Category Archives: Aviation

SWISS celebrates 10 years of Delhi-Zurich route

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), part of the Lufthansa Group, completed 10 years of operations on the Delhi – Zurich route. To celebrate this milestone, SWISS hosted a special walk titled ‘The Delhi Seductress’ featuring Mehrauli Archeological Park on December 17, 2017. The walk explored the by-lanes of Mehrauli, its multi-faceted history and architecture through visits to mausoleums, step wells as well as several other structures modified during its history. SWISS and experts from Darwesh – a travel and culture studio jointly led the event. Paurus Nekoo, General Manager Sales, India, Lufthansa Group, on behalf of SWISS said, “We are proud to add another milestone to our history with India. As an airline deeply rooted in tradition and culture, we are delighted to celebrate this occasion with a unique activity that pays tribute to Delhi’s rich cultural heritage.” Nekoo adds, “India is a key market for SWISS and over the years, we have constantly innovated to elevate travel experience for passengers to and from India. From special meals, Indian flight attendants to Bollywood movies onboard, we are committed to deepen our connect with our customers by extending the very best of Swiss warmth and hospitality onboard.”

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Ethiopian Airlines to launch flights to Buenos Aires

Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it has finalised preparations to start five weekly flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina from March 8, 2018. The flights will be operated on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. This will be Ethiopian Airlines sixth gateway to the Americas and will help provide efficient connections to its network in Asia, Middle East, Africa. Tadesse Tilahun, Regional Director – India Sub Continent, Ethiopian Airlines, said, “The new flight services will be operated five times a week with Dreamliner 787 aircraft. This will be the shortest connection from India to Argentina connecting the three continents in the shortest possible time. To promote the new destination, we are offering attractive promotional Business and Economy class fares which will be valid for the coming three months. We are also on the final process of approving additional commission and incentives for travel agents as well.” Set to launch on International Women’s Day, the inaugural flight will be an all-women operated flight marking the airlines’ commitment of mainstreaming gender into its core business.

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Singapore Airlines, Silkair to codeshare on Scoot flights

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir have signed a codeshare agreement on the group’s low-cost subsidiary Scoot flights that will give their customers access to more than 130 destinations across the SIA Group network. Under the agreement, SIA will progressively add its ‘SQ’ designator code while SilkAir will add its ‘MI’ code to Scoot-operated flights between Singapore and more than 30 destinations served only by Scoot within the SIA Group. The codeshare arrangements will begin with Scoot flights serving Athens, Clark, Gold Coast, Hat Yai, Ipoh, Krabi, Kuching and Palembang. The new agreement will enable SIA and SilkAir customers to travel on single-ticket itineraries to these codeshare destinations, which means that their boarding passes and baggage tags will be issued up to their final destination at the first point of check-in. Tickets will be progressively made available through the various booking channels.

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ICRA expects improved yields in Indian aviation in 2018

Healthy passenger load factors (PLFs) supported by a decline in competitive intensity due to moderation in capacity addition and suspension of operations of three regional airlines has augured well for the industry profitability. This coupled with a gradual improvement in the core growth drivers like economic environment, tourism demand and regulatory support and a strong demand during the peak season is expected to support the industry profitability during H2 FY2018. Improved tourism demand, policy measures like the National Civil Aviation Policy and the Regional Connectivity Scheme and start of economic revival are the key positives for the industry. However, inadequate aviation infrastructure, which has constrained the performance of airlines, remains a bottleneck. According to Kinjal Shah, Assistant Vice President & Co-Head – Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA, “The industry has done well to mitigate the impact of 8.7 per cent YOY increase in ATF prices during H1 FY2018. The increased ability of the airlines to pass on the costs to the customers due to reduced competitive intensity has resulted in an increase in the revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK)-cost per available seat kilometer (CASK) spread for the airlines, and the financial performance of most of the airlines improved during the current year.”

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Unfortunate move to slash basic agents’ commission: Rajan Sehgal

Calling it an unfortunate decision, Rajan Sehgal, Member—Managing Committee, TAAI, says, “The travel agents drive bulk business for the airlines and cutting commission is like cutting the long arm of the airline. It is very unfortunate that Jet Airways has announced to slash the basic commission given to travel agents. We will be meeting representatives from Jet Airways next week to have detailed discussions on the matter. We have taken the opinion of our members and will put the issues forward.”

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A sad move as agents generate bulk sales: Rajat Sawhney

Rajat Sawhney, Vice President, ADTOI, says, “It’s a worldwide strategy where all the airlines are aiming at zero per cent commission to agents and Jet Airways has followed suit. It is sad and unfortunate that though bulk of the sales is generated through travel agents, there is no incentive for them to sell their products. This is probably a unique example in business where channel partners are not given any incentive to sell their products. It is high time that agents act as advisors and sell experiences. They should sell packages under their own brand name and offer bundled products with hotels, airlines tickets, transfers, visa, sightseeing and F&B etc. The agents should discourage the selling of stand-alone products which anyway would not fetch them any revenue.”

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Maintain web parity to ensure level playing field for all: Jyoti Mayal

Opposing the move, Jyoti Mayal, Honorary Secretary General, TAAI, said, “We, as TAAI, are against the move that Jet Airways has slashed the one per cent commission for the agents effective January 1, 2018. Regarding the transaction fee, we are requesting them that they fix the rate of this transaction fee between 3.5-5 per cent for everyone and also maintain web parity so that there is a level playing field for everyone. We are meeting Jet Airways in a couple of days to take this further and also discuss procedural changes related to the same and are hopeful that Jet airways will understand our thought process and support our fraternity.”

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Airlines directly approaching customers, ignoring agents: Chitra Bhatia

Slamming Jet Airways’ move to scrap agents’ commission, Chitra Bhatia, Gen. Secretary, OTOAI, said, “I don’t think one per cent commission for agents was a big deal for the airline. Airlines need to continue the commission and partner with travel agents. Commission is a bond between the agent and the airline which should not be discontinued. Airlines are now going directly to the customer, and ignoring the agents in between. However, it is important for both the parties to work together.”

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Jet Airways scraps agents’ commission

Jet Airways is the latest airline to do away with the basic commission for IATA travel agents. The airline has sent official communication to travel agents across the country that they will not be paying them one per cent basic commission from January 1, 2018. The move comes in line with many international airlines also adopting the same route. Confirming the news, a senior airline official said that while the commission will not be there, agents can levy transaction fee of up to 3.5 per cent of the basic fare. They can also include fuel surcharge component in tickets. However, the news has aggrieved the agents, who believe that the move is not fair and the airline needs to relook at its decision.

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Ethiopian Airlines’ mobile application goes live

Ethiopian Airlines and SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline has launched a brand new mobile application, which encompasses mobile features to enhance customers’ travel experience with simplified options for flight booking and management. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines, remarks, “In the age of “the internet of things” and Artificial Intelligence, I am happy that our ‘mobility’ project is fast advancing which enabled us to announce to our esteemed customers that Ethiopian Mobile Application has gone live. The application is a critical piece of our overall strategy to bring our customers’ travel experience to another level by leveraging on information and communication technology. With this new application, customers will be able to use their mobile devices to book their flights, do their flight check-in, issue their boarding pass and self-board their flights, check the status of flight, get actual arrival and departure times of ET flights and remain informed throughout their journey in real-time.” Ethiopian customers will enjoy 10 per cent discount on all bookings made through the new mobile app.

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