Category Archives: Aviation

IndiGo’s first daily non-stop flight from Chennai to Muscat

IndiGo has introduced a new flight connecting Chennai with Muscat, effective December 15, 2016. IndiGo will be offering introductory fare of Rs 7999, all-inclusive one way from Chennai. The introduction of the new daily service will further strengthen IndiGo’s presence in the Gulf with 16 daily flights, catering to the large number of Indians in the Gulf. The new service from the city will complement the airline’s existing daily Gulf operations to Muscat and Dubai from several cities in India. Elaborating on the new flight launch, Aditya Ghosh, President and Whole Time Director, IndiGo said, “We are absolutely delighted to announce the new daily and direct flight between India and Oman, and specifically, between Chennai and Muscat. It is an indication of the strong demand on this sector. IndiGo has established itself as a prestigious brand on account of the warmth of its service and quality of its in-flight product and we are confident that this daily service would also prove equally popular with our flyers. Expanding operations on these routes are in line with our growth strategy outlined for Oman.”

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Air fare likely to go up as regional air connectivity scheme unveiled

Air fares will be capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights on unserved and under-served routes and flyers will have to shell out more as air fares are likely to increase as per the government’s ambitious Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). The RCS, unveiled on Nov 11, was mooted in the New Civil Aviation Policy as part of the government’s plan to serve smaller cities, has been put up for stakeholders’ consultations including state governments, airlines and airport operators. It will target 90 airports. The stakeholders have been given three weeks time to submit their comments and suggestions on the draft scheme, which is expected to be finalised by August. Also as part of the proposed scheme, a new category of airlines, scheduled commuter airlines, is being created where a new operator may be allowed to start operations with just one plane. Under the proposed scheme, the government would be providing Viability Gap Funding (VGF) – which would be financed through Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF). Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju while unveiling the draft policy said RCF would be created for funding RCS “through levy on certain flights.” In this regard, the government would be charging a levy in the form of per domestic departure from the airlines on certain routes, a move which is expected to push the airfares marginally higher. The Ministry would contribute 80 per cent of the VGF, while respective state governments would chip in with the remaining 20 per cent to the fund which will have a corpus of Rs 500 crore each year. When asked how much levy is likely to be charged, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said, “We are giving …

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GMR Airports to develop & operate Greenfield airport at Mopa

GMR Airports Limited (GAL), a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Limited, signed the Concession Agreement with Goa Government for the development and operation of north Goa’s Greenfield International Airport at Mopa. The agreement is signed by R.V. Sheshan, CEO, GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL) and R.K. Srivastava, Chief Secretary, Government of Goa in the presence of Laxmikant Yashwant Parsekar, Goa Chief Minister, Srinivas Bommidala, Chairman-Airports, GMR Group and other dignitaries. As per the concession agreement, GMR will design, build, finance and operate the international airport for 40 years with extension option for another 20 years. The construction period for the first phase of the project is three years from the date of financial closure and is expected to be operational by mid of 2020. Srinivas Bommidala, Chairman-Airports, GMR Group, said, “We are excited about the project and the opportunity to partner with the Government of Goa. GMR Group has already delivered landmark airport assets for the Country. Delhi International Airport which is the ‘Gateway of India’ today ranks as the Number One Airport in the World in its category. This has brought tremendous pride to the Country and all Indians. Worldwide airports have been the economic engine of the Country/Region, and Delhi Airport has tremendously boosted not only the India’s economy but also the Delhi State economy. GMR Group very humbly takes pride in being the custodians of these national assets thus contributing towards our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of developing a progressive India.

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Bangalore International Airport to undergo runway upgrade

The runway of Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) will be upgraded in a phased manner in certain parts, involving closure of the runway, and in other parts, partial closure of facilities without any impact on airport operations. The closure will be applicable between 10.30 am to 5.00 pm from February 19-April 30, 2017. The balance activities will be carried out subsequently, with minimal impact on airport operations. In early February the runway will be closed for the rehearsals and show timings for the Aero India 2017. The closure of the runway for the upgradation work has been planned and aligned to this so as to commence work during this period. These works have been necessitated in order to support the growing air traffic at the Bengaluru Airport. The runway upgradation will include building of two Rapid Exit Taxiways (RET) to increase runway capacity. Currently, the runway has the capability of handling 38 air traffic movements (ATM) per hour, the additional RETs could increase the ATM capacity to 48 per hour. In order to enhance the capacity of the runway, BIAL has decided to go ahead with the building of two Rapid Exit Taxiways during the above period, so as to complete the activity before the onset of monsoons in May. This decision has been arrived at in consultation with all its key stakeholders including Domestic & International Airlines, Air Traffic Control and the Minister of Civil Aviation (MoCA).

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Emirates passengers can apply for UAE visa from mobiles

Emirates Airline customers flying to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can now apply for a visa using their mobile devices. In a first-of-its-kind initiative in visa application, applicants anywhere in the world can use the mobile app, launched by Dubai Visa Processing Centre (DVPC), to complete the entire visa application process for UAE visa using mobile devices. The transactional app involves one-time profile creation, and allows data and document upload, payment and service delivery. Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, VP (India & Nepal), Emirates, said, “The launch of the mobile app will allow our customers in India an even more convenient way to apply and complete their entire visa process through their phones. At Emirates, we are always looking for initiatives to enhance our customers’ experience online.” Vinay Malhotra, COO-South Asia and DVPC, VFS Global, added, “We are in a constantly evolving environment in terms of developing best-in-class technologies, and with this app, we aim to deliver exceptional levels of service and enhanced convenience for travellers. The DVPC mobile app will serve as a one-stop shop for UAE visa applicants, offering users an end-to-end platform for UAE visa applications.” Smartphone and tablet users can download the free DVPC mobile App from Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. Customised versions of the app are available for iOS and Android devices. Through the app, passengers can apply for the 96-hours, 30-days or 90-days single entry visas, based on their Emirates itinerary. Customers may apply up to 4 international working days in advance of their Emirates flight departure date.

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Air Seychelles adds capacity to Mumbai

Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has announced a major fleet and network expansion in Europe and the Indian Ocean in 2017. This will see the airline introduce a second Airbus A330 aircraft, commence non-stop services to Düsseldorf, Durban, and increase its existing network to Mumbai. Roy Kinnear, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, said, “The addition of a second wide-body A330 to our fleet is set to open up significant growth opportunities, enabling Air Seychelles to extend its network footprint in Europe and the Indian Ocean region. In addition to flying to Europe, the Airbus A330 will be used to increase capacity on the airline’s five-per-week regional services to Mumbai, Johannesburg and Mauritius which are currently operated on a narrow-body A320. The introduction of a second wide body A330 will facilitate the upgrading of capacity on Mumbai on Saturdays, Johannesburg on Thursdays and Saturdays, and Mauritius on Sundays, increasing the combined seat capacity on these routes by 23 per cent. This development will allow Air Seychelles to allocate an Airbus A320 to launch flights to Durban, the second point served by Air Seychelles in South Africa, offering 14,171 seats to and from Seychelles each year as well as quick connections over Seychelles to Düsseldorf and Mumbai.”

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India records double digit growth in domestic passenger demand in Sept

India and China continued to register double-digit growth in domestic passenger demand in September 2016, according to International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) global passenger traffic report. The results showed that global demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) grew 7 per cent compared to the same month in 2015. This was the strongest year-over-year increase in seven months. Capacity climbed 6.6 per cent and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage points to 81.1 per cent. Growth in domestic traffic slightly outpaced growth in international traffic. Domestic passenger demand climbed 7.2 per cent in September as compared to September2015, which was up from the 4.1 per cent year-on-year growth recorded in August. International RPKs climbed 6.9 per cent with airlines in all regions recording growth compared to 2015. Total capacity climbed 7.2 per cent, causing load factor to slide 0.2percentage points to 80.4 per cent. “September’s growth in passenger demand was healthy. Importantly, this rebound from August weakness suggests that travel demand is showing its resilience in the aftermath of terror attacks. We must, of course, be ever-alert to the ongoing terror threat. And overall the industry is still vulnerable to being buffeted by rising geopolitical tensions, protectionist political agendas, and weak economic fundamentals. This will still be a good year for the airline industry’s performance, but our profitability will continue to be hard-won,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and Chief Executive Officer, IATA.

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Mega Maldives to start Delhi-Male flight from Nov 15

Mega Maldives Airlines, is all set to start its thrice a week flight between Delhi and Male on November 15.  The airline has introduced an inaugural offer for this flight at a price of Rs 22,990 for the round trip. “We are thrilled with the positive response both in India and in Maldives to our new services to India. The resort and hospitality community of Maldives is clearly throwing open their doors to an excited and dynamic Indian market,” said George Weinmann, founder and Chief Executive Office, Mega Maldives Airline. “The Maldives is consistently ranked among the world’s best tourist destinations. It is also increasingly popular with Indian tourists with over 52,000 guests arriving in 2015, and growing at almost 20% per year in recent years.” As the first non-stop service between the two capital cities, Mega Maldives Airlines provides significant advantages to what is available in the market. At a journey time of just 3Hrs 40Min (outbound) and 4Hrs and 20Min (Inbound), this is the fastest and only non-stop connection between the two cities, cutting journey times on other existing flight options by between 2-8 hours.

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Etihad Airways launches new android mobile App

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has extended its digital reach with the introduction of a new mobile application for Android smartphones, enabling guests to manage their journeys with even greater ease. The new mobile app provides comprehensive trip management and giving guests the information they need in a way that suits them. Guests can now organise their journeys directly on the app, which includes booking flights, checking in for flights, securing a mobile boarding pass, checking flight status, or viewing their Etihad Guest miles balance. Additional key features include a simple flight search function, a credit card scanner for payments, a passport scan facility to check in, and improved flight seat maps. Justin Warby, Vice President of Direct Sales for Etihad Airways, said: “This is a step forward in our innovation strategy to enable a convenient, more personalised digital travel experience.  Our guests are central to how we develop these services, and their feedback has been important in the creation of this latest app. Technological innovation will be vital in the development of our industry, and as a leading airline, we want to be able to provide services that make travel simple for everyone.” The airline recently launched an iOS application for iPhones, and partnered with Abu Dhabi Airports to enable guests to navigate their way around Abu Dhabi International Airport using indoor maps. This was a first for the Middle East and there have been over 350,000 downloads from the App Store since it launched in April of this year. The app has also delivered over 25,000 bookings and 130,000 check ins.

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DXB records 10% growth in Indian passengers during Jan-Sept

Dubai Airports welcomed 8.5 million Indian passengers during January-September, 2016. The total number of Indian passengers who travelled to Dubai (including transit passengers) in 2015 was 10.5 million. Lorne Riley, Director Corporate Communications, Communications and Business Development, Dubai Airports, says, “India is the largest source market for Dubai. Traffic from India till September has been recorded at 8.5 million but we will surpass the total traffic from last year by the end of 2016 and the total growth rate right now is 10 per cent between Dubai and India.” On an average 79 daily flights or 550 flights per week are operated between India and Dubai, informed Riley. He added, “Despite the capacity constraints, Indian airlines as a group are the fastest growing airlines that we have operating into Dubai International. Over the past 12 months, (November 2015 to November 2016) we have seen a 35 per cent increase in seats and 29 per cent increase in number of flights between India and Dubai.” Riley believes that by the end of 2020 Dubai International Airport will not only be the number one airport for international passenger traffic but also for total number of passenger traffic.

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