Category Archives: Aviation

SpiceJet promises connectivity between Assam’s Lakhimpur and Jorhat

SpiceJet will soon connect Assam’s northern district of Lakhimpur with Jorhat in the south, announced Ajay Singh, Chief Managing Director, SpiceJet at Advantage Assam-Global Investors Summit’18 in Guwahati. The move will, if it comes through, form part of Centre’s UDAN or Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), an initiative taken to make air travel to India’s Tier-II and III cities affordable and at the same time putting remote regions on the country’s aviation map. “For India to grow, it is critical that North East grows. And, the region cannot grow without connectivity. SpiceJet connects cities of Guwahati, Silchar and Dibrugarh to other parts of the country and under UDAN, we will soon be connecting Lakhimpur and Jorhat,” Singh said. The two-day event showcased the state’s manufacturing opportunities and geostrategic advantages to foreign and domestic investors. The summit was organised by the Assam Government, in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). There were a number of focus sectors identified by the state, which includes agriculture and food processing, organic farming, bamboo, handloom, textile and handicrafts, inland water transport, riverfront development and logistics. Source:ANI 

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MoCA looking at 20-min benchmark for immigration

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is looking at a benchmark of 20 minutes for passengers at immigration, said Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation while addressing a gathering at CAPA Conference in Mumbai via a video link. Speaking about the steps taken at the Delhi airport in response to the recent spike in international travel, Sinha pointed out, “We recently saw a dramatic spike of 30 per cent in international travel in the winter schedule, particularly at the Delhi airport. Mumbai did not grow as much due to slot constraints. But these are two airports where we are facing some congestion. In response to that, we along with the Ministry of Home Affairs acted swiftly by increasing capacity for immigration officers as well as immigration counters at the Delhi airport. In Mumbai however, we are much more constrained even though we have added capacity, although it is not at the same level as Delhi. We are thankful to Ministry of Home Affairs for acting so swiftly. Our benchmark as far as immigration is concerned is 20 minutes. If anyone has to wait more than that, then we are not doing our job well.”  

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SpiceJet is not bidding for Air India stake

Ajay Singh, Chairman, SpiceJet, has confirmed that the airline will not bid for any stake in the process of privatisation of Air India. Speaking at the recently-concluded CAPA India Aviation Summit 2018 in Mumbai, he said, “We are just too small to bid for Air India. We may not be the appropriate candidate for this. Vistara and Singapore Airlines will probably do it. Conceptually, we are too small for this. Nevertheless, it’s a great asset and a fantastic brand.” Speaking about government’s move to privatise the national airline, Singh added, “The government has taken an appropriate decision and the reason for that is not lack of performance. I think we had some really great managers at Air India. Problem is the government system itself. If Air India is required to take every decision through a tender process, it is almost impossible to function. Either you need to allow them to run like a private operator or sell it to a private operator. .” He also confirmed that SpiceJet will expand its international routes albeit without mentioning any destinations. CAPA acknowledged his effort in turning around the airline over the last 32 months.

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AI Express may be first to fly from Kannur

Sharing plans for 2018, K. Shyam Sundar, CEO, Air India Express, said that the focus for the LCC will be Kannur, located about 90 kms north of Calicut, which is slated to get a brand new international airport this year. Sundar says, “The focus market for us for 2018-19 will be Kannur. We expect the new airport to be functional by June 2018. We have requested the Kerala Government to allow us to be the first carrier to operate international flights from the new airport. In fact, the two aircraft we are going to induct is probably going to be based or largely operated to and from Kannur. We intend to connect Kannur to about four to five destinations in the Gulf.” Kannur is an extremely important market for AIE. The new airport is a PPP project and will be larger than the one in Calicut in terms of runway length. It will be a table-top airport. Currently, passengers from Kannur have to travel to Calicut to take flights. Sundar also revealed that AIE will make its four-month old non-stop Madurai-Singapore flight to a daily in the summer schedule. It will also add some new routes in the summer which will be a direct link between Kochi, Kuwait and Bahrain. Air India Express currently flies to 15 international destinations: Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah, Bahrain, Dammam, Doha, Kuwait, Muscat, Salalah, Singapore, KualaLumpur, Riyadh & Dhaka from 15 Indian cities – Kozhikode, Kochi, Thiruvananthpuram, Mangalore, Chennai, Tiruchirapally, Mumbai, Pune, Amritsar, Lucknow, Jaipur, Varanasi, New Delhi, Kolkata and Chandigarh. On the domestic front, it operates flights between Chennai-Thiruvananthpuram-Chennai, Kozhikode-Thiruvananthpuram-Kozhikode, Kochi-Thiruvananthpuram-Kochi and Kochi-Kozhikode.

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IndiGo appoints Wolfgang Prock-Schauer as COO

IndiGo has announced the appointment of Wolfgang Prock-Schauer as the Chief Operating Officer, subject to regulatory approvals. An accomplished industry leader with more than three decades of experience in civil aviation, Schauer has held senior leadership positions with leading airlines across Europe and Asia. In his role, he will be responsible for operational aspects of IndiGo such as Flight Operations, Maintenance and Engineering and Inflight Services directly as well as Airport Operations and Operations Control Centre. He will be reporting to Aditya Ghosh, President and Whole Time Director, IndiGo. Aditya Ghosh, President and Whole-Time Director, IndiGo said, “With an illustrious career in various leadership positions, Schauer is a proven leader and I am confident that this important step in strengthening our leadership team will serve as a great building block for the future of IndiGo. Over the last year, we have elevated several colleagues internally to positions of leadership and have also attracted world class talent across verticals.” In the past, Schauer has worked with Austrian Airlines, Jet Airways (India), British Midland International, Air Berlin (Germany/ UK) and Go Air (India).    

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Etihad Airways introduces new weight-based baggage policy

Etihad Airways has introduced a new baggage policy that allows for a simpler baggage structure as the allowance for all markets, excluding the US and Canada, is now based on total weight rather than the number of bags checked in. The majority of markets will be entitled to 23kg of checked baggage on Economy Deal fares, 30kg on Economy Saver and Classic fares, and 35kg on Economy Flex fares. Customers in all Business Class fare categories are entitled to 40kg, and First Class customers enjoy a 50kg allowance. Guests in The Residence onboard Etihad Airways’ flagship Airbus A380 fleet are provided with an allowance of four bags at 32kg each. Exceptions apply to select markets. Mohammad Al Bulooki, Executive Vice President Commercial, Etihad Airways, said, “In line with global best practice and market trends, Etihad Airways has developed a baggage policy that best caters to the differing needs of our guests around the world. The switch to a policy based on weight rather than the number of bags simplifies our allowance system and provides greater convenience and customer benefit while enhancing the travel experience.” Etihad Guest Silver, Gold and Platinum members will continue to receive a complimentary excess baggage allowance of 32kg on US and Canada routes, and 20kg for Platinum members, 15kg for Gold members and 10kg for Silver members on all other routes.

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6 key MoCA initiatives underway: Jayant Sinha

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has six key initiatives underway, said Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation. Addressing a gathering at CAPA Conference in Mumbai via a video link, the minister opted to answer questions from the audience instead of giving a speech. As part of a response, he outlined six key initiatives that India has undertaken. “There is no other country in the world that has undertaken such pathbreaking projects in the last four years as we have. Apart from the privatisation of our national carrier, UDAN and country-wide up gradation of airport infrastructure, we are also working on our passenger-centric measures via Air Seva initiative, dramatic breakthrough in the security architecture of our airports and last but not the least, a drone policy that will change the landscape as far as drone services are concerned. This has not been spoken about much but it will make India a world leader in drone services,” Sinha pointed out.

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IndiGo expected to get aggressive in 2018-19

Sharing CAPA’s forecast for 2018-19 during the Annual CAPA India Aviation Summit 2018 held in Mumbai,  Kapil Kaul, CEO & Director—South Asia, CAPA revealed some key expectations from IndiGo. He said, “IndiGo’s long-haul expansion will be aggressive and akin to a full service carrier. It will dominate the low cost carrier market which may cause some sort of friction between airlines. IndiGo may also build cross-border joint ventures but it depends on what happens with its plans for Air India, since IndiGo is one of the six possible bidders for the national carrier. IndiGo may also look at franchise as part of its cross-border plans.” Kaul added that while there might be four Indian carriers to bid for investing in Air India, there might also be two non-aviation entities and huge corporates.

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325 more routes in UDAN second round; IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways win big

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has given a nod to 90 proposals for 325 routes during the second round of bidding in the UDAN regional connectivity scheme. While SpiceJet and Air India subsidiary-Alliance Air have been a part of the scheme from the first round itself, IndiGo and Jet Airways participated in the second round only. R N Choubey, Secretary, Civil Aviation, said, “In all, we got 141 proposals for 502 routes (for both planes and choppers). Out of 325, 129 routes are in a newly created category of ‘priority areas’ that include Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Uttarakhand, North East, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands.” IndiGo has got 20 routes Kannur-Bangalore; Kannur-Trivandrum; Cochin-Hubli-Goa; Bangalore-Allahabad-Pune; Nagpur-Bhubaneswar-Allahabad; Mumbai-Allahabad; Hindon-Allahabad-Dehradun; Hindon-Gorakhpur-Allahabad and Hindon-Jaisalamer-Udaipur. SpiceJet was awarded 20 new sectors. “Out of these 20, 15 will cater to unserved markets of Kannur (Kerala), Darbhanga (Bihar), Ozar (Nashik), Pakyong (Sikkim), Kishangarh (Rajasthan).” Alliance Air has got 18 routes like Nashik-Ahmedabad-Kandla; Hyderabad-Kohlapur; Hubli-Hyderabad; Bikaner-Jaipur and Jammu-Bhatinda. Jet has got four proposals.  

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Etihad removes agents’ commission

In line with major airlines reducing agents’ commission to 0 per cent on airline ticket bookings, Etihad Airways too has followed suit. According to a statement released by the airline, from February 1, 2018, Etihad Airways will withdraw its commission applicable to any/all tickets issued in India and move to 0 per cent commission given to IATA agents. All tickets issued prior to February 1, 2018 will be eligible to 1 per cent commission.

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