Category Archives: Aviation

SpiceJet to launch operations on Hyderabad-Colombo route from April 15

SpiceJet has announced that it will be connecting Hyderabad with Colombo along with the launch of 11 other new direct flights on domestic routes from March 31 onwards. The Hyderabad-Colombo route, the first by any domestic carrier, will commence from April 15 and operate on all days except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, said the budget carrier in a statement. “Our new flight to Colombo reinforces our commitment to strengthening the network between India and Sri Lanka. We see tremendous potential in this sector for both leisure and business travelers,” said Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet. Expanding its footprint on the UDAN routes, SpiceJet will launch services on six new flights on the Kishangarh-Ahmedabad, Lakhimpur-Guwahati and Jaipur-Amritsar routes. With this announcement, the budget carrier became the first operate to fly between Hyderabad and Colombo and between Chennai and Patna. With the launch of its services between Hyderabad and Colombo, SpiceJet will connect the Sri Lankan capital with three direct flights from India, the release said. It currently connects the city with single daily frequencies from Chennai and Madurai each.

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Ratnagiri Airport to start civil air operations soon

Ratnagiri Airport, a defence airport as on date, is all set to start civil air operations soon. An MoU is being signed between Airport Authority of India and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) on March 5, 2019, which will facilitate in activating Ratnagiri Airport for Regional Connectivity Scheme operations under UDAN scheme of Ministry of Civil Aviation. The MoU stipulates AAI to provide all support for activation of the airport including CNS/ATM services, and MIDC to provide infrastructure for handling of aircrafts and passengers such as building passenger terminal, apron and taxiway for commencing RCS operations. Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu has been speaking with all stakeholders such as the Ministry of Defence, the Maharashtra State Government and the Airport Authority of India to make Ratnagiri airport a civilian airport. Speaking on the MoU, the Minister said: “We are fully committed to start air operations from Ratnagiri at the earliest. Bids under UDAN 3.1 have already been invited for operations for Ratnagiri-Mumbai-Ratnagiri sector. In order to speed up the work of construction of civil terminal and establishing navigation facilities, AAI is ready to work with MIDC and an MoU is being signed between AAI and MIDC in this regard on 5th March, 2019. We fully support and are committed to early operationalization of both Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri airports to boost tourism and economy of the Konkan Region”.

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Cabinet approves development of new greenfield airport at Hirasar near Rajkot

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has given its approval for development of new greenfield airport at Hirasar in Gujarat at an estimated cost of Rs.1405 crore. The existing airport at Rajkot is severely land constrained having only 236 acres (approx.) of land and situated in the heart of city. This Airport suffers from considerable capacity restraints due to presence of residential & commercial buildings around it. Railway line and State Highway located around the airport on eastern side also prohibits the extension of runway. Thus there is no feasibility to expand the airport on city or airside, hence possibility of operating wide bodied aircrafts at the existing airport location is ruled out. Rajkot is the fourth largest city in the state of Gujarat after Ahmedabad, Surat, and Vadodara. The city is the centre of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and the 35thlargest urban agglomeration in India with a population more than 1.2 million as of 2015. It is also the 22nd fastest growing city in the world. Considering the constraints and compulsions with respect to existing airport, State Government desires to develop a new Greenfield Airport in Rajkot. Government of Gujarat has identified required land for the new airport and requested Airports Authority of India to develop, operate and maintain the new airport

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Vistara adds 16 new flights to its schedule

Vistara has announced the addition of 16 new flights to its schedule including recent new destination announcements. The new daily flights include flights to newly announced destinations Raipur and Dibrugarh, new route Delhi – Jammu, and additional frequencies on existing routes. With these additions, Delhi – Chandigarh and Delhi – Srinagar will now operate 2x daily, Delhi – Bhubaneshwar 3x daily, and Delhi – Kolkata 4x daily. While some of the additions are seasonal, the majority are for year-round operations. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, said, “Vistara is pleased to announce new destinations, flights, and frequencies in response to high demand from customers and corporates alike. We continue to carefully evaluate new route and destination possibilities, and will be adding more flights as we add aircraft to the fleet over the next fiscal year.One of the things we hear most from our customers is that they wish we had a larger network and more frequencies, and we are working hard to achieve that step by step as demand for our flights grow and we get new aircraft. We are also pleased that in recent weeks we have increased Delhi – Bangalore service to 6x daily as well.”

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Air India, Vistara, say no to passengers of cancelled Jet Airways flights

Jet Airways passengers, whose flight is cancelled, will not be able to travel with Air India and Vistara, as the full-service carriers have cut cordial agreements with the airline. Both Air India and Vistara have cancelled the Flight Interruption Manifest (FIM) agreement and Interline Ticketing Agreement Facility with Jet Airways. This move comes after 15 of Jet Airways’ flights were grounded because of non-payment to lessors, and the airline had to cancel many flights for the same reason. Under an FIM agreement between two airlines, when any schedule change happens in any of the airline in the alliance, the other airline accommodates those stranded passengers on their airline. The FIM, in such a situation, acts like a substitute ticket for the stranded passenger. As a result, the affected airline reimburses the said amount of the ticket to the other airline. Even Vistara has reportedly ended its interline ticketing agreement facility with Jet Airways. Because of this facility, Jet Airways could book their passengers on a Vistara flight at a pre-determined price.

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GoAir to connect Kannur with Abu Dhabi four times a week

GoAir has launched four new flights between Kannur International Airport (CNN) and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), connecting the two cities with flights operating every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. A statement released by the airline revealed that the inaugural flight from Kannur to Abu Dhabi landed on March 2. Jeh Wadia, Managing Director, GoAir, said Abu Dhabi was the airline’s fourth international destination after Phuket, Male and Muscat, and 28th destination sequentially. “GoAir is delighted to partner with Abu Dhabi Airports. It is heartening to note that both GoAir and Abu Dhabi Airports were established in 2006 and are celebrating 13th anniversaries this year,” he said. Bryan Thompson, CEO, Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “India is a key travel market for Abu Dhabi International Airport and we are always eager to strengthen our connectivity to the Indian subcontinent, enhancing further our services extended to our dear customers.”

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SpiceJet connects Odisha’s Jharsuguda to Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata from March 31

SpiceJet has announced commencement of flights to Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Jharsugudam Odisha from Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata under the UDAN scheme from March 31. “SpiceJet is delighted to provide direct air connectivity from Jharsuguda, one of Odisha’s biggest manufacturing hubs and a top investment destination, to key metro cities and beyond. We will launch daily direct flights on the Jharsuguda-Delhi, Jharsuguda-Hyderabad and Jharsuguda-Kolkata sectors from March 31,” said Ajay Singh,CMD, SpiceJet. Starting the booking of flights on Wednesday, the budget carrier also announced introductory promotional fare starting Rs3,701 all-inclusive on Delhi-Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda-Delhi and Jharsuguda-Hyderabad, Hyderabad-Jharsuguda routes, and Rs2,560 all-inclusive on Jharsuguda-Kolkata and Kolkata-Jharsuguda routes. The Veer Surendra Sai Airport is Odisha’s second biggest and the only one to handle civil commercial operations after the Bhubaneswar Airport. According to SpiceJet, it is the first carrier to connect Jharsuguda with Delhi and Hyderabad. With the addition of these flights, SpiceJet will be operating 29 daily flights under UDAN. At present, it operates 23 flights under UDAN.

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Adani Group wins bid for the sixth airport- Guwahati

After emerging the single largest bidder to operate and upgrade five airports up for privatisation by Airport Authority of India (AAI), the Adani Group has also won rights for Guwahati International Airport, which takes the group’s tally to manage six airports. By quoting Rs 160 as per passenger fare for the airport, the group has emerged as the highest bidder pipping state-backed National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) by a margin of Rs 5. With this, Adani Group has won bids to operate all six airports- Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangalore, Trivandrum, Lucknow and Guwahati. The government last year put up these six AAI-run airports for privatisation under the public private partnership mode. A total of 32 technical bids were received from 10 companies to operate the six airports.

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Vistara to commence daily flights connecting Dibrugarh with Delhi via Bagdogra

Vistara has added Dibrugarh to its network, making it the 24th destination for the airline, and its second destination in Assam after Guwahati. The flights will start from April 3, 2019, and will connect Dibrugarh and Bagdogra with daily direct flights between the two cities, while also connecting Dibrugarh and Delhi with convenient same aircraft one-stop flight via Bagdogra. Passengers flying from Dibrugarh can also take convenient connections via Delhi to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. Dibrugarh, known as the ‘Tea City of India’, is the nerve centre of industry, communication and healthcare of the upper Assam region, and is also the emerging communication and industrial hub of Northeast India. The new service will offer business and leisure travellers more choices as well as the option of three classes of service to choose from, including India’s only Premium Economy class. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, said, “At Vistara, our aim is to bring ‘the new feeling of flying’ to more business and leisure travellers across the country, and we are pleased to add Dibrugarh to our growing network. Hot on the heels of our announcement of service to Raipur, this announcement of service to Dibrugarh is the second in a series of flight additions Vistara has planned starting this summer.” Travellers from Dibrugarh travelling to and from international destinations via Delhi will also benefit from seamless same-terminal international transfers at Delhi’s T3, from where Vistara operates.

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Rights of air passengers announced by MoCA

Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister, Civil Aviation, along with Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, have released the passenger charter. If a domestic flight is expected to be delayed by more than six hours, the airline would offer an option of ‘alternate flight’ to the passenger within that time, or it will refund the full price of the ticket. The charter also stated that if the passenger is informed of a flight cancellation less than two weeks prior to departure, the airline has to give an alternate flight to passenger or refund the ticket completely. In fact, at the time of booking, the airline has to clearly indicate the amount of refund money that will be given to passenger in case of cancellation. In case a passenger is denied boarding due to over booking of a flight, the passenger shall not hold the airline liable for compensation in case he was given an alternate flight within one hour of original flight’s departure. The charter also states that passengers can cancel tickets without having to pay any amount within a day of the booking and also claim enhanced compensation for loss of baggage from airlines. However, the new charter states that zero cancellation charge won’t apply if the tickets are booked less than seven days before the scheduled departure time of the flight.      

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