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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