Category Archives: Aviation

Qatar Airways to apply for launch of an Indian airline

Qatar Airways will soon move an application to launch a full-service airline in India for domestic operations, according to its chief Akbar Al Baker. He said the proposed airline would be fully financed by Qatar’s sovereign fund and would have Indians heading the board. Baker, who has been Qatar Airways’ Group Chief Executive for over two decades, was recently elected as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). “We will move the application soon. I don’t know really by when because it (the process) takes time,” he told on the sidelines of the IATA Annual General Meeting when asked by when the application for a licence would be moved. Noting that the process is on track, he said the proposed carrier in India would be a full-service one and the investment would be done from the sovereign fund of Qatar’s official investment arm. Qatar Investment Authority manages the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar. It was set up in 2005 to manage the oil and natural gas surpluses and its assets under management are estimated at USD 335 billion, a lot of which have been invested overseas for a variety of purposes.  It was in March 2017 that Baker first mentioned about its plans for a carrier in India. Source:PTI

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GoAir appoints Cornelis Vrieswijk as the new Chief Executive Officer

GoAir has announced the appointment of Cornelis Vrieswijk as the new Chief Executive Officer. He will be reporting to the Chairman, Managing Director and the Board of Directors of GoAir. Vrieswijk is a seasoned global executive and a consultant with over 25 years of experience in aviation and travel industry. He has rich experience in driving ventures, transitions, turnarounds and large-scale projects for diverse and multifaceted organisations with emphasis in aviation/travel and aircraft maintenance industry on a European Stage. He has significant expertise in international business development, operational streamlining, aircraft engineering & maintenance and process automation. Commenting on the occasion, Jeh Wadia, Managing Director, GoAir said, “Vrieswijk will work with the Board and leadership team to expand and implement a range of strategic initiatives to lead the airline into its next phase of growth. I am confident that Cor will help scale GoAir further and establish it as a most profitable low cost carrier in the highly competitive Indian market.” Commenting on his appointment, Vrieswijk said, “I am truly honoured to join this dynamic airline and see myself closely working with the entire GoAir team in realising its objectives. My primary focus will be to grow the airline to a strong position and modelling the desired changes for further growth and expansion.” Vrieswijk is a management graduate from Catholic University Nijmegen.

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Bhubaneswar to have second airport: Civil Aviation Ministry

Bhubaneswar is set to get a second airport to reduce congestion at the existing one, according to the Civil Aviation Ministry. The airport registered a growth of 39.4 per cent in 2017-18 fiscal, making it one of the fastest growing airports in the country. “Identification of a suitable land to build a second airport near Khurda on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar has been initiated. The set-up process will be fast tracked. The new airport will traffic congestion while improving passenger convenience,” the ministry tweeted. Earlier this month, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had urged Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to set up a new airport on the outskirts of the city as the existing airport was nearing saturation. “The airport, which was started in 1962, is near saturation and faces severe space and runway-related constraints. There is, thus, an urgent need to set up a new airport at Bhubaneswar given the tremendous growth potential of this smart city,” he had said in a letter to Prabhu. Source:PTI

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Vistara launches robot to help passengers at airports

In a bid to drive innovation to offer customer-centric products and service, Vistara has created a robot using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist customers, address their queries and entertain them. Called ‘RADA’, the robot will help the airline in offering a seamless experience and an ‘intuitively thoughtful’ on-ground service to its customers, keeping with the changing consumer behaviour. Initially, RADA will be placed at Vistara’s Signature Lounge at Delhi Airport’s Terminal 3 from July 5, 2018 to assist customers using the lounge before they board their flights. ‘RADA’ will be further developed over a period of time in terms of functionality and features for future use cases, after gauging customer feedback. Currently, the robot can scan boarding passes and further provide information on the terminal, departure gates, weather conditions of destination city, real time flight status as well as information about Vistara’s products and services. RADA can greet customers and interacts with them using basic hand movements, and can move around in the lounge on predefined pathways. Additionally, it can engage with kids and adults alike by playing games and other multimedia content such as songs and videos. Leslie Thng, Chief Executive Officer, Vistara said, “Innovation is one of the core values engrained in the DNA of Vistara’s culture, which we have fostered within the organization in many ways. RADA is a manifestation of this endeavour. Vistara has disrupted the market through several innovations with the sole objective of redefining air travel in the country, while making its processes more robust and resources more effective.”

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IndiGo announces 20 new flights from July

IndiGo has announced the launch of 20 new flights from July, which include introduction of the first direct flight from Kolkata to Chandigarh and Indore.  A non-stop flight between Chandigarh and Srinagar, and a daily flight between Indore and Nagpur will also be introduced, the airline said in a statement. From July 1, IndiGo will operate a second daily flight between Bengaluru and Varanasi, Bengaluru and Chandigarh and a third daily flight between Ranchi and Bengaluru, and between Indore and Bengaluru. An additional flight will also be operated between Cochin and Tiruchirappalli, and between Tiruchirappalli and Bengaluru effective June 28. “IndiGo is reinforcing its commitment to on-time performance by announcing new frequencies from Chandigarh, Varanasi, Ranchi, Indore and Tiruchirappalli connecting Bengaluru.  Kolkata-Chandigarh, Kolkata- Indore and Chandigarh- Srinagar have also emerged as sectors that have started attracting both leisure and business passengers in the recent past and hold immense potential for IndiGo,” the airline’s chief commercial officer Sanjay Kumar said. Source: PTI    

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Delta to return to India following Open Skies resolution

Delta Air Lines has announced that it will resume non-stop flights to Mumbai in 2019 after the US, UAE and Qatar reached an agreement to end rows between carriers. The airline said the governments’ agreement addresses “the issue of government subsidies provided to state-owned carriers” in the UAE and Qatar – something a coalition of US-based airlines claimed caused unfair competition and made flights to certain markets “unviable”. Delta claims flights between the US and India have been impacted by government-subsidised Middle Eastern airlines. While schedule details have yet to be announced, Ed Bastian, Delta CEO says the carrier is ‘excited’ to be returning to India. “We are thankful to the president for taking real action to enforce our Open Skies trade deals, which made this new service possible.” Delta also intends to expand its existing codeshare agreement with Jet Airways. Last week, low-cost carrier Wow Air announced it would launch flights between Delhi and nine US airports via Iceland this December. Source: buyingbusinesstravel.com

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Domestic air traffic grows by 24.41% from January-April YOY

Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-April 2018 were 453.03 lakhs as against 364.13 lakhs during the corresponding period of previous year, thereby registering a growth of 24.41 per cent, according to a latest report by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Passengers flown by domestic airlines in January-April stood at 453.03 lakhs over 364.13 lakhs in the corresponding period in 2017. The passenger traffic month-on-month has risen by 26%—from 91.34 lakh in March 2018 to 115.13 lakhs in April 2018.

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MoCA to launch AirSewa 1.5 by July, tech standards for DigiYatra by Jan 2019

Ministry of Civil Aviation has revealed that passengers will have an option to go for the DigiYatra initiative after giving their Aadhar details and experience seamless air travel right from booking of tickets to airport entry, Check-in, security check as well as boarding. MoCA has finalised the technical standards for DigiYatra, which will be published shortly. Airports such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Varanasi and Vijayawada will roll out this programme in phases by January 2019. The Passenger Charter also revealed that the application AirSewa v1.5 will be launched by July 2018. According to the Draft Passenger Charter released by MoCA, the passengers can enrol in to DigiYatra program through AirSewa, and a DigiYatra verified passenger gets hassle free entry at airport through E-Gates. The ID verification will be done by the BCAS-approved Government ID. At the entry gate a single token for the passenger is created. Many other value-added services, including ground transportation, special services at airport, in-flight, etc. will also be delivered through the DigiYatra programme. The programme also enhances security while providing convenience to the passenger. The mobile app and web application for AirSewa will be redesigned to include UI/UX refresh to make it service friendly. Also, social media login will be enabled allowing users of Facebook and Google to access AirSewa, and report grievances on these channels. Other features of AirSewa includes comprehensive FAQs and Chat-bot interface; updated flight status and flight schedule information; information on facilities and services available across all airports in India.

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Get ready for Wi-Fi and calls on domestic flights: MoCA

Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Draft Passenger Charter was discussed recently by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, along with RN Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, where Sinha revealed that both domestic and international airlines can provide internet as well as mobile services on-board and aircraft in Indian airspace, keeping in account security requirements for the same. According to the Passenger Charter, Wi-fi services can be provided from the moment the plane takes off  and personal electronic devices (PED) have to be put on flight mode. Also, mobile services can be allowed only when an aircraft is over an altitude of 3,000 metres. Choubey, explained that the licensing condition for Wi-Fi on board will be decided by the Telecom Ministry, and within 2 months passengers will be able to enjoy on-board internet when they travel.

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No charges on air ticket cancellation within 24 hours of booking

Ministry of Civil Aviation has announced the Draft Passenger Charter, which defines the rights of the passengers, under which Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, informed that there will be a lock-in period of 24 hours post booking for passenger, allowing them to cancel or amend the ticket without any charges. However, he said that this waiver will not be eligible for a ticket booked 96 hours (4 days) before the departure of the flight. It was also revealed that if the airline is at fault for any delays or cancellation, then under no circumstance the airline, or the OTA or agents who has booked the ticket, can levy cancellation charges which are more than the total of basic fare and fuel surcharge.

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