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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can Nandan turn Air India around?

Mumbai: Air India’s chiefs all have a singular ambition when they take charge—turn the carrier into a viable business.

So too with Rohit Nandan, who took over as chairman and managing director of the state-run airline in August. Not the easiest of tasks, given that it has about Rs. 42,570 crore of debt, is expected to make a loss of about Rs. 7,000 crore this financial year and is battling for passengers at home and abroad amid a slowing economy. The recent history of Air India is replete with leaders who have failed in their bid to turn it around. Will Nandan’s fate be any different?

“I certainly don’t have a magic wand...but I am doing all basic things to attain operational efficiency and financial freedom,” Nandan, 54, said in an interview. “I have met at least 200 employees in the last few weeks and they are fairly positive about the airline.”

The Indian Administrative Service officer is reworking the winter schedule, reconfiguring aircraft, outsourcing non-core functions and meeting employees every week to boost morale.

Predecessor Arvind Jadhav, too, sought to achieve this through meetings and a series of letters explaining his vision for the airline that has at least Rs. 22,000 crore in accumulated losses. But he had to leave after alienating both employees and the government.

The government’s propensity to put bureaucrats in charge of the airline adds to the scepticism in some quarters.

“You need a qualified turnaround specialist to revive Air India,” said Hormuz P. Mama, an independent aerospace analyst. “You need rigorous cost-cutting measures to save Air India. With this bloated workforce (30,000 workers), it is difficult to turn around Air India.”

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GoAir expands to Kolkata, Ranchi and Port Blair

Leading no-frills carrier GoAir has added three new destinations - Kolkata, Ranchi and Port Blair (all from Delhi) - effective October 8, taking its overall destinations to 24.

The decision to add these three centres is a part of its growth strategy, a statement from the company said.

The airline currently connects 21 destinations, and operates 84 daily flights, or around 588 weekly flights, it added.

GoAir recently announced the purchase of 72 next- generation A320 NEO aircraft. The airline is inducting three new A320s between this month and April.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spicejet launches flights to Chennai, Hyderabad

Budget airline Spicejet has launched daily flights to Chennai and Hyderabad from here, as a part of its plans to connect 12 tier-II and -III cities across the country.
The services, which began on Thursday with the arrival of the first flight from Hyderabad, will be mostly operated by the airline's fleet of Q400 Nextgen Turbotrop aircraft, Spicejet CEO Neil Raymond Mills told reporters on Friday.
"Spicejet Airlines has been fast expanding its domestic footprint with Q400 Nexgen turbotrop aircraft from Bombardier. Its fleet addition aims at enhancing air connectivity to tier-II and III destinations including Aurangabad, Bhopal, Goa, Nagpur, Pune, Rajamundhry, Pune, Tirupati, Trivandrum and Vijayawada," he said.
The new services offer "affordable and competitive" rates to travellers, the airline official said.
The airline had placed orders for a total of 30 Q400 Nexgen which can accommodate 78 passengers and are widely accepted as an ideal short-haul flights.
Five aircraft have already been delivered and another two are expected by this month end.
The airlines had recently announced the addition of Tiruchirappalli as its 30th destination, he said.
Source: ZeeNews

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Air India comes up with new scheme at competitive rates

Air India on Wednesday announced the extension of its short term promotion scheme, Silver and Platinum Pass aimed at providing air travel at competitive and affordable rates.

The Silver and Platinum Pass being offered in two variants for unlimited travel in economy and executive class on the domestic sectors of the national carrier will now be valid for fifteen days, the airlines said.

Passengers buying the Silver Pass can fly on economy class to any domestic sector of their choice at a fare of Rs 35,000 any number of times during the 15-day period.

Passengers who purchase the Platinum Pass can enjoy unlimited trips in executive class to any domestic destination at a fare Rs 75,000. This fare is inclusive of taxes, Air India said.

The passes are available for sale at the offices of Air India Airline and its approved travel from September 21, 2011 and will be valid for travel up to January 15, 2012.

The day of commencement of the journey will be treated as the first day and fifteen days will be counted from the date of the commencement of the journey for determining travel validity, officials said.
Source: India Times (Air India Online Booking)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Indian carriers chart strategy for lean season

India’s domestic carriers, struggling with mounting losses amid a fare war unleashed by Air India Ltd, met in Mumbai on Monday to decide on a strategy to shore up revenue and widen margins in a move that’s being watched by the aviation ministry.

“They want to hike base fares,” said one of three airline officials with direct knowledge of the meeting and what was discussed. All of them declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The post-lunch meeting, which was called at short notice, was held at Mumbai’s Waterstones Club, close to the international airport.

Representatives from state-owned Air India and budget carrier IndiGo, run by InterGlobe General Aviation Pvt. Ltd, didn’t attend.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the industry regulator, said it would investigate any efforts at cartelization, but was not aware of any such activity.

“We are watching the price scene situation very closely. There is a fare-monitoring unit in DGCA,” said director general Bharat Bhushan, who has been leading a campaign to root out pilots who’ve got their jobs with the help of forged documents. “So far we haven’t seen fares change.”

Those who attended the meeting included Jet Airways​ (India) Ltd executive vice-president Anita Goyal, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd chief executive officer (CEO) Sanjay Aggarwal, SpiceJet Ltd CEO Neil Mills and GoAir CEO Giorgio De Roni.

SpiceJet’s Mills declined to offer any comment. Email and calls to the Jet Airways’ spokesperson remained unanswered.

Kingfisher’s Aggarwal and GoAir’s De Roni didn’t reply to emailed questions.

The meeting came at the start of the two-week period considered the leanest of the year with many Indians avoiding travel because of religious sentiments, according to one of the officials cited above.

“It’s going to put a lot of pressure on the October-December quarter,” this official said, following the losses posted by all three listed airlines in the April-June period, traditionally considered the second best by way of profitability.

Jet Airways, along with its subsidiary JetLite, made a loss of Rs.128.36 crore, Kingfisher Rs.263.54 crore and SpiceJet Rs.71.96 crore in the first quarter of this fiscal compared with profits for Jet and SpiceJet year-on-year (y-o-y).

The current quarter is expected to be worse and it won’t get much better for the full fiscal, said an analyst.

“Q2 (second quarter) is going to be a disaster,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation. “There is a negative sentiment about the airline industry. And Q2 would further increase the downward bias. All the stocks will be serious underperformers. In this year, everyone will lose.”
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

AI Express flights tail dips during take-off at Kochi

KOCHI:An Air India Express flight bound for Abu Dhabi had to land back in Kochi after its tail dipped during take-off on Sunday night. The flight was carrying about 190 passengers including four infants, and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) had noticed the incident soon after the take- off.

The pilot was asked to immediately return, after jettisoning off portion of the fuel. It took about an hour and a half to finish the fuel jettisoning process and to landed back normally, an Air India spokesman told TOI here.

The passengers were then lodged in a nearby hotel and the aircraft was declared AOG (Aircraft On Ground) for carrying out the repairs.

"The Boeing design ensues that structure of the aircraft is not affected in the tail dipping incident, as the cartridges provided for this on the tail take the impact of dipping.

But those cartridges have to be replaced after such an incident. The repair work is over and the aircraft is back into commercial sorties. It flew to Mumbai this morning and will fly to Sharjah tonight after its return," the spokesman said.

The passengers were sent to Abu Dhabi today in a Jumbo flight which also carried the passengers stranded at the airport following the skidding off of the Gulf Air flight on Monday morning, he disclosed.

Some of the passengers on the flight however complained that the airline did not give any reason for the return of the flight after its take off, and were not giving adequate information on the rescheduled flight for a long hours on Monday.

The flight was carrying about 190 passenger's including four infants, and the Air Traffic Control had noticed the incident soon after the take- off.
Source: Times of India

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fly to Dubai, Bangkok for Rs 10,000; IndiGo, Spice Jet to launch low cost flights

MUMBAI: If your holidays have been only about Coorg and Jaisalmer so far, now's the time to apply for a passport. The low-cost revolution that drastically brought down airfares on the domestic sector a few years ago is now set to play out on routes to west Asia and south-east Asia. Leading the pack are IndiGo and Spice Jet.

IndiGo will launch flights to Dubai and Bangkok from Mumbai and Delhi in September and to Muscat and Singapore in October. Spice Jet, which currently flies to Colombo and Kathmandu, will be launching flights to other destinations like west Asia and south-east Asia later this year.

The only low-cost carrier which connects Mumbai to south-east Asia is AirAsia, with its flights to Kuala Lumpur. For west-bound flights, Air India Express and Air Arabia offer low-cost connections to west Asia from Mumbai. With attractive launch fares and great deals on offer, even those who had no intention of travelling to these destinations are biting the bait, says Vijay Kesavan, CEO of ticket-booking site akbartravelsonline.

"IndiGo's return tickets from Mumbai or Delhi to Muscat or Singapore, which were priced at Rs 10,000, have sold out," he says. The competition has lowered fares on the Mumbai-Muscat route - this week, the cheapest one-way air ticket for August 30 was Rs 6,900 (taxes included), offered by Oman Air. IndiGo's fares for October are in the range of Rs 6,400, which beats Air Arabia's Mumbai-Sharjah-Muscat fare of Rs 7,800. The October fare to Singapore on IndiGo is Rs 8,500.

Low-cost airlines like Spicejet, IndiGo and GoAir take price war to overseas routes

MUMBAI: Indian full service airlines, buffeted by high fuel costs and intense competition, face new headwinds on their lucrative international routes as budget carriers launch services with rock-bottom fares.

With low-cost carriers launching routes using narrow-body aircraft to overseas destinations within five hours flying time of India, full-service players are being forced to respond with similar no-frills offerings on popular and profitable routes.

Budget airline IndiGo, which in June firmed up a $16.2 billion order for 180 single-aisle Airbus aircraft, has received government approval to fly to Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and Muscat, and is luring passengers with round-trip fares as low as 9,999 rupees ($220).

By comparison, full service carriers charge between 17,000 and 22,000 rupees for economy class Mumbai-Singapore routes booked a month in advance.

"The entry of IndiGo will help in growing the market. Low cost carriers are creating a new market with a new breed of customers who did not fly international earlier," said Kapil Kaul, chief executive for the Indian subcontinent and Middle East at the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).

Under Indian aviation laws, an airline needs to locally operate for five years before being assigned overseas routes.

Indian low-cost operator SpiceJet , with just six international flights now among its 200 daily flights, plans to expand its overseas network and has applied for several international routes, CEO Neil Mills said.

"Low cost carriers are much better poised to take advantage of the growth, because India is a very price-sensitive market," Mills told Reuters.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SpiceJet mulls partnerships with non-Indian carriers

Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet is exploring the possibility of partnering other low-fare and full-service carriers.

This could help it to increase its footprint in west Asia, southeast Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said a spokeswoman.

However, she declined to provide details on the airlines SpiceJet is negotiating with.

"SpiceJet will likely start with interlining agreements," she said, adding that this will allow both SpiceJet and its partners to feed into each others' network.

This comes as SpiceJet works to expand its domestic network as it receives more Boeing 737s and Bombardier Q400 turboprops.

The company is looking for a second base for its Q400s in addition to Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. The turboprops will serve Tier II and Tier III destinations, while the main 737 fleet is based in Hyderabad, Bangalore's Bengaluru International Airport, Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and Chennai International Airport.

The carrier has 25 Boeing 737-800s and five Boeing 737-900ERs in service.
Source: Flight Global

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

IndiGo loses Muscat rights to Air India

The government has withdrawn some of the overseas flying rights granted to IndiGo, run by InterGlobe General Aviation Pvt. Ltd, and handed them to state-owned Air India Ltd, according to two government officials who did not want to be named.

“This is the first time it has ever happened,” said one of the two officials, referring to the clause under the air services agreement that allows Air India to prevent the allocation of rights to another Indian carrier. “Generally, the number of seats available in any bilateral are always surplus. In this case, the number of seats for Oman were falling short. And Air India wanted to start flights, so the rights (to IndiGo) had to be curtailed.”

The second official confirmed the move. It was communicated to the airline in June.

The move will mean that the country’s biggest low-fare carrier, which has a 19.6% share of the domestic market, will only be able to fly four times a week to Muscat instead of all seven days as per the original sanction.

IndiGo, which has 42 Airbus SAS 320 planes, will start overseas services in September with flights to Bangkok, Dubai and Singapore. It hasn’t announced its schedule for flights to the capital of Oman.

The rights to fly daily to Muscat from Delhi and Mumbai had been granted in January by the then civil aviation minister Praful Patel​, who moved on to the heavy industries portfolio on 19 January 2011. With another 12 A320s to be added to its fleet this fiscal, IndiGo Air plans to launch several more overseas flights to West and South-East Asia. But a freeze by the civil aviation ministry on approvals for fresh foreign rights may stall that plan.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IndiGo plans flights from Dubai to New Delhi and Mumbai

Budget carrier IndiGo will soon start services between Dubai and New Delhi and Dubai and Mumbai, company officials said in Dubai.

The flights to New Delhi from Dubai will begin in September and those connecting Mumbai a month later.

“This is our first foray in the Middle East. For a lot of people who travel from this part to India, every dirham counts. People work very hard here and should not be paying exorbitant prices for a three-hour leg,” IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh told a press conference here.

Once the flights commence, IndiGo will be the second no-frills Indian airline and the fourth low-cost carrier to establish a route between the two countries. Air India Express, fly Dubai and Air Arabia fly between the UAE and different Indian cities as well.

Mr. Ghosh called for more low-cost airlines between the Emirates and India. The airline official did not rule out connecting other cities in the UAE, including Ras al Khaimah, with India in the future.

Indian expatriates from the RAK recently requested flights home from the emirate, rather than having to travel to Sharjah or Dubai, he said.

The airline will also start operations to Trivandrum and Kochi and Kolkata by the end of this year, he added.

The carrier will also connect Muscat with the sub-continent from October, Mr. Ghosh said.
Source: The Hindu Flights to Mumbai

Friday, July 8, 2011

Emirates ice system wins Skytrax award

DUBAI – For your seventh year inside a row, Emirates Airline’s ‘ice’ inflight entertainment program has been awarded the ‘World’s Greatest Airline Inflight Entertainment’ award at the 2011 Skytrax Globe Airline Awards, says a press release.

The awards were based on voting by more than 18.8 million airline passengers from 100 a variety of nationalities Inflight Entertainment (IFE) has become a key competitive benchmark for airlines worldwide. Emirates has maintained its industry-leading position by continuously investing in and expanding its entertainment offering; resulting in an amazing number of movies, television and music from around the world.

Emirates Airlines latest IFE system, ice Digital Widescreen (‘ice’ stands for information, communications and entertainment), offers a staggering choice of more than 1200 channels of entertainment, for instance more than 280 movies from around the world, hundreds of TV options and thousands of music tracks from contemporary to classical.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Turkish Airlines eyes return to Benghazi

Turkish Airlines will begin operating flights to Benghazi if circumstances allow, Turkish Airlines General Manager Temel Kotil said Sunday.

“There was some damage at the Benghazi airport; once it is repaired, the flights will start. We would start today if it were available. Right now, the businessmen are facing difficulties,” Kotil told a group of journalists in Cairo while waiting for the Foreign Ministry officials’ contacts in Egypt ahead of the ministry-led visit to Libya. After the flight ban to Libya’s capital Tripoli, Turkish Airlines stopped all flights to the city.

In response to whether or not the national carrier will resume flights to Tripoli, Kotil said, “If conditions allow, we will fly everywhere.

“We are reaching out not only to the Turks, but to the entire world,” said Kotil, who was among the delegation to visit Libya. “We started flights to Basra. In addition to the Iraqi cities of Arbil and Baghdad, Turkish Airlines will begin flights to the Iraqi Shiite shrine city Najaf next week and later to Suleymaniye and Mosul. We will continue to operate new lines and extend our network,” he said.

It was speculated that Turkish Airlines reduced its number of flights to Syria because of the country’s political unrest. “We didn’t reduce the number,” said Kotil. “There has been a 25 percent decrease in the number of passengers,” he said, noting that the problem was a “temporary” one. “We are flying to Aleppo and Damascus, and we have never stopped our flights,” Kotil told reporters. “Turkish Airlines increased its flights to another politically unrest country, Yemen. The number of weekly flights to Yemen has increased from two to four. Now we are planning to fly to Yemen everyday via Jeddah,” he said. “There has been a lot of demand from Saudi Arabia as well. We are expanding everywhere to establish a network.”

Friday, July 1, 2011

Make way for Airbus A-380

A medical emergency has proved once again that the new airports being built in India are capable of handling the world's largest commercial jetliner — the Airbus A-380. Recently an Emirates Airlines A-380 aircraft, while on a scheduled flight from Sydney to Dubai, made an emergency landing at Hyderabad airport. This was the fourth instance of the A-380 landing and taking off safely from Indian airports.

All the A-380 flights into India have been special flights, but the largest commercial aircraft has landed and taken off from three different airports. In 2007, Airbus brought the aircraft into Delhi as a special flight for Kingfisher Airlines; the plane then went to Mumbai. The following year the aircraft landed in Hyderabad to take part in the maiden edition of the Hyderabad air show. In fact, at that time the aircraft landed at the now defunct Begumpet airport where the air show was held and then took a short flight to the newly opened Shamshahbad airport before departing for its home base in France.
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Global air passenger traffic up 7 percent in May

NEW DELHI: The global airlines association on Thursday reported an increase of 6.8 percent in international passenger traffic for May this year, compared to the like period of 2010.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the positive passenger growth in May has helped in reducing pressure on profits in the high fuel prices environment, but freight segment has continued to be in a slump, with a downfall of 4 percent.

"This (passenger traffic) is 4 percent higher than the beginning of the year, whereas freight traffic has showed a drop of 4 percent against the post-recession peak of the re-stocking cycle in May 2010," IATA said in a statement.

The statement said that India's domestic demand was robust at 13.8 percent in May as compared to previous-year levels with a capacity expansion 19.9 percent.

Meanwhile, IATA's director general and chief executive Giovanni Bisignani said he was confident that the airline industry will make profit for 2011, but cautioned that there were grave risks associated with political unrest in the Middle East and the European currency crisis.

"We still expect the industry to make $4 billion this year. That is a pathetic 0.7 percent margin and another shock could alter the industry's fortunes dramatically," said Bisignani.
Source:India Times

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jet, Kingfisher's fund raising plans thwarted

Volatile market conditions are likely to thwart fund raising plans of the airline sector in FY12, say analysts tracking the industry. Country’s largest private sector airline Jet Airways has once again put on hold its plans to raise USD 400 million via qualified institutional placement (QIP) due to spiralling fuel cost which is denting their profits. Its archrival Kingfisher Airlines too, is also not in a hurry to issue global depository receipts (GDR) to raise upto USD 300 million, mainly on account of slump in its shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange amongst other reasons.

Compared to a year ago period, airlines stocks are down over 50% on the BSE. Jet stock is now being traded at Rs 472 compared to Rs 971, Kingfisher has come down to Rs 39 from Rs 97, SpiceJet has also plunged to Rs 34 from Rs 91.

Naresh Goyal, chairman, Jet Airways and Vijay Mallya, chairman Kingfisher Airlines, both have recently indicated that it’s not the right time to go for a fund raising exercise. While Goyal said that the current market condition is not suitable for going for a QIP placement, Mallya has said that he has not set a deadline for the GDR issue.
Read more

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fly cheap to Singapore

KOLKATA: Soon flying down to Singapore from the city may get cheaper than to Mumbai and Delhi, or even Bangalore. The Singapore Airlines is working on a plan to introduce a low-cost module, and a Kolkata-connection is very much on the cards.

Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong said the decision had been unanimously taken at a board meeting at the airline headquarters. While its primary market will be key destinations in South-East Asia, it is also eyeing three cities in India, including Kolkata.

Indian LCC Air India Express operates to Singapore four days-a-week. Sources said this, coupled with a steady loss of passengers to other LCCs like Air Asia and China Eastern, had led to Singapore Airlines considering a low-cost flight between Kolkata and Singapore.

"Once Air Asia or China Eastern picks up a passenger who has to travel beyond these destinations, it is a Thai or Chinese carrier that benefits. To retain onward customers and attract budget tourists to Singapore, an LCC carrier is critical," an aviation industry expert said.

Though a firm decision is yet to be taken, an airline source said Kolkata was very much on the radar. He further added that it would compensate for the loss of seats on the parent service. Last September, Singapore Airlines had pared its flights to Singapore City and Kolkata from six days-a-week to four days. It also altered the aircraft from Boeing 777-200 aircraft with an Airbus 330 aircraft that led to a slash in economy class seats from 293 to 25
Source: Times of India

Thursday, June 9, 2011

SpiceJet to begin Tier-2 and 3 regional service soon

MUMBAI: Private air-carrier SpiceJet Airlines will begin regional operations from Tier-2 and 3 cities like Vijayawada, Tirupati, Mysore, Mangalore, Madurai, Nagpur and Indore from mid-July using the Bombardier Q400 Next Gen turboprop aircraft, a top company official said.

"We have selected Hyderabad Airport as the first base for our operations. We will be flying from Hyderabad to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in South and Central India," Spicejet Chief Commercial Officer Samyukth Sridharan told PTI here.

Deliveries of the Q400 aircraft start in the last week of this month, he said.

"We expect the first aircraft to enter into service and become operational by mid-July. The delivery of the first 15 Bombardier Q400 aircraft starts this month-end and will be completed by June, 2012 - over a period of 13 months. The order also has an option to purchase 15 additional aircraft. If this option is exercised by SpiceJet, there would be 15 more deliveries over a period of 24-months," Sridharan said.

The Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft, which can seat 78 passengers, was chosen for SpiceJet's regional operations because it is designed for short-haul routes and has a reputation of being fast, quiet and fuel-efficient.

The aircraft has a unique ANVS (Active Noise and Vibration Suppression) system which renders noise and vibration levels to minimal levels. It also delivers the lowest operating costs per seat in the industry, with a 30 per cent to 50 per cent advantage over other aircraft on short-haul routes, he said.
Source: Economic Times

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jet, Kingfisher, Spicejet rise on ATF price cut

Shares of Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Spicejet have surged on ATF price cut.

Shares of Jet Airways is currently trading at Rs. 459, up Rs11.45 or 3%. The stock has hit a high of Rs. 461 and a low of Rs. 450.

Kingfisher Airlines shares is currently trading at Rs. 43, up Rs1.05. The stock has hit a high of Rs. 43.80 and a low of Rs. 43.

Shares of Spicejet Ltd is currently trading at Rs41, up Rs1.20. The stock has hit a high of Rs42 and a low of Rs41.
Source: India Infoline

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kingfisher beats deadline, clears MIAL dues

Mumbai: Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher Airlines has averted a major crisis by clearing airport charges dues with the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL). The airport operator had given the airline a deadline of 14 May to clear dues outstanding from last year December.

"We have received a cheque payment for Rs105.71 crore and with that the issues regarding payment default has been resolved. The airline can operate normally from our airport," Mumbai International Airport president Rajiv Jain said.

MIAL had threatened to put the Bangalore-based carrier on a cash-and-carry mode of operations if it failed to clear dues by 14 May.

Last year December Kingfisher had promised to clear dues by February, but the cheque issued by it bounced.

Kingfisher restructured Rs750 crore of its overall debt of Rs6,900 crore last November.

Currently in the sixth year of its operations, Kingfisher Airlines is yet to turn the corner. It is likely to post losses in the fourth quarter as well.

On 6 April a consortium of 13 banks, led by the State Bank and ICICI Bank, converted Kingfisher's Rs750 crore debt into 23.37 per cent equity, valuing the airline's share at Rs64.48. With this conversion of equity shares, the promoters holding in the airline has declined to 58.6% from 66.2%.

The carrier hopes to raise around $300 million from a global depositary receipts issue once market conditions stabilise and its share price regains some of its lost value.

Govt wants AI to raise fleet utilisation

The civil aviation ministry wants Air India to increase fleet utilisation. The move would cap the discontent among pilots at not having enough flying hours and even help the state carrier gain grounds in terms of passenger carriage.

Air India needs to increase its fleet utilisation so that the pilots get to log more flying hours. There are various requests pending with the airline and they should start flights to those sectors,” said a senior ministry official, who did not want to be identified.

The official said even the low-cost carrier IndiGo’s aircraft utilisation is over 12 hours. “There is enormous scope for Air India to increase its fleet utilisation and the planes they have should fly more,” he said.

Air India’s aircraft utilisation is nine hours. If the airline increases its fleet’s utilisation by three hours per aircraft, it will give the airline around 400 extra flying hours to be distributed among 1,500 pilots.

Recently, around 800 pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines went on a 10-day strike after demanding an increase in their salaries, which had been impacted because of the fall in flying hours. The Indian Airlines pilots are paid on the basis of flying hours whereas the erstwhile Air India pilots get fixed pay only to exceed if the pilots fly over 80 hours in a month. The pilots alleged their flying hours have fallen to less than 60 hours a month from 80 hours a month earlier. They met officials in the civil aviation ministry with their demands.

The airline is also losing market share rapidly and has become the fourth largest carrier in terms of passenger carriage, losing its third place to IndiGo Airline.

Read more on -

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chandigarh flights up, fares too

MUMBAI: Two more airlines announced special flights between Mumbai and Chandigarh for cricket fans who want to watch Wednesday's semi-final between India and Pakistan, but experts say prohibitive air fares may deter most fliers.

Both Kingfisher and Jet Airways announced they will operate one flight each from Mumbai. Jet will operate a flight on Wednesday at 3.50 am from Mumbai which will return from Chandigarh at 7.30 am on Thursday. The Kingfisher flight will leave Mumbai around midnight on Wednesday and return from Chandigarh on Thursday.

Airlines may have thought it prudent to cash in on the cricket fever, but industry experts feel the attempt comes too late in the day, especially due to the high fare on these flights. A one-way seat to Chandigarh on the special flights is between Rs 20,000 to Rs 24,000. "GoAir, which added two extra flights on Sunday, has empty seats as the demand has now watered down,'' said Jay Bhatia, managing director, Tulsidas Khimji travels. "On Tuesday, just a day before the match, there have been no queries for Chandigarh,'' he added. Bhatia said that this is primarily due to exorbitant fares. Also, it is too late for anyone to plan travel.

"No one would wait till the last minute to book tickets or make travel arrangements. Most people booked early. Those who could not find a seat booked a flight to Delhi and then decided to take a taxi to Mohali. It is a cheaper option,'' said a Fort-based travel agent. "Only those willing to spend more than Rs 40,000 on travel and who waited till the last minute booked on special flights,'' he added.

Rajesh Rateria, managing director, Cirrus Travels, said the demand for tickets had died down. "Till Sunday, there were a lot of queries and bookings for Chandigarh. Even Monday saw last-minute planners rushing to buy tickets though they were expensive. But even with two more flights available on Tuesday, there are few buyers,'' Rateria said. A Kingfisher official said the airline had managed to sell only 30-40 return seats on the new flight by Tuesday noon.
Source: Times of India

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

DGCA orders review of 4,000 pilot licences

The back-to-back arrests of an IndiGo and an Air India pilot for forging mark sheets to become eligible for ones career has prompted Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to order review of 4,000 licences, specially those people issued inside past one year.

Air India’s JK Verma was arrested by Delhi Police on Saturday for allegedly with a forged mark sheet to procure the mandatory airline transport pilot’s licence, while Parminder Kaur Gulati, 38, of IndiGo Airlines was suspended following a hard landing and arrested on March 8 in your similar offence.

“We have received complaints against a couple of more pilots — Meenakshi Sehgal of IndiGo and Swaran Singh Talwar of MDLR [both are absconding],” commissioner of police (crime branch) Ashok Chand said on Monday.

“Gulati’s landing procedure had some deficiencies. As soon as I took a contemplate her record, it was a shock that she had obtained her licence on the basis of mark sheets which were not authenticated,” director general of civil aviation EK Bharat Bhushan said.

“Suspecting the same in some other records, DGCA undertook a detailed investigation. So far, there were four cases and a couple of were apprehended,” he said.

The problem has arrive up even as the government searches in your replacement for Bhushan.

Not willing to eat chances, specially mainly because DGCA issues all pilot licences and is in-charge of regulatory issues pertaining to aviation safety, efficiency, and continuity of air transport, such as formulation of air law framework, the government released an advertisement last week generating it mandatory for all aspirants to submit “integrity certificates” and statements of minor or major penalties imposed on them inside preceding decade.

All applications must be submitted within 45 days with the release with the ad.

Apart from integrity certificates, the stress this time is on recruiting a professional. During the past, mostly bureaucrats have headed this crucial office. As per the advertisement, an applicant must have about 12 years experience in aviation, flying, aircraft, engineering or airworthiness.

Of these, minimum five years must were spent in administration and finance disciplines at senior management levels. Possibly, a lesson inside recent chief vigilance commissioner episode that caused the government major embarrassment?
Source: DNA India

Monday, March 14, 2011

SpiceJet plane suffered bird hit: officials

JAIPUR: A day after a SpiceJet flight from Jaipur to Ahmedabad produced an emergency landing as a result of a snag in 1 of its engines, senior airport officials and also the airline's ground staff concerned have said the aircraft suffered a bird hit.

Following the incident, the Airport Authority of India, Jaipur, has intensified measures to scare the birds away even as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has yet to ascertain the lead to of the engine problem.

As part of the measures, AAI has elevated the frequency of firing guns to produce bubbles of LPG gas during the air to scare away the birds besides inspecting the runway by a team during the air targeted traffic manage just before each plane lands or takes off.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Indigo Airline woman pilot held for faking documents for licence

NEW DELHI: An Indigo Airline woman pilot was arrested for obtaining a pilot's license on forged documents, police said on Wednesday.

"Parminder Kaur Gulati, 38, was held from her residence at Kirti Nagar area in West Delhi Tuesday," said deputy commissioner of police Ashok Chand.

Director of training & licensing of civil aviation department DC Sharma filed a complaint that Gulati had obtained an airlines transport pilot license (ALTP) on forged document.

The complaint came after Gulati was grounded following an incident of hard landing of Indigo Flight-6E-332 at Goa Jan 11. Director general of civil aviation (DGCA) has set up its own enquiry panel.

"They found that she had submitted forged result card of pilot license examination," said the officer.

"She had failed in air navigation paper and was absent in the paper of radio aids and instruments in January 2009. She again appeared in April and July 2009 sessions, but failed both the time," said Chand.

She submitted forged result card of passing air navigation and radio aids & instruments to DGCA April 11, 2009 and on November 16, 2009 she was issued an ATPL.

Gulati completed her bachelor of science from Khalsa College of Delhi University in 1995. In 1997, she got private pilot license from Delhi Flying Club and she then her commercial pilot license from the same club in 1998.

In May, 2006, she joined Air Deccan as co-pilot and in November, 2007 she joined Indigo Airlines as co-pilot.

"After getting ALTP in November 2009 on forged document, she became a captain in GoIndigo Airline," said Chand.

Source: Times of India

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Airlines owe Rs 1,122 crore to AAI

Airlines operating within the country owe Rs 1,122 crore to Airports Authority of India, Lok Sabha was informed today.

The dues of Airports Authority of India (AAI) against Air India as on January 31, 2011 are Rs 720 crore, Minister of Civil Aviation Vayalar Ravi mentioned inside a written reply.

For Kingfisher, the figure is Rs 257.62 crore, Go Airlines - Rs 6.77 crore, Interglobe Aviation Ltd. (Indigo)- Rs 13.29 crore, Jet Airways - Rs 38.49 crore, Jet Lite (India) Ltd Rs 13.96 crore, Spicejet Ltd - Rs 16.99 crore and Paramount Airways - Rs 4.88 crore.

For others modest or non-operating airlines the dues stand at 50.13 crore.

He mentioned the matter of pending dues is taken up by the AAI with respective airlines from time to time .

The Minister mentioned steps have been taken to increase the facilities at the airports which include modernisation of Chennai and Kolkata Airports, development of 35 non-metro airports of the terminal buildings having state-of-the-art passenger facilities, user friendly amenities, very good ambiance and satellite based navigation system.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Airlines stocks lose altitude as crude oil spikes

Spicejet Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways are down on worries that surging crude oil prices will hit their operating as well as financial performance.

Shares of Spicejet is currently trading at Rs37, down Rs2 or 5%.The stock has hit a high of Rs. 38 and a low of Rs. 37.

Kingfisher shares is currently trading at Rs. 38, down Rs1.40 or 3%. The stock has hit a high of Rs. 39 and a low of Rs. 37.

Shares of Jet Airways is currently trading at Rs. 424, down Rs17.75 or 4%. The stock has hit a high of Rs. 432 and a low of Rs. 421.
Source: indiainfoline

Air India COO Baldauf resigns; carrier faces pilot strike

Air India COO Gustav Baldauf resigned last week after controversial comments produced on the Indian government's role in AI, in accordance with numerous news reports from India. The Austrian native, who became the first to preserve the COO title inside the airline's history once he joined last April, told The Indian Express in an job interview how the Indian government "should not be involved in day-to-day [AI] operations" and was "too prominent" in AI decision-making. According to the reports, airline management deemed the comments out of bounds for an Air India Airlines executive.

The departure from the COO is not the only sign of tumult at the struggling carrier—AI also faces a capacity strike by former Indian Airlines pilots set to start on March 9. In a letter to employees sent March 3, AI Chairman and MD Arvind Jadhav did not reference the COO's departure but expressed concern more than the looming strike by the Indian Commercial Pilots Assn.

"It is time for all of us to strive and work towards the a growth path which would take in the company out of its supply issues and strengthen the hands from the [Minister of Civil Aviation] to resolve various issues amicably," he said. He also cited the airline's progress in its restructuring and integration of Air India Airlines and Indian, for instance "making operational profits due to the fact November 2010."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Emirates becomes world's third largest airline

With only 144 aircraft in its fleet, Emirates has just become the world's third largest airline by capacity, overtaking US carrier United and behind only Delta and American Airlines.

Emirates' rise up the capability charts comes thanks towards airline's decision to use only the world's largest planes. Emirates already has 15 Airbus A380 superjumbos in its fleet, having a staggering 75 more to occur -- plus 53 stretched Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, with 49 of those nevertheless being delivered from Seattle.

Business travellers can expect to see significant growth in Emirates' routes and flights because of the new deliveries, with Australia certain being on a list for more flights and bigger planes.

Emirates includes a capability advantage in comparison with other airlines due to the fact Dubai is really a convenient geographic hub for flights in between Australia and Europe, Africa and also the Middle East. Stops in Bangkok and Singapore on some Australian routes mean that Emirates is really a great choice for travellers to southeast Asia as well. Search the airline to enhance direct alternatives to Dubai, connecting times to major European and African destinations, and for more alternatives for stopping en route.

Plus, continuing flights across the Tasman -- as the only airline to offer Very first Class and a single of the few to offer international calibre Company Class -- make Emirates an attractive choice from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to New Zealand. Expect more flights and higher capability for these flights inside the future.

So where's Qantas inside the rankings? Back in 15th place, behind Air China and only slightly ahead of European low-cost carrier Ryanair, according to the latest facts inside the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Emirates is probably to drop down the capability table inside the short term, though. United Airlines' numbers don't include the fleet of Continental Airlines, which merged with United but is nevertheless reporting separately. Joint reporting will push the merged United-Continental up to the top of the list, knocking Emirates Airlines back to fourth place.

However, Emirates won't stay in fourth place for long. The enormous growth spurt that 75 A380s and 49 777-300ERs will bring will add practically 60,000 seats to Emirates' capacity.

And that is not even counting the 70 big Airbus A350s. Emirates has yet to announce a seating plan for ones A350, that is Airbus' competitor to Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. But it is probably being on the 270-320 passenger mark: bigger than the A330s flown by Qantas and soon being introduced by Virgin Blue.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kingfisher regains No.2 spot...IndiGo ahead of AI

Indigo Airlines has gone ahead of Air India by carrying 1.71 lakh more domestic passengers than the national carrier in January this year.

Vijay Mallya-controlled Kingfisher Airlines has regained the no 2 position as compared to its competitors IndiGo Airlines and Air India. Jet Airways along with its budget arm Jetlite continues to be at the top

Indigo Airlines has gone ahead of Air India by carrying 1.71 lakh more domestic passengers than the national carrier in January this year.

The total domestic passengers carried by the Scheduled Airlines of India in January, 2011 were 49.36 lakhs. It may be recalled that the total domestic passengers carried by the Scheduled Airlines of India in December, 2010 were 52.13 lakhs.

The break-up for the month of January, 2011 is as follows:

Air India (Domestic) – 7.79 lakhs, Jet Airways –8.54 lakhs, Jet Lite – 3.72 lakhs, Kingfisher – 9.61 lakhs, Spice Jet – 7.05 lakhs, Go Air – 3.15 lakhs, IndiGo – 9.50 lakhs.

The percentage share of the carriers in the month of January, 2011 is as follows:

Air India (Domestic) – 15.8%, Jet Airways – 17.3%, Jet Lite – 7.5%, Kingfisher – 19.5%, Spice Jet–14.3%, Go Air – 6.4 % and IndiGo – 19.2%.

The seat factor of the domestic airlines in the month of January, 2011 was:

Air India (Domestic) – 69.3%, Jet Airways – 73.9%, JetLite – 74.6%, Kingfisher Airlines – 86.5%, Spice Jet – 82.6%, Go Air –83.3% and IndiGo – 88.6%.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Air India to seek 10k cr equity support to tide over crisis: Ravi

MUMBAI: The cash-strapped national carrier, Air India, will seek more than 10,000 crore as equity aid to tide more than its financial crisis and turnaround operations, stated the civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi. "I am looking at a holistic process and not a piecemeal product to problems," he stated in Mumbai after a meeting with Air India unions.

Ravi , who met the finance minister on Wednesday using a request to include 2,000 crore equity infusion package inside the forth coming budget, stated the choice to raise more than 10,000 crore inside the government was taken at a recent review meeting.

He also stated that there will be a review on management claim that 65% from the turnaround plan were implemented.

Management and unions ought to occur forward to lessen the financial concerns and less-than-satisfactory operational performance of Air India, the minister said. He was in Mumbai to meet the trade unions to consume stock from the issues that confront the ailing airline.

The minister met representatives of some unions on Wednesday and others are slated to meet him on Thursday.

"Three main issues have emerged after the talks with employees, 1 could be the dilemma of differential salaries (between employees of erstwhile Air India and Indian) as well as the reduction of profitable routes from the airline as well as the integration of human resource inside the organisation is yet to consume place," stated Ravi.

The pilot unions of each Air India and erstwhile Indian met up from the minister. Although the Indian Airlines union will meet him once more with grievances, the Indian Pilots' Guild of Air India apprised him of differential treatment in comparison to expats and salary issues and mistreatment in between other issues faced by them.

Other unions that met him were the Indian Airlines Officers Association (2,500 members), Indian Airlines Technical Association (3,500 members) and Air India Aircraft Engineers' Association. All the unions wanted to know the financial viability from the airline as well as the plan for equity infusion.
Source: Economic Times

Gomti Yatra from March 27

LUCKNOW: A group of river water conservationists and activists will take up the cause of pollution in Gomti by organising a Gomti Yatra from March 27 to April 2. The activists, belonging to various non-government organisations, will also do sampling on at least 200 spots to assess pollution levels in the river.

A river water conservationist, Venkatesh Dutta, said the yatra will start from the point of origin of Gomti in Pilibhit and end at the point in Ghazipur where Gomti merges with Ganga. The yatra will cover a distance of 900 kms.

Dutta said the samples collected would be tested in laboratories of institutes like Central Drug Research Institute to prove their authenticity. River scientists from some US agencies too would be asked to provide inputs before and after sampling is done.

The yatra is sequel to the Ganga Yatra which was taken up by river water conservationist Rajendra Singh. Singh, popularly known as `Waterman of India', covered the Ganga through a stretch starting from Gaumukh in Uttarakhand.

A retired superintending engineer from the irrigation department, JM Gupta, who is now part of the campaign, said the purpose of the is to spread awareness among people about Gomti and its conservation. "Until people participation is ensured, the river would never be able to revive itself,'' Gupta said.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ajay Singh looking to do a SpiceJet with MDLR

Right after exiting the board of low-cost airline SpiceJet last year, Ajay Singh has initiated the system of investing in another carrier — the beleaguered MDLR Airlines — hoping to breathe new life into it.

New Delhi-based MDLR, a regional carrier, stopped operations in November 2009 after defaulting on lease payments to BAe for its Avro RJ70 aircraft.

According to a source during the know, Singh, who had promoted SpiceJet along with London-based NRI Bhupendra Kansagra, has sought the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s permission to select up around 23% stake in MDLR.

“He (Singh) has employed towards Ministry of Civil Aviation to purchase stake in MDLR Airlines to revive its operations. The software program is becoming processed and the ministry has sought clarifications over a source on the fund,” mentioned the source.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not disclose the price at which Singh was buying the stake.

MDLR, which began operations in March 2007, was founded by Gopal Goyal Kanda, a politician from Haryana, and is wholly owned by Murli Dhar Lakh Ram (MDLR) Group.

The company’s schedule airline operating allow has turn out to be defunct as all of the aircraft in its fleet have been deregistered by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for over a year now. However, its airline operating allow is nonetheless valid.

Singh could not be reached over a phone for your response plus a text message sent to him remained unanswered.

A senior executive with another airline, who did not desire to be named, mentioned even if Singh succeeds in owning stake in MDLR, he will have to begin operations from scratch.

“He will have to get brand new aircraft, set up new engineering and maintenance facility and begin all over again. It will be like setting up a brand new airline, except for applying for the airline operating permit,” he said.

Despite stepping down during the SpiceJet board in August last year, Singh continues to keep around 5% stake during the budget airline even after media baron Kalanithi Maran bought over a majority stake of 37.7% in Spicejet.

Singh, and also the Kansagra family, had re-launched the bankrupt Modiluft Airlines in 2005 after taking it over from industrialist SK Modi, who operated the airline in partnership with Lufthansa in mid-90s.

SpiceJet fought a lengthy legal battle with Modi to settle a dispute over 11.5 million shares on the airline, which the Modiluft promoter claimed have been nonetheless owned by him.

Modiluft was reincarnated as SpiceJet, and is these days the second-largest budget airline after IndiGo, having a marketplace share of 12.9%.

Source: DNA India

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Air India gives in, sacks COO of low-cost arm

Despite protesting to the end, the Air India management today finally gave in to pressure to dismiss Pawan Arora, chief operating officer of Air India Express, the low-cost international arm with the federal government carrier.

An AI spokesperson confirmed Arora had been asked to go and said S Chandrasekhar, director (finance), would assist Arvind Jadhav, who is chairman and managing director of both AI and AI Express, till the time a new COO was appointed.

Arora’s appointment was embroiled inside a controversy, following data surfaced that he had been earlier removed from a position of test pilot by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The civil aviation ministry had then asked the AI board to reconsider the appointment. Questions had also been raised about non-renewal of Arora’s flight instructor licence.

Arora joined the airline in October and his appointment was cancelled inside a board meeting a month after. In the meeting, the independent and federal government directors had asked the management to cancel Arora’s appointment.

The management did not and even defied a letter inside the ministry asking it to eliminate Arora. This evening, however, the ministry issued fresh and final orders, asking the management to eliminate Arora.

The airline management is calling it unfortunate and autocratic. “Neither the management nor Arora was allowed or asked to justify (his stand) in any with the meetings. If we are asked to justify now, we will do it and put the situation for the require of the professional COO for AI Express,” said a senior AI official.

The official said it was not a very good factor that another person was chosen following interviewing 170 candidates after which suddenly asked to leave. Arora did not eat calls on his cell phone.

“Such decisions will impact the standing Air India has and also the range of applicants will fall drastically following we call for applications again,” said the official.

Arora did not eat calls on his cell phone. He had served the Indian Air Force for 18 years worked with Jet Airways, Paramount Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and IndiGo. He also served at the DGCA in your year.

CAE Inaugurates Training Centre in India

CAE inaugurated its new aerospace and defense complex in Bangalore on February within the presence of representatives of India's airlines and defence forces, Canada's High Commission to India, along with company executives and employees. Located around Bengaluru International Airport, the complex is headquarters for CAE's operations in India and residence to a majority of its India-based employees.

During the 116 000 square-foot complex, CAE designs and develops defence training systems for India's defence forces and operates an engineering centre of excellence where visual databases and other software components for CAE's simulators are developed. The facility also houses CAE's Bangalore aviation training centre, the very first independent aviation training centre in India.

The six-bay capability centre currently offers Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 pilot training on three CAE-built full-flight simulators. Over 1,500 pilots trained at the centre last year, such as pilots from Indian-based airlines such as Air India, Go Air, IndiGo, Kingfisher Airlines, Spicejet and commercial pilots from the Indian Air Force. Other customers include Fly Wings Aviation and SriLankan Airlines. The training centre is component from the CAE-Airbus Training Services Cooperation agreement.

India is of strategic significance to CAE as well as the new aerospace and defence complex demonstrates the Company's commitment to India. CAE has been active within the Indian market for your past 40 years, beginning from the sale of simulators, and now offers comprehensive training items for India's civil aviation and defence markets. CAE's workforce in India has grown from 13 employees in 2004 to over 300 today.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flight grounded after fire scare

After becoming airborne for 10 minutes, a Hyderabad-bound flight with 27 passengers and 5 crewmembers had to build an emergency landing yesterday

A freak accident caught the city in the wee hours yesterday as the Kingfisher Airlines Bangalore-Hyderabad flight IT 4817 had to country back shortly after its take in off. The 27 passengers and 5 crewmembers on board have been reported safe and deplaned in the craft immediately. The flight that was scheduled to depart at 7.25 am was delayed due to a technical snag and took off at 7.40 am.

"An early boarding was announced and we had boarded the craft at about 7.05 am after which a technical snag was declared and we have been disembarked. Once in the bus we have been told the difficulty was resolved and boarded the craft again. 5 minutes after take in off the appropriate engine started out sputtering," stated a passenger.

"The passenger seated ahead of me called the airhostess for attention who in turn called the pilot. The appropriate engine was turned off and the flight had to build a landing back in Bangalore. No data regarding the technical difficulty or the turbulence that followed was announced," he added.

In an official statement from Mumbai, Prakash Mirpuri, VP, Corporate Communications, Kingfisher Airlines Limited, declared, "Shortly after the flights to Hyderabad took off from Bangalore, the commander received a warning alert. The cockpit crew took needed action as per established procedures and as a matter of abundant precaution decided to return to Bangalore immediately.

The aircraft, an ATR 72-500, landed safely in Bangalore at 8.40 am in which the 27 guests and 5 crewmembers have been promptly deplaned. The aircraft is becoming inspected thoroughly including a flight safety team will carry out a detailed investigation into this." A normal flier of the airlines said, "I fly at least as soon as or twice a month. I would even avoid Kingfisher flights if possible."
Source: Mid-Day

More flights to remote areas likely

The aviation ministry is planning to expand the scope of existing route dispersal guidelines for airlines that define a dozen key metro routes from the region according to air traffic

Indian carriers may be asked to increase connectivity to remote areas on the region inside a move that could raise prices for airlines even as it aims to evenly distribute the growth in domestic air traffic, which crossed the 52mn mark last year. The aviation ministry is planning to expand the scope of existing route dispersal guidelines for airlines that define a dozen key metro routes from the region according to air traffic. Airlines need to ply at least 10% of their total metro flights on routes covering destinations that are not well connected and are a smaller amount profitable, including Jammu and Kashmir, the North-East, Lakshadweep, and also the Andaman and Nicobar islands. "The targeted traffic has elevated more than the years and there is a situation for revising these metro routes. Kochi-Bangalore and Bangalore-Hyderabad are also at par in terms of targeted traffic now," mentioned a ministry official, who declined being named. "DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is getting asked to appear into it and rework."

The regulator defines high-traffic metro routes currently as Mumbai-Bangalore, Kolkata-Delhi, Mumbai-Kolkata, Kolkata-Bangalore, Mumbai-Delhi, Kolkata-Chennai, Mumbai-Hyderabad, Delhi-Bangalore, Mumbai-Chennai, Delhi-Hyderabad, Mumbai-Thiruvananthapuram and Delhi-Chennai. If, for example, Kochi-Bangalore and Hyderabad-Bangalore are added to this list, the amount of flights that airlines ply on a smaller amount profitable routes will simultaneously increase. Civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi needs the definition being widened to cover such routes, the ministry official said. In 2009, DGCA had banned national airlines from buying seat-miles from so-called regional carriers to meet regulatory requirements, as Mint reported on 24 April. Wadia Group's low-fare carrier GoAir bought seats from Gurgaon-based MDLR Airlines Pvt. Ltd in 2008 after it was unable to meet route dispersal requirements as it was focused on just flying metro routes then.

Most national airlines including GoAir prefer these metro routes, which provide far better passenger targeted traffic and yields, besides helping to save prices as aircraft maintenance facilities require not be based at multiple airports. Any move to widen the metro route definition is likely to force all airlines to rework their schedules in line on the new guidelines, that are likely to come up for consultation soon. An official having a domestic carrier confirmed how the matter has been discussed with airlines, but called it illogical and against the recommendations on the Naresh Chandra panel report of 2003 over a aviation sector. The report, offered over a aviation ministry website, had advised that "route dispersal guidelines need to be abolished" and airlines need to be allowed to assistance the routes of their choice, according to commercial considerations.

It had also advised that "the federal government need to provide explicit subsidy support-preferably from the general exchequer and supplemented by a sector-specific cess of 5% on airfare and proceeds from the privatization of airports-for providing essential, but uneconomical services, and award it via a method of minimum subsidy bidding". The creation of a non-lapsable important air services fund was an ideal solution for this, it said. None of these recommendations had been employed so far. "Where there is no demand on Kolkata-Silchar, they want you to put jumbos. You happen to be forcing the industry being sick," mentioned the airline official. You'll find other constraints at such low-traffic destinations, he said. In Srinagar, for example, wherever the amount of daily flights have elevated drastically through the years, this official pointed offered are no night-landing facilities, leaving tiny scope for more flights to consume off or state following sunset.
Source: India Infoline

Monday, January 24, 2011

Non-refundable ticket cancellation: Airlines to return money

Inside a big relief to air travellers, domestic airlines have agreed to refund passengers all prices barring the base fare if a non-refundable ticket is cancelled.

However, passengers can avail this facility only if they cancel their tickets two hours previous to the flight departure.

"At a working group meeting held recently, the airlines have agreed to refund passengers for non-refundable ticket as well.

"The civil aviation secretary has already sent instructions to all of the airlines in this regard,"Air Passenger Association of India (APAI) President D Sudhakar Reddy said.

The decision, that would offer succour towards passengers, was taken at a meeting of the working group of the Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council which is heading into problems relating to bringing transparency in fixing of airfares and protect buyer interests.

Reddy, a member of the group representing passengers' interests, mentioned the airlines have also been told to appoint a nodal officer to especially deal with this sort of issues.

Apart inside the base fares, fuel surcharge, passenger support fee, user or airport development fee and taxes are another components that an airline charges inside the passengers.

As per the decision, all these components would be refunded in case of cancellation of the ticket.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the six-member Working Group, which comprises all stake holders— airlines, DGCA, buyer groups, market experts, of the Aviation Economic Advisory Council held on January 18 in New Delhi.

Besides passengers, the group comprises representatives of travel agents, Air India ane no-frill carrier IndiGo.

"After discussions, the DGCA gave a presentation towards Council as well as the Working Group on a problem right after which airlines agreed towards proposal," Reddy said.

Reddy mentioned that APAI has also demanded inside the government that it must do away of the support tax on tickets which it introduced inside the last budget.

"We have asked the government to abolish the support tax on air tickets because it is against the International Civil Aviation Organisation norms and not in line with international practice," Reddy said.
Source: DNA India
Author: International

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Airlines to Hire 5,000 as Aviation Boom Returns

MUMBAI | NEW DELHI: Indian carriers will hire at least 5,000 professionals across categories this year — pilots, cabin crew and airport ground staff — buoyed by the recent boom during the aviation sector which saw high attrition and retrenchment following the onset of the downturn in 2008.

“Airlines had pulled out at least 20% ability during the industry during the downturn. That ability was restored last year and we see airlines adding another 20% ability this year and would be hiring 4,500-5,000 individuals this year,” said Kapil Kaul, CEO of aviation consultancy company Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, South Asia.

The Indian aviation sector will grow by 18-20% this year, said aviation industry experts. Among airlines, national carrier Air India Airlines and low-cost airlines IndiGo and SpiceJet will add more than 1,000 this year. “Our flights will go up to 350 flights per day from 221 currently. We are during the technique of hiring 200 pilots, 400-500 cabin crew and as many airport ground staff this year at IndiGo,” said Aditya Ghosh, president, IndiGo.

Demand for pilots is rising because of the dearth of professionals. Airlines are chasing expats as the aviation regulator has allowed foreign nationals being employed as pilots till December 13, 2013.

“The fact these days is that all airlines in India are asking for foreign pilots and no single agency can supply those people many numbers. Airlines in India have asked all agencies that these pilots needs to be recruited on an urgent basis,” said somebody directly involved with hiring of expats, requesting anonymity.

In all, airlines are looking for about 230 commanders on an immediate basis , based on recruitment agencies. “We are searching to hire 500-600 pilots to meet the demand,” Jet’s chairman Naresh Goyal had said recently. Jet, which seems to add 49 aircraft, need 100 commanders alone to meet its international expansion plans. Jet Airways , during the downturn, had fired 1,800 flight attendants only to re-hire them following protests and political intervention. It also slashed salaries by up to 25% at greater levels.

GoAir, which plans to add 20 aircraft by 2014, will hire 250 individuals this year with 100 every for cabin crew and ground staff and 50 pilots. The only airline that doesn't look being on an expanding spree stands out as the Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines . The airline pulled ability by 22% during the downturn, losing pilots to competitive airlines.

Aviation experts, however, feel that the modern-day hiring spree usually do not translate into greater salaries because of inflation and other costs. “Salaries will only go up by 15-20% on an average,” said an expert.

The staffing agencies are conservative in their demand projections. “2010 was a recovery year, which saw world-wide-web addition of 1,500 people, but 2011 is a boom year and we’ll see world-wide-web addition of 3,000 individuals or more,” said Kamal Karanth, MD, Kelly Services India, a global staffing company. Out of these 3,000, two-thirds are going to be cabin crew as well as the sleep are going to be a mix of engineers and pilots. More than the following 5 years, the growth in hiring are going to be among 100% and 200%.”

Source: India Times

Monday, January 10, 2011

Flight from Delhi cancelled, several others delayed

LUCKNOW: Dense fog enveloping the Amausi airport continued to disrupt flight movement on Saturday. Even though one domestic flight from Delhi remained cancelled, an international flight from Dubai was diverted to Jaipur.

According to reports, a GoAir flight, G8 351 with a scheduled arrival at 6.30 am remained cancelled. A Jet Airways Konnect flight 9W 2637 with a scheduled arrival at 6.45 am arrived virtually seven hours late even as visibility problems plummeted to near zero. The flight from Delhi arrived at 1.50 pm and departed only by 2.37 pm.

Likewise, a Kingfisher flights with a scheduled arrival at 8.30 am arrived at 12.30 pm and departed at 12.54. One more Kingfisher flight IT 3169 from Mumbai to Lucknow with a scheduled arrival at 8.55 am arrived only by 11.50 am.

Meanwhile, a Fly Dubai flight was diverted to Jaipur. The flight was scheduled to arrive at Amausi airport at around 7.45 am. However, the flight was diverted to Jaipur. The flight finally landed at Amausi airport at 3.40 pm and went back to Dubai at 7.30 pm.

Airport officials stated that even though visibility situation eased from the afternoon, it was back to haunt flight movement late on Saturday evening. In fact, some of the flights which have been scheduled to arrive in late evening had already started arriving late.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

International reporting time for domestic flyers?

NEW DELHI: With airlines flying record loads since the Christmas weekend and the rush peaking now, airlines have advised passengers to verify in earlier than usual at crowded airports. SpiceJet passengers flying out of Kolkata this weekend got text messages to report three hours ahead of departure time — the reporting time for international flights! Jet Airways has asked flyers to achieve airports 2 hours ahead of departure time.

"In view of enhanced security at all airports by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, Jet has requested all its guests to verify in early to avoid congestion at airports and also allow flights to depart on time. Guests have been advised to report 2 hours ahead of departure time," said a Jet spokesperson. Airline sources say that domestic site visitors is growing incredibly sharply and airports that have not seen expansion are merely unable to cope from the site visitors figures. "In smaller airports like Goa, the security verify line for outbound passengers beings from arrival terminal itself. Kolkata is also choked. Airport expansion plans are taking off at a incredibly slow pace," complained a senior pilot.

While airlines find it difficult to hold on time performance with passengers stuck in serpentine security queues even when it's flight departure time, flyers are suffering too because of poor infrastructure.

Source: India Times