India flight. By then, several incoming flights had already aligned themselves to country on the principal runway.
As soon as the ATC official announced the transform of runway, these flights had to re-vector their position mid-air.
In addition, airport ground staff also takes about 30 minutes to switch runways because one end with the principal runway is under repair. By the time the ATC cleared the secondary runway for operations, flights decided to country at a neighbouring airport.

“At least a dozen flights were circling around the airport,” mentioned a senior air targeted visitors control officer. Airport sources blamed runway repairs.
Source: Hindustan Times

Emirates Wins CAPA Airline of Year Award

MANILA, Philippines – Emirates was referred to as the winner of the prestigious Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) Airline of the Year Award for 2010 at a gala reception in Singapore recently.

Air New Zealand's Rob Fyfe was referred to as CEO of the Year. The awards ceremony was held as component of this year’s seventh annual Asia Aviation Outlook summit, showcasing airline and airport CEOs from about the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions.

The CAPA Airline of the Year is awarded on the carrier that has had the most effective impact on a development of the airline marketplace in the region, establishing itself as a leader, and also the benchmark for others to follow.

It is the second time Emirates has won CAPA’s coveted top award getting previously won in 2005.

“Emirates’ achievements in the past year had been extraordinary, as the most profitable and fastestgrowing airlines in the world," mentioned CAPA chairman Peter Harbison.

"Emirates’ influence on competitor airline strategy continues to increase, as it aggressively enters new markets and expands others and demonstrates leadership in highquality passenger service."

Harbison mentioned Emirates’ development has contributed to Dubai’s surge in the rankings of the world’s biggest international hubs, from 26th location in 2001 handling 12.4 million international passengers to sixth location last year with 40.1 million."

"The CAPA Airline of the Year for 2010 is specific to acquire a lasting and irreversible impact on a evolution of the worldwide aviation and tourism industries.” (EHL)


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jet Air's India passenger traffic in Sept up 37%

Jet Airways Ltd, India's largest private carrier by sales, mentioned its domestic passenger targeted traffic in September grew 37.1 percent on the year ago, whilst its international targeted traffic rose 36.4 percent.

Jet Airways has now posted 11 consecutive months of growth in passenger traffic, it said.

The group, which includes low-cost carrier JetLite, includes a marketplace share of 26.9 percent inside the country's aviation sector, it added.

Source: Sify

T3 of IGI airport to start operating from Oct 30

NEW DELHI: As soon as domestic operations begin inside integrated terminal Three (T3) on October 30, about 70% of domestic site visitors would be moving on the new terminal. Although 3 roads will consume passengers up to the Haj terminal — NH-8, the tunnel road that will be made operational by this month-end and the road from Gurgaon — only 1 road from that thing will bring about the main terminal, posing a site visitors nightmare.

A team inside civil aviation ministry led by joint secretary Alok Sinha inspected operations at the airport on Tuesday. In accordance with sources, officials pointed out that site visitors chaos would probably result right after domestic operations on the 3 main carriers — Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher — shift to T3. ''The tunnel road will open with only two lanes at supply and that ought to not be a problem. However, just right after the Haj terminal, after all site visitors would be pushed onto 1 road, site visitors jams will probably be a huge issue,'' stated sources.

Sources also stated that whilst everything was on schedule at the domestic side on the terminal, the entire airport experience will probably be marred if difficulties like site visitors aren't sorted out. The first four gates at T3 will probably be dedicated to domestic carriers and officials are worried that the starting on the ramp would often be crowded and keep up other traffic. A meeting is probably to be convened among Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL) and site visitors police on October 25 to formalise a site visitors plan.

''The other issue highlighted by ministry officials was that of passenger transfer, among international and domestic and within domestic. DIAL is planning to convert IGI into a hub on the lines of Singapore and Dubai. That is a first for India and there can't be goof-ups. The issue will must be sorted out by airlines and the ministry will also keep a meeting with them right after the site visitors issue is sorted out,'' stated officials.
Source: The Times of India

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mumbai FC gun down Air India

Since its launch four many years ago, Mumbai FC had not managed to beat Mumbai football’s powerhouse, Air India. Manager Henry Picardo, a former Air India player, kept dreaming in the result.

And that dream couldn’t were realised at a far better occasion than from the final in the Nadkarni Cup. Mumbai FC defeated Air India 2-0 to win the championship at the RCF ground, Chembur, on Monday.

Ebi Sukore Theophilus’s strike from the 40th minute followed by a superb back volley from striker Pc Lalawmpuia from the dying minutes clinched the 104th edition in the tournament for Mumbai FC.

It looked like an I-League encounter over a local tourney as each the sides play from the national tournament. The intensity was high as there was high quality action and drama involved. Some comical errors from the referees added on the excitement.

However, they also raised question marks over some of the decisions taken by them. From the very first half, several Air India players argued in the referee over the rules during a free kick. However, it was resolved amicably.

For most in the opening period, each sides played both equally well, doing inroads to the opponent’s half but they could not capitalise on the opportunities that came their way.

Five minutes ahead of the very first half whistle, Air India’s Samson Singh committed a foul from the box, which resulted inside a penalty kick for Mumbai FC. Ebi obliged by tapping the ball in without having any issue leaving Air India custodian Kunal Sawant, a mere spectator.

Second half as well had some exciting moments as the ball went over the horizontal bar quite a few times, but a 90th minute back volley strike from Lalawmpui finished the game in style in Mumbai FC’s favour.

Picardo, who was in-charge in the team from the absence of coach Khalid Jamil, was all praise of Lalawmpui.

“He is recognized for that. That goal from him sealed the game for us,” mentioned Picardo.

He mentioned he is happy, especially, mainly because his team had defeated the power property of Mumbai.

“It was dream arrive true. Since our team was launched four many years ago, we had never defeated Air India. Beating this sort of a big and tough side gives you high. As far as winning the tournament is concerned, it'll give us a improve ahead of the I-League begins.”
Source: DNA India

Maran launches SpiceJet open offer

Delhi-based low-cost carrier SpiceJet’s new promoters SunTV chief Kalanithi Maran and his business KAL Airways has launched an open supply to acquire an additional 20% stake from the low-cost carrier on October 18. The supply will open on October 18 and close on November 6, said a filing over a Bombay Stock Exchange dated October 13.

In June, the Chennai-based industrialist had clinched a deal to acquire a 37.7% stake from the low-cost carrier for Rs 739.57 crore from American investor Wilbur Ross, his investment organizations as well as the Kansagara family-promoted Royal Holding Services.

Recently, Maran elevated his stake from the budget airline to 25.12% by obtaining 7.42% much more stake via off-market transactions. Shareholders are going to be accessible Rs 57.76 for every share they retain in SpiceJet, translating into a 3% premium more than the closing cost of Rs 56.05 on June 11, 2010. This would involve an outgo of close to Rs 480 crore, taking the overall deal size to Rs 1,220 crore as Maran and his company KAL Airways had clinched the deal to pick up a 37.73% stake in SpiceJet at Rs 47.25 apiece.
Source: Financial Express

Jet Airways criticised for 'encouraging' animal abuse

New Delhi: Jet Airways has been flooded with e-mails and calls following the September trouble of their inflight magazine, JetWings, printed an article on bull fighting. An animal rights organisation has written towards the airline, prompting the latter to apologise.

For NRIs, India has now arrived

The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations mentioned in a statement Tuesday: 'We have been incredibly disturbed to see Jet Airways glorifying photographs of matadors tormenting bulls with banderillas sticking to their bleeding backs in their magazine.'

Responding towards the organisation's calls and e-mails, Manech Davar, executive publisher said: 'We do understand the elements raised by you and would not wish to find as an organisation and publication that encourages unjust endeavours. We assure you that there wouldn't be any more features on the same in JetWings.'

Luxury first-class flying

The organisation mentioned that in Spain, the Canary islands outlawed the sport of bull fighting way back in 1991, followed by Barcelona and Catalonia, which have been centres of this tradition.

'There is growing condemnation of bullfighting throughout Spain, across the EU and on the world,' the statement said.
Source: Sify

Monday, October 18, 2010

SriLankan Airlines to acquire seven new aircraft by 2011-end

COLOMBO: National carrier SriLankan Airlines today stated it's going to soon purchase its first brand of new aircraft in more than a decade among the seven aircraft it plans to eat delivery of by 2011-end.

They include 5 Airbus A320's, such as three brand new aircraft, and 2 Twin Otter float planes.

"We will likely be celebrating an important new chapter during the history of SriLankan Airlines on the arrival of this big number of aircraft within a short period," SriLankan's CEO Manoj Gunawardena today said.

He stated this would permit the airlines to a lot enhance the passenger service. "This will give us the ability to fly to more cities during the Subcontinent, Middle East and Southeast Asia, and to also enhance ability to existing destinations in these regions," he today stated in a statement.

The last time Sri Lanka's National Carrier took delivery of a brand new aircraft was in June 2000, after it received the last of six A330-200's.

The three brand new aircraft are scheduled to be acquired from May-November 2011, and will sport the latest comforts and entertainment systems, such as Audio-Video On Demand (AVOD) in each Organization and Economy Classes.

"These three aircraft would be preceded by 2 other A320's, that are probably to come in December 2010 and early 2011," he said. All 5 aircraft would be on operating leases at quite attractive terms of monthly payments.

In addition, 2 Twin Otters are to be acquired for the re-launch of its domestic support SriLankan Air Taxi this winter.

The airline can be exploring the possibility of obtaining at least another long-haul wide-body aircraft to launch services to more new destinations in Europe and the Far East, Gunawardena said.

"Our fleet expansion plans are usually updated to aid Sri Lanka's swiftly growing tourism industry, even though keeping in mind the financial requirements on the airline," he said.

Sri Lanka's national carrier started a re-fleeting programme shortly after its management changed hands (when Government got the controlling stakes) in April 2008, obtaining three A320's in 2008 and 2009 to replace old aircraft.

A wide-body A330-200 was also added on the fleet 2 months ago. These seven aircraft will join SriLankan's fleet of 13-- three A320's, 5 A330's, and 5 A340's-- with a global network covering 49 cities in 31 countries.

The twin-engined A320's operate to destinations during the Subcontinent, Maldives, Southeast Asia, and parts on the Middle East, even though the A330's and A340's operate on the Middle East, Europe, and the Far East.

Source: The Economic Times

Malaysia Airlines wins top aviation awards

Malaysia Airlines has been known as 'Asia’s Leading Airline' and 'Asia’s Leading Business Class Airline' by more than 185,000 industry professionals inside a global poll conducted by the World Travel Awards.

Since its inception in 1993, the winners with the award are certain by industry professionals from more than 160 countries who cast their votes for companies they consider to become the greatest in travel, tourism in addition to hospitality merchandise and services in Asia.

Malaysia Airlines Regional Senior Vice President, South Asia, Azahar Hamid said, “We are delighted to become acknowledged by travel professionals as Asia’s leading airline. We are committed to continuous assistance improvement and delivery, and these awards are testament on the tough work and outstanding performance of employees in providing Malaysian Hospitality to our guests.”

Malaysia Airlines has won a string of awards in 2010. This year, the airline was accredited with "Staff Service Excellence for Asia Award 2010” and “World’s Greatest Economy Class Award 2010” by Skytrax. It is also known as the “Best Airline in Southeast Asia” by GT Tested Awards, Global Traveller Magazine and ranked 7th inside Top 10 Airlines Worldwide category for Greatest in Travel Poll 2010 by Smart Travel Asia.

Source: Indian Express

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Emirates flight makes emergency landing at Kochi

A Dubai-bound international flight of the Emirates airlines Tuesday made an emergency landing at the Kochi airport in the southern Indian state of Kerala, after it developed a technical snag after take-off, a senior official said.

"The Koch-Dubai Emirates flight with 205 passengers and 14 crew on board took off from the Nedumbassery airport at 04:30 a.m. but made an emergency landing at Kochi airport 30 minutes later, after the pilot spotted a hydraulic system failure," the official said.

The plane was immediately taken to the parking bay for a thorough inspection and the passengers have been shifted to a hotel, the official added.

Source: Xinhua

Maran buys 7.4% in SpiceJet

NEW DELHI: Sun TV owner Kalanithi Maran has bought 7.4% equity in SpiceJet for Rs 135 crore, taking his direct stake to 25%. SpiceJet informed off-market transaction in a filing to BSE. This is part of the deal happened in earlier this year, when Maran had decided to buy US distress fund owner Wilbur Ross and airline promoter Bhulo Kansagara's combined 37.7% stake.

After raising his stake to 17.7% last week, Maran and his aviation arm KAL Airways has now bought about 2.9 crore shares for Rs 47.25 apiece. He has an option to acquire another 20% stake through an open offer. Following the acquisition by Maran, SpiceJet's CEO Sanjay Agarwal quit the airline and joined Kingfisher. SpiceJet appointed Neil Raymond Mills as its CEO. Mills was recently part of thestartupteamofFlyDubai , a low cost associate of Emirates. Before that, he was part of EasyJet.

There is a growing speculation that Maran may be eying Wadia Group-owned GoAir. At present, SpiceJet is India's second largest LCC with a 12.6% market share, behind IndiGo at 16.4%. GoAir had a share of 5.7%. So acquiring GoAir will make SpiceJet the biggest LCC in the country.

Source : Times of India

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SpiceJet Aims for International Operations Breakeven in 2 Months

Low-fare airline SpiceJet is seeking at over 80% load factor (which means over 8 out of 10 seats on a flight becoming full) inside first month of beginning daily flights between Delhi-Kathmandu including a breakeven of international operations inside first two months.

The airline’s first international flight, between Delhi and Kathmandu, took off on October 7 as well as the daily Mumbai leg is slated to start in March.

SpiceJet’s optimism on load reasons is remarkable, because there are already seven flights a day between the Capital and Kathmandu by carriers including Jet Airways, JetLite, Air India, Kingfisher and Nepal Airlines. Chief Commercial Officer Samyukth Sridharan claimed inside a chat with DNA that SpiceJet will likely be offering the lowest fares on this sector.

“Being a low-cost carrier, we will remain focused on providing the best prices to customers. We have accessible tickets at nearly half the existing cost on Kathmandu and Colombo,” he said.

Sridharan mentioned that SAARC is really a hugely underserved market, particularly by low fare airlines. Even though domestically, 7 out of 10 fliers board low fare carriers, only three in 10 do so on international routes because of the absence of low fare options.

Obviously Saarc is really a large visitors driver for this sort of airlines now.
SpiceJet is offering 1 way ticket to Kathmandu for as smaller as Rs 3,453 (all inclusive) versus an average fare of Rs 5,500-6,000 on other carriers. But travel agents factor out that aggressive pricing will, in all likelihood, be phased out gradually and an all-out fare war on a Delhi-Kathmandu sector was unlikely.

“Legacy carriers may well improve their fares somewhat to attract fliers but a extended word fare war seems unlikely for now...this is aggressive very first pricing,” TAAI president Rajji Rai said.

Meanwhile, Sridharan mentioned that SpiceJet Booking plans to operate up to seven daily flights every to Kathmandu and Colombo inside next six months since it seems to connect more Indian cities to Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Besides, the airline plans also to start flights to Dhaka and Male within a year. SpiceJet will be the first Indian low fare carrier to fly internationally with from New Delhi flights to Kathmandu and from Chennai to Colombo.

Besides the Delhi-Kathmandu service, a daily Chennai-Colombo return flight was inaugurated on October 9.

Now, the airline can also be thinking connections from Kathmandu and Colombo to Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Bangalore for later.

Source: DNA India

Monday, October 11, 2010

Shortage of aircraft grounds school's tour

Mumbai: A holiday tour of 180 students from a prestigious Mumbai school to Chandigarh is in limbo as Kingfisher airlines is short of aircraft. The red-faced tour operator and the airline are now desperately trying to think of a way of making the tour happen without any inconvenience.

"We had booked 180 students from the Chaturbhuj Narsee Memorial School on Kingfisher Airline's Mumbai-Chandigarh flight and back, in July. The travel date is October 23, yet on the first of this month the airline informed us that they have cancelled their direct flights," said Anil Garg, managing director, Tour India tours and travels.

The students were to fly to Chandigarh on October 23 on flight IT-3601, and from there proceed to Shimla, Kullu and Manali. "The airline is asking us to go by their Mumbai-Delhi flight and then take another one to Chandigarh. But they fly smaller aircraft ATRs on the Delhi-Chandigarh route, which do not have the capacity to fly 180 students. They want us to take the students in 2-3 batches," Garg added.

The tour operator is also concerned about the rise in expenditure if they follow the airline's advice. "We will then have to reach Delhi a day in advance, which will further drive up accommodation costs. If we buy tickets from other airlines after a refund, it will cost us Rs8.85 lakh more than what we paid," he says.

When contacted, the spokesperson for Kingfisher airlines confirmed the details but said they were still working on a solution. "An Airbus 320 that was plying on that route has problems with its right engine. So, we have temporarily shut down the route and will start it again after the aircraft is back in service. We will soon be able to come up with a solution on this issue," he said.

Source: NDTV

Air India cover for $9 billion

Mumbai, Oct. 10: ICICI Lombard General Insurance has won the bid to insure Nacil’s aircraft fleet for $9.1 billion. Nacil runs Air India.“We submitted the bid on September 15. The bids were opened on the 16th and we got the final mandate on September 21,” Rajive Kumaraswami, head (risk & reinsurance), said. The national carrier had called for bids as the earlier $8.9-billion cover was to expire on September 30.

NSE move

New Delhi, Oct. 10: advanced discussions with the London Stock Exchange group to launch Nifty in the UK. The two bourses are in talks to evaluate options for cross-listing of their key indices (NSE’s Nifty and UK’s FTSE 100 Index) on each other’s platforms.

FDI details

New Delhi, Oct. 10: Maharashtra and the National Capital Region accounted for over 50 per cent of the foreign direct investment during April-July, the industry ministry’s data showed. Maharashtra attracted the maximum FDI at $2 billion, while Delhi’s NCR, including parts of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, received $1.71 billion.

Gold import

Mumbai, Oct. 10: India’s gold imports have zoomed 30 per cent to 34.8 tonnes in September from 26.8 tonnes in the previous month even in the backdrop of skyrocketing prices.

Trade panel

New Delhi, Oct. 10: The government’s 45-member trade advisory board, which includes Anand Mahindra and Pawan Munjal, will meet on October 19 to discuss the export scenario amid persisting sluggishness in the global economy.

Source: The Telegraph

Thursday, October 7, 2010

SpiceJet takes off as Kalanithi Maran hikes stake to 17.7%

SpiceJet rose 2.65% at Rs 79.30 at 9:11 IST on BSE after Sun TV promoter Kalanithi Maran and his unlisted aviation firm Kal Airways acquired 1.93 crore shares, or 5.03% equity in the firm as part of the deal to acquire 37.7% stake in the firm.

Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex was down 5.10 points, or 0.02%, to 20,537.98.

On BSE, 4.45 lakh shares were traded in the counter as against an average daily volume of 41.33 lakh shares in the past one quarter.

The stock hit a high of Rs 80.25 and a low of Rs 77.70 so far during the day. The stock had hit a 52-week high of Rs 81 on 13 September 2010 and a 52-week low of Rs 32.40 on 28 October 2009.

The stock had underperformed the market over the past one month till 5 October 2010, gaining 6.61% compared with the Sensex's 12% jump. It outperformed the market in past one quarter, gaining 41.11% as against 17.01% rise in the Sensex.

The mid-cap low-cost air carrier has an equity capital of Rs 385.22 crore. Face value per share is Rs 10.

The shares were acquired on 5 October 2010 through an off-market transaction. Maran's direct holding in SpiceJet now stands at 17.72%. In June 2010, Maran and Kal Airways had agreed to buy 37.7% in the carrier from US investor Wilbur Ross and Royal Holdings Services, held by the Kansagra family, for Rs 739 crore at Rs 47.25 a share.

SpiceJet's net profit soared 109.6% to Rs 55.22 crore on 34.9% rise in net sales to Rs 707.86 crore in Q1 June 2010 over Q1 June 2009.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

IndiGo’s big IPO may lead to re-rating of airline stocks

Mumbai: India’s leading low-fare carrier IndiGo, run by InterGlobe Aviation Pvt. Ltd, is planning to raise $500 million (Rs2,215 crore) through its initial public offering (IPO), the highest ever for an Indian airline, and this may lead to a re-rating of airline stocks, said sector analysts.

Shares of Jet Airways (India) Ltd, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd and SpiceJet Ltd are traded on Indian exchanges.

The IPO is scheduled for the last quarter of the current fiscal ending March 2011, said two persons close to the development. One of them is an airline executive and the other is an investment banker.

IndiGo has hired five investment bankers, including JM Financial Ltd, Credit Suisse Group AG, Citigroup Inc., UBS AG and Morgan Stanley for the proposed IPO.

Ahead of the IPO, IndiGo is looking at an equity placement that could result in dilution of promoters’ stake of as much as 25%. Last week, the company conducted investor roadshows in Hong Kong and Singapore for the equity placement.

“The exact details of the proposed IPO are yet to be finalized but IndiGo is planning to raise 10 times its earnings,” said one of the persons mentioned earlier. He added that the low-fare airline, which held a 16.4% market share in August through 188 flights across 22 destinations, will raise more than the Rs1,899 crore that rival and full-service airline operator Jet Airways raised five years ago.

Aditya Ghosh, president of IndiGo, did not return calls made to his mobile phone nor did he reply to text messages.

“The IPO is expected to leverage the success story of IndiGo,” said Kapil Kaul, India chief of Sydney-based aviation consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, adding that the airline’s valuation would set the benchmark for industry stocks.

“This could be significantly higher than low-fare airline stock and even higher than full-service carriers such as Jet Airways,” he added.

A successful and large IPO by IndiGo could put pressure on other stocks of airline companies such as Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines that are also competing to raise funds from the market.

On Monday, airline stocks took a beating, with all three listed airlines losing value even as the Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark index, the Sensex, rose 0.15% to close at 20,475.73 points.

SpiceJet slipped 3.25% to close at `74.40, Jet Airways—India’s largest carrier by traffic—fell 1.26% to `806.15, and Kingfisher fell 1.75% to `73.05.

Since January, Jet Airways has risen 45.74%, SpiceJet 31.1% and Kingfisher 15.59%.

Read more:

Airline industry's second quarter net profit $4.4 bn: IATA

NEW DELHI: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Monday reported a net profit of $4.4. billion for the international airlines sector and outlined a positive growth trajectory for the industry.

"With more airlines reporting second quarter results, the total is now up to US$4.4 billion, following US$1.9 billion losses in first quarter (Q1)," the industry body said in a statement.

According to it, the first and second quarter net profits were US$5 billion better than the previous year and it expects the third quarter would be the most profitable one for the industry.

It further said that it expected the industry to make a profit of $8.9 billion in 2010, compared to a loss of $9.9 billion loss in 2009.

IATA, which represents 230 airlines comprising 93 per cent of scheduled international air traffic, has revised its previous estimate. In June, IATA had said it was expecting $2.5 billion profit.

The improved outlook for 2010 is being driven by a combination of factors. On the revenue side increasing demand and disciplined capacity management are leading to sharply stronger yields pushing revenues higher. At the same time, costs remain relatively stable.

Earlier, the association had said that the Indian carriers will pare their losses this year to $400 million, from the $1.7 billion in 2009, as passenger and cargo traffic increase and fuel prices remain stable.

Source: The Economic Times

Flight 3 hours in Air Despite Bomb Alert

KOLKATA: A Singapore Airlines flight with 225 passengers and 39 crew on board was forced to remain airborne for three hours after the captain was alerted of a bomb threat on Sunday evening.

The pilot of flight SQ 61, Johny Alberto, was somewhere over Amritsar when he received the LASP (land as soon as possible) message from Moscow air traffic control. His first option was to touch down at Delhi, the nearest airport for the wide-bodied Boeing 777-300 ER. But as the Commonwealth Games (CWG) opening ceremony was in progress, permission was denied and the aircraft directed to Kolkata nearly three hours away.

For the veteran commander and experienced cockpit crew who had made many long-haul flights across the globe, the 2 hour 45 minute journey to Kolkata seemed the longest of their lives. When the plane finally landed in Kolkata at 11.43 pm, Alberto heaved a sigh of relief. All along, the only thought that was haunting him was "what if...".

"Had there been a bomb on board the plane and had it exploded before reaching Kolkata, the authorities in Delhi would have had a lot to answer for. Though a Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) had been issued in view of the high security and restrictions for the CWG opening ceremony, an emergency landing should have been allowed," said an experienced captain.

According to former director general of DGCA Kanu Gohain, an emergency situation like this requires the pilot to land as soon as possible at the nearest available airport at which a safe approach and landing is assured. "If the pilot received the alert at 9 pm and was around Amritsar, Delhi was close by. It was directed to Kolkata due to closure of Delhi airspace. Had the NOTAM not been there, Delhi was the obvious landing choice," he explained.

Veteran pilots felt the NOTAM, issued to ensure that there was no panic among foreign participants and delegates at CWG, could have been extremely embarrassing for the entire nation had a mishap occurred with flight SQ 61.

On Sunday, the flight on the Houston-Moscow-Singapore sector departed on its last leg on time. Shortly thereafter, the customs office at Moscow airport received a call that claimed there was a bomb on board the plane. The message was immediately relayed to the Singapore Airlines headquarters. The latter alerted the pilots over the AirCraft Analytical System ( ACAS) on the aircraft.

When the pilot sought permission from Kolkata ATC, it was granted after a consultation with DGCA. With less than two hours in hand, the airport went into a flurry of activity. Central Industrial Security Force and other agencies like the Bomb Detection & Disposal Squad (BDDS) were notified. A remote bay at the Madhyamgram-end was readied and Singapore Airlines officials called to the airport. "Singapore Airlines did not have a flight from Kolkata on Sunday and hence the officials had to scramble from their home once they got the news," said Kolkata airport director R Srinivasan.

Read more:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Airline debt recast hinges on RBI cues

The debt restructuring of domestic carriers Kingfisher Airlines and Paramount could be delayed, as banks have decided to approach Reserve Bank of India for fresh sweeteners. Bankers said that in response to an earlier request, RBI had allowed a second debt restructuring for aviation companies. But the package does not address the issue of provisioning — a key element to the plan.

Whenever the interest rate on a loan is reset or the tenure is extended to soften terms for a borrower, banks have to treat the arrangement as restructuring. This requires higher provisioning. Banks now want RBI to allow them to treat the restructured aviation loans as a standard asset, which requires lower provisioning.

They had cited the example of the real estate sector and the special dispensation given at the height of the financial crisis to argue their case. The banking regulator, however, allowed only a marginal relaxation in provisioning.

Bankers said the benefit of a second restructuring would only be available to a few lenders, as most had not yet reworked the terms of earlier loans. “This is hardly a benefit. We will wait until we get an exemption from higher provisioning,” said the head of a public sector bank. Another banker said lenders would take up the issue with RBI again.

While there is no consortium arrangement in lending to airlines, most large banks have an exposure to Air India, Kingfisher and Jet. The restructuring will be particularly crucial for Kingfisher. The promoters of Paramount, on the other hand, are looking to repay the airline’s debt from accruals from other group companies.

In the case of Kingfisher, the proposal includes allowing a two-year moratorium on short-term debt, lowering the interest rate and converting part of the domestic debt into external commercial borrowings or cumulative convertible preference shares. The airline had a combined debt of Rs 7,413 crore at the end of December 2009. It posted losses of Rs 1,647 crore at the end of March 2010.

When the proposal for industry-wide debt restructuring was last sent to RBI, central bank Deputy Governor Usha Thorat had told a gathering of bank chiefs and government officials that bank balance sheets were looking healthy enough for them to meet the burden of higher provisioning. Soon after, RBI had allowed banks to go for a second restructuring.

Source: Business Standard

Air Iindia flight makes emergency landing in Kochi

The Airbus A 310 aircraft was on its way to Riyadh from Kochi via Kozhikode. It took off from Nedumbasseri at 4.30am and landed at Kozhikode to pick up the rest of the passengers. The carrier left Kozhikode at 6.45am and after about 45 minutes the smoke alarm went off, an official spokesman said.

The captain told the passengers not to worry and that he was returning to Nedumbasseri. Both pilots were Indians. By about 9 am, the plane landed in Kochi and fire tenders were rushed to the aircraft. All emergency services had been kept on alert. There were a total of 197 passengers - 11 in J class, 180 in economy class and six infants - besides 10 crew members on board the plane. There were only about 40 passengers when the plane left Kochi. The rest of them joined from Kozhikode. They were shifted to hotels and the aircraft was tugged away for inspection.

Engineers scanned the body and found a malfunction in engine number 2 on the right side of the aircraft. Official sources said it will take at least a day to fix the error.

Passengers, who came out of the aircraft, said they had panicked after being alerted about the fire. The airconditioning in the plane had also gone off, they said. Experts however, said passengers might have felt so as the plane during an emergency landing, climbs down at a faster rate than it does under normal conditions. This creates a difference in cabin pressure which results in uneasiness for those inside.

Yet another passenger said he felt like the aircraft had begun a free fall and that there was no way to escape. Air India later announced that the passengers were put on board a flight summoned from Mumbai and sent to Riyadh.

Source: The Times of India

SpiceJet to make good revenues in holiday season

On an average, airlines companies stock have given more than 30% returns in the past two months. Compared to Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet is the least indebted and most profitable one in recent quarters. Due to its low-cost carrier business, the company has been able to cash in on the increasing passenger growth and slight softening of crude oil prices.

In the quarter ended June 2010, the company’s net had an extraordinary jump of more than 100% to `55 crore. In the past six months, there has been a 22% growth in passenger traffic. The buoyancy is expected to continue in the remaining quarters of FY11 given the impending holiday seasons in the third and fourth quarter.

GROWTH PLAN: The company will begin its international operations from this month. The company would retain its focus of a low-cost carrier model and concentrate on South Asia. The company would start its first international flight from Delhi to Kathmandu (base ticket price `1499) on October 7, followed by flights from Chennai to Colombo (base ticket price `999) on October 9. For this expansion, the company will add 30 Boeing 737-800 to its current fleet size by 2014.

At present, the company operates 21 aircraft and it will add 30 aircraft to its fleet size by 2014. The company would have to invest around `12600 crore for the expansion. In the current fiscal, the company would add seven aircraft. This would stretch the company’s balance sheet to a large extent considering the fact that it is the least indebted airlines company. At present, Jet Airways India has a debt of around `13,000 crore, while Kingfisher Airlines and SpiceJet have debt of `5765 crore (as of FY09) and `438 crore (as of FY09), respectively.

Various reports suggest that since Sun TV’s chief Kalanidhi Maran is perceived to be at the helm of the company after acquiring a 37.7% stake through his firm Kal Airways, funds may come from Sun TV Network. At present, Sun TV Network has a cash of around `424.2 crore on its balance sheet. Hence, a part of these funds may come in handy for SpiceJet’s expansion.

More so, the company has internal reserves of around `587 crore. This would also help the airline not overstretch its balance sheet and at the same time carry on its expansion plans. On the other hand, the company may also resort to qualified institutional placement (QIP) for raising funds to foster its growth. In the past few quarters, SpiceJet has reported a load factor (a measure of capacity utilisation) of more 80% and hence going forward with the holiday season, the possibility of increased revenues is higher for the company.

More so, with its new international operations, it would be able to cash in on the holiday season.

Source: The Economic Times