Category Archives: Aviation

Rajiv Bansal appointed as Air India CMD for 3 months

The government has appointed senior IAS officer Rajiv Bansal as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India for three months. Bansal, who is additional secretary and financial adviser at the petroleum ministry, will replace Ashwani Lohani-who has been appointed as the Chairman of Railway Board. A senior civil aviation ministry official reportedly said that Bansal has been appointed as Air India CMD for three months. Bansal is from the Nagaland cadre of 1988 batch and hails from Haryana. He is taking over as Air India CMD at a time when the government is working on the modalities for the disinvestment of the loss-making national carrier. He had served at the civil aviation ministry between 2006 and 2008. (Source: PTI)

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Cebu Pacific expands domestic route network  

The Philippines’ leading airline, Cebu Pacific has expanded its domestic route network and presence in Southeast Asia with the announcement of four new routes aimed at improving accessibility for travellers outside Metro Manila, but more so increasing connectivity within the region. Cebu Pacific announced it would begin operations of a thrice-a-week Kalibo-Clark flight (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) on October 30, 2017, linking Western Visayas, including the world-class Boracay Island, to tourists from North and Central Luzon, as well as foreigners via the Clark International Airport. The return Clark-Kalibo flight, on the other hand, begins on October 31, 2017 (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays). The carrier’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Cebgo, will boost its presence in Northern Mindanao, through the Cagayan de Oro (Laguindingan) Airport, with new inter-island connections. Starting October 20, 2017, Cebgo will fly from Cagayan de Oro to Boracay (Caticlan); and to Dumaguete three times a week. On top of these new domestic routes, Cebgo will also operate its first international route out of Zamboanga with four times weekly flights (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays) to Sandakan, Malaysia starting October 29, 2017. Cebgo is currently the only Philippine carrier with a direct service between the country and Sandakan. “Cebu Pacific is very pleased to continue being a travel enabler to every Juan as we further establish seamless connections not only within the archipelago, but to the rest of Southeast Asia. Sandakan has had centuries of trade and cultural linkage with the southern Philippines, and we are especially proud to put in place infrastructure to further enhance these ties. Now, the previous 14-hour travel by sea is cut down to just a 40-minute airplane ride,” said Alexander Lao, President and CEO, Cebgo.

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Over 17% growth in domestic airline passengers during Jan-Jul 2017 yoy

Passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-Jul 2017 were 657.21 lakhs as against 560.87 lakhs during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 17.18%. The passenger load factor in the month of July 2017 has shown declining trend compared to previous month primarily due to the end of tourist season. According to the On-Time Performance (OTP) of scheduled domestic airlines computed for four metro airports viz. Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, IndiGo led with 84.6% followed by Go Air at 78.2%, Vistara at 74.5 % and SpiceJet at 73.4%.

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Alliance Air to fly Tiruchi-Chennai from Aug 30

Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, is all set to start a new service from Tiruchi-Chennai from August 30, 2017. The 72-seater flight would take off from Chennai at 7:35 am and would reach Trichy at 8:35 am and would again leave Tiruchi at 9:05 am and land at 10:20 am in Chennai. Alliance Air will be operating ATR 600 type aircraft in the Chennai – Tiruchi – Chennai sector. Jet Airways is already operating daily services in the Chennai – Tiruchi – Chennai sector using ATR type aircrafts.

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SpiceJet launches Hyderabad-Puducherry flight under UDAN

  Puducherry Airport has reopened, with SpiceJet launching its third daily flight from there under the UDAN scheme, connecting Hyderabad with Puducherry. With this new flight, Puducherry will be connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Tirupati, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Vijaywada and Varanasi with convenient onward connections on the SpiceJet network. SpiceJet flight SG 1004 will depart from Hyderabad at 10 am and land in Puducherry at 11:20 am. The return flight, SG 1005, will depart at 11:40 am from Puducherry and land in Hyderabad at 1:30 pm. On the occasion of the flagging-off ceremony, Shilpa Bhatia, Senior VP, Commercial SpiceJet, said, “SpiceJet is proud to induct Puducherry on to its network. Seen as an education, healthcare and tourism hotspot of the country, Puducherry is also home to several big IT software and hardware giants and has seen remarkable growth in recent years. SpiceJet is excited to contribute to this growth story and our flights will help bring in more leisure and business traffic to the UT.”

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Excess baggage on domestic flights to cost more

Airlines are expected to hike their baggage charges as Delhi High Court has struck down the June 10, 2016 circular of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that capped charges for excess checked-in baggage at Rs 100 per kg for 15-20 kg on private flights. Airlines were earlier free to charge any amount as excess baggage charge beyond 20 kg but can now do so beyond 15 kg itself. SpiceJet has hiked its excess baggage pre-booking charges for domestic flyers with immediate effect. While passengers can check-in up to 15 kg without any extra charge, the airline will now charge Rs 1,425 for checking in anything between 15-20 kg, up from Rs 500 earlier. Similarly, SpiceJet’s pre-booking charges for the next slab of 20-30 kg is now Rs 2,850, up from Rs 2,000 earlier. The charges for the next slabs—30-45 kg, 45-65 kg and 65-95 kg—are now Rs 4,275, Rs 5,700 and Rs 8,550 respectively. The old charges used to be Rs 3,500, Rs 4,667 and Rs 8,000, respectively. SpiceJet passengers who do not pre-book excess baggage will have to pay Rs 300 per kg for beyond the allowed 15kg limit at airport counters. However, in Air India, economy class domestic flyers can check in up to 25 kg without any charge. “We welcome this change proposed by the Delhi High Court on the excess baggage fees. We will however evaluate this internally and see how this can be beneficial to both the guests as well as the airline, as we continue our endeavor to make flying affordable for all,” AirAsia India reportedly said in a statement. Source: Times of India

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Upgraded passenger terminal at Jammu Airport inaugurated

The upgraded passenger terminal building of Jammu Airport was inaugurated by Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir and P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Minister for Civil Aviation. Jammu Airport belongs to the Indian Air Force, Ministry of Defence and AAI maintains a Civil Enclave for civil aircraft operations. During the year 2016-17, passenger traffic movement at Jammu Airport reached 1.16 million and the passenger growth rate has touched 29 per cent in the first quarter of 2017-18. To cope with the increasing passenger growth and demand, expansion and upgradation of existing Terminal Building of Jammu Airport has been completed. The area of the terminal building is expanded from 6700 sq. mtrs. to 14,500 sq. mtrs. with an upgraded peak hour handling capacity of 720 passengers at a time, an increase from the existing 360 peak hour passengers. Also present at the occasion was Jayant Sinha, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation; Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region, PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space; Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh, Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir; Kavinder Gupta, Speaker of J&K Legislative Assembly; Shri Jugal Kishore Sharma, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and Shri Shamsher Singh Manhas, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) along with Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, Airports Authority of India. The upgraded passenger Terminal Building of Jammu Airport is a glass and steel structure and is equipped with Passenger facilities and amenities like CUTE-complied Check-in Counters, Common Use Self-Service (CUSS) kiosk for check-in, central air-conditioning, two arrival conveyer belts, escalators and glass elevators, flight information display system, pa system with comfortable seating capacity.

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Air India launches Delhi-Stockholm flight

Air India has launched its first non-stop flight, the Dreamliner B-787, to Stockholm, Sweden, from Delhi. The inaugural flight had an all-female crew on board. The Dreamliner will fly thrice a week, every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and leave Delhi at 14.50 hours and reach Stockholm at 18.40. The return flight will leave Stockholm at 20:40 hours and reach Delhi at 07:20 hours next day. According to an official statement, with an increase of passenger volume between India and Sweden by 50 per cent in three years, the direct flight is likely to further bolster the growing relationship between India and Sweden. The launch event on August 16, included lighting of lamp, cake and ribbon cutting ceremonies, was held at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi in the presence of Air India Chairman Ashwani Lohani and Chargé d’Affaires of Embassy of Sweden Gautam Bhattacharyya. The flying time of passengers will be reduced by at least 2 hours. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Air India said, “We are confident that Air India’s first foray to Scandinavia would add new dimensions to trade, commerce and tourism between the two countries – India & Sweden.”

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Vinay Dube joins Jet Airways as Chief Executive Officer

Vinay Dube  joins Jet Airways as its Chief Executive Officer after receipt of all requisite Government and regulatory approvals. Dube’s appointment was approved by the Jet Airways Board of Directors at their last meeting held on May 30, 2017. An accomplished industry leader and an aviation professional with close to three decades of global business experience, Dube has an established track record of leadership and business expansion at large, complex, multi-national organisations including varied roles at Delta Airlines Inc., Sabre, Inc., and American Airlines in the USA, Europe and Asia. In his last role as SVP-Asia Pacific for Delta Airlines Inc., he headed the region as Business Head with P&L responsibility and was also a Board Observer at China Eastern. During his tenure in Asia, Dube successfully led the turnaround of the Airline in the Asia Pacific markets, restructured the network, established strategic partnerships, worked extensively on brand-building and successfully brought about a transformation in the work culture of his teams. He has also held various Board-level positions throughout his career. Commenting on that appointment and subsequent approval by the Government as the airline’s CEO, Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways, said, “Vinay will lead the Executive Management Committee to deliver on our strategic objectives, at a time when the Indian Aviation market is poised to develop manifold going forward. In our recent past, we have made demonstrable progress towards achieving long-term goals. I am confident that under Vinay’s leadership, we will accelerate the momentum of turning around the company to higher growth and profits resulting in all-round benefits to our employees as well as to our shareholders, as well as deepen our relationship with our strategic partner Etihad Airways.”

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Hyderabad Airport introduces India’s first Express Security Check facility

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), which operates Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Hyderabad has announced that under the umbrella of GHIAL’s signature programme ‘Passenger is Prime’, and in collaboration with CISF, it has become the first airport in India to provide pre-embarkation security check right at the terminal’s entry gate. This will serve as ‘Express Security Check’ facility for domestic passengers travelling without any check-in baggage. Hyderabad Airport has earmarked a dedicated space at terminal entry point of departure level for the new ‘Express Security Check’ facility. The domestic passengers, after printing their boarding pass from the newly installed ‘self-service kiosks’ located conveniently at the departures forecourt area outside the terminal building, can now enter the Express Security Check lane without getting into the check-in area and head straight towards the boarding area. Currently, Hyderabad Airport handles more than 18,000 domestic departure passengers on daily basis, of which close to 40 per cent travel without any checked-in baggage, and carry at most only hand baggage. Recently the security check area at Hyderabad Airport was enhanced to offer over 40% more security lanes for domestic passengers. Additionally, a dedicated lane has also been earmarked for passengers with reduced mobility and airline crew members, helping them clear security check with minimum of hassles and waiting.

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