Category Archives: Aviation

SilkAir to be merged with SIA, cabin products to be upgraded

Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) regional wing, SilkAir, is set to undergo a significant investment programme to upgrade its cabin products as part of a multi-year initiative that will ultimately see it merged into SIA. The programme will comprise investment of more than $100 million to upgrade the wholly owned subsidiary’s cabins with new lie-flat seats in Business Class, and the installation of seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in both Business Class and Economy Class. This will ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network. “Singapore Airlines is one year into our three-year Transformation Programme and today’s announcement is a significant development to provide more growth opportunities and prepare the Group for an even stronger future,” said Goh Choon Phong, CEO, SIA. “Importantly, it will be positive for our customers. It is another example of the major investment we are making to ensure that our products and services continue to lead the industry across short-, medium- and long-haul routes.” Aircraft cabin upgrades are expected to start in 2020 due to lead times required by seat suppliers, including to complete certification processes. The merger will take place only after a sufficient number of aircraft have been fitted with the new cabin products. Specific details will be announced progressively as the programme develops and timelines are finalised.  

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Udan scheme to be extended to all underserved destinations

In a high level meeting held by K J Alphons, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, with Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Civil Aviation; Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation (MoCA), along with senior officials, it was decided that MoCA shall under-write any loss making route, if it is not already covered under Udan scheme. It was also decided that Udan scheme could be extended to all the under-served destinations at the earliest. During the meeting, Alphons requested for daily Air India flights to Khajuraho, better connectivity to Aurangabad for accessing Ajanta-Ellora, Triangular flight on Kochi-Goa-Jaipur sector, more international flights from Kozhikode, international flights to South East Asian countries from Guwahati Airport, commissioning of Kannur Airport, direct flights from Delhi to Kozhikode, daily flights from Kolkata to Shillong and more flights to Varanasi, direct flights from Ahmedabad and Kolkata to Srinagar and also opening the new airport in Sikkim. It was also requested that more flights be operated to Jindal Vijaynagar Airport to get better access to Hampi. MoCA assured immediate action in consultation with airline operators to provide better connectivity.

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Jet Airways to start fifth direct service between India and UK

Jet Airways has announced that it will launch its first non-stop service between Mumbai and Manchester, beginning November 5, 2018, thus further strengthening its connect to the United Kingdom (UK). This new service is the first non-stop service connecting India, via its economic capital with Manchester. Jet Airways will deploy its wide body A330-200 with 254 seating for the service, which will operate for four days every week including Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Manchester will become the 21st international addition to the Jet Airways network and with the introduction of this new flight – the carrier’s 5th non-stop service to/from the UK. The launch of this new service will provide seamless connectivity to several domestic destinations to and from India via Mumbai. The new service will complement the carrier’s existing thrice daily, non-stop services between Mumbai – London Heathrow and a daily service between Delhi – London Heathrow. Vinay Dube, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways said, “The new service will bring Manchester into our global network, reinforcing our footprint as well as expanding the choice of connectivity to/from the United Kingdom for our guests with the four-day/week, non-stop service. With the new flight, Jet Airways will have over 8000 seats on offer every week, making it increasingly convenient for both business as well as leisure travellers.”

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Lufthansa Group and MakeMyTrip enhance their partnership

MakeMyTrip and Lufthansa Group have entered into a Direct Connect cooperation which gives customers access to innovative and even more competitive flight products.  Direct Connect is a distribution functionality that enables partners to use the Lufthansa Group’s API (application programming interface) for a direct access to the airlines’ inventories and rich content. The API software facilitates the travel partner to provide an enhanced customised offer for third parties. Wolfgang Will, Senior Director Sales South Asia for Lufthansa Group Airlines and Rajesh Magow, Co-founder & CEO India, MakeMyTrip jointly signed the cooperation. The new agreement allows MakeMyTrip to offer Lufthansa Group Airlines’ differentiated travel content to consumers with personalised flight products. Amongst other services, passengers can use the platform to conveniently purchase flight tickets and other services from Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines without paying the 16 Euro Distribution Cost Charge applied to bookings made via traditional sales channels. “This Direct Connect Solution with MakeMyTrip is an incredible milestone in addressing the new-generation of travellers. MakeMyTrip as a Direct Connect Partner of Lufthansa Group in India is a key partner for our future developments in distribution,” Will said. “At MakeMyTrip, we are always looking to provide best content to our users to help make them best travel decisions. We are delighted to partner with Lufthansa and take another step in providing customised and more relevant offerings to better serve Indian travellers”,  said Magow.

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Amadeus launches Airport Common Use Service (ACUS) for India

Amadeus has introduced the ‘Airport Common Use Service’ (ACUS) to key stakeholders in the Indian aviation industry at India’s first Common Use Roundtable, an event hosted by Amadeus and Bird Group. The launch of Amadeus ACUS means, airports in India can offer a futuristic, more efficient and convenient check-in service as the number of international and domestic travellers increases. Rajesh Suri, Executive Vice President, Business Development, Bird Group shared, “Airports and airlines around the world are looking at how new technologies and solutions can improve passenger experience and operations throughout the airport. Behind the scenes and in front of the passenger, we are pleased to introduce ACUS to India. It is indeed a milestone moment for us as we demonstrate our commitment to offer best-in-class solutions to our business partners across the Indian subcontinent.” To mark the launch of ACUS in India, Amadeus and Bird Group held India’s first Common Use Roundtable on May 17th and 18th in New Delhi, the event brought together India’s senior airline and airport industry leaders to share insights, learnings and to create a vision for the future of Common Use in the country. Sarah Samuel, Head of Airport IT, Asia Pacific of Amadeus says, “The rapid growth of passengers traveling in India means airports are under a lot pressure. Now more than ever, they need to think differently to provide the service expected by consumers. The airport industry has advanced tremendously from the days of dedicated airline check-in desks towards a much more flexible and shared environment.”

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WOW air launches flights from Delhi to Europe & North America at Rs 13,499

WOW air, Iceland’s low fare transatlantic airline, has launched its operations in India with flights from December 7, 2018 at an introductory fare of Rs 13,499 one way. The airline will fly direct, five times a week between New Delhi and Keflavik airport in Iceland and would further connect to multiple destinations in North America and Europe. The price varies in different configuration of seat options, ranging from WOW basic, WOW plus, WOW comfy and WOW premium. A one-way ticket to Iceland, US, Canada and London in economy category called WOW basic will start from Rs 13,499 (including taxes) while the business class fares termed as WOW premium will be priced from Rs 46,599 onwards (including taxes). The airline will deploy the most modern long-haul aircraft, Airbus A330neo for the route from New Delhi. Skúli Mogensen, Chief Executive Officer and founder of WOW air said, “Our launch is in sync with India’s aviation growth story and we look forward to being part of it with our very affordable fares to North America and Europe on board brand new Airbus A330neos. It is also a major milestone for WOW air as we are now connecting Asia with our extensive network in North America and Europe, making Iceland a global hub.”  

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IndiGo adds two new flights on Tiruchirappalli-Chennai route

IndiGo is all set to add two more sectors connecting Tiruchirappalli by operating a direct flight between Tiruchirappalli and Bengaluru and Tiruchirappalli and Kochi. IndiGo with its seventh ATR will operate four direct flights from Chennai to Tiruchirappalli from June 1. Chief Commercial Officer Sanjay Kumar presented the airline’s expansion plan during a travel agent meet held in Tiruchirappalli. The new flights are designed to cater to business and leisure travellers who are constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options. The introduction of these flights will further strengthen airline’s ATR operations, and will provide enhanced connectivity between Chennai and Tiruchirappalli with all-inclusive fares starting from INR 2299. Elaborating on the new route expansion in south India, Kumar said, “Just like Coimbatore, Madurai and Chennai, Tiruchirappalli is also a key market for IndiGo in Tamil Nadu. With rising business and tourism stemming from the southern hubs, IndiGo is determined to provide the best travel experience to all those who wish to fly to these destinations. We are looking at providing affordable fares on these new routes for 6E travellers. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on time, hassle-free and always affordable flying experience”

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British Airways to launch London-Durban direct on October 29, 2018

British Airways has announced the introduction of the new direct route between London and Durban to a global audience attending Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban. This long awaited decision was announced by Sihle Zikalala, MEC–Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, KwaZulu Natal, to delegates at the event. The new route adds to the airline’s existing twice-daily flights between Johannesburg and London, and daily flights between Cape Town and London. “This new route adds to our growing number of international flights‚ connecting us to key destinations such as the Gulf region‚ the Middle East‚ the Indian subcontinent‚ Australia as well as Beijing‚ Shanghai‚ Tokyo and Seoul through the hub in Abu Dhabi. The trade opportunities presented by this direct flight between Durban and London is set to add huge value to our economy‚” Zikalala said. The route is a huge leap forward for the tourism sector, propelling foreign direct investment, improving business potential and ensuring the economic empowerment of South Africans.

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Pakyong Airport in Sikkim gets license

Pakyong Airport in Sikkim has got licence for scheduled operations, paving way for direct connectivity to Sikkim, which will boost tourism and economic growth in the norteastern state. Suresh Prabhu, Civil Aviation Minister announced the development via Twitter. “The Pakyong (Gangtok) Airport at Sikkim got license on May 4, 2018 for scheduled operations. It is an engineering marvel at a height of more than 4,500 ft in a tough terrain. It will pave a way for direct connectivity to the state of Sikkim, giving boost to tourism & economic growth”, Prabhu said. Pakyong airport, 30-km from the state capital of Gangtok, will be the 100th operational airport when it begins operations, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said. Low-cost airline SpiceJet has been granted permission to fly to Pakyong from Kolkata under the Civil aviation Ministry’s regional connectivity scheme.

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Jazeera Airways adds Mumbai to its growing India network

Forging ahead with the fourth destination in India after Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Kochi recently, Jazeera Airways will now fly to Mumbai starting May 9 to expand its growing network of Indian routes. Responding to the travel demands of its customers, the airline will provide strong connectivity through Kuwait on to 14 destinations across the Middle East. Jazeera Airways will operate daily flights to and from Mumbai starting May 9 departing 20:30 pm from Kuwait arriving 03.00am in Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Rohit Ramachandran, CEO, Jazeera Airways said, “Our network in India is developing well and is continuing to support the travel needs of over 920,000 Indians from Kuwait, as well as offering Indian citizens connectivity across the Middle East. With our increasing passenger numbers, Jazeera Airways is proud to open its own dedicated terminal at Kuwait International Airport in May. This is an exciting phase for the brand as it reiterates the long term commitment of honouring Jazeera’s support for the Vision 2035.”    

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