Category Archives: Aviation

India’s domestic air travel soars 23% in Jan

India’s domestic air travel soared 22.9 per cent in January compared to a year ago. Growth is being propelled by the comparatively strong domestic economy and increases in air services. The Indian market overtook both Australia and Japan during 2015 and is currently level with Russia at around 1.2 per cent of global revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs). The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for January 2016 showing demand (RPKs) rose 7.1% compared to January 2015. This was ahead of the 2015 full year growth rate of 6.5%. January capacity rose 5.6%, with the result that load factor rose 1.1 percentage points to 78.8%, the highest load factor ever recorded for the first month of the year. Domestic air travel rose 6.8 per cent in January year-on-year. Capacity rose 5.1 per cent and load factor was 78.9 per cent, up 1.3 per cent percentage points. “January maintained the strong traffic growth trend seen in 2015, showing the resilience of demand for connectivity despite recent turmoil in equity markets.The record load factor is a result of strong demand for our product and airlines making the most productive use of their assets. Underlying conditions point to another strong year for passenger traffic, with the latestdecline in oil prices likely providing additional stimulus for air travel growth,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. Domestic RPKs accounted for about 36% of the total market in 2015. It is most important for North American airlines as it is about 66% of their operations. In Latin America, domestic travel accounts for 46% of operations, primarily owing to the large Brazilian market. For Asia-Pacific carriers, the large markets in India, China …

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Air India’s longest all-women flight

Air India operated the longest all-women crew flight from New Delhi to San Francisco on March 6, to celebrate International Women’s Day. The “historic” New Delhi – San Francisco flight had 14 crew members and four pilots, all women. The flight left on March 6 and will return on March 8, reports PTI. Besides, the national carrier today said it would be operate over 20 all-women crew flights in domestic routes on March 8 to commemorate International Women’s Day. Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani had said that the flight to San Francisco on March 6 will be a symbol of “women empowerment”. “It will be a historic flight and the longest to be operated by all-women crew,” Lohani had said. The state-run airline has around 3,800 women workforce of the total 27,500 people with 20,500 of them regular. Duration of the flight would be more than 15 hours. According to him, the airline has immense respect for women and everyone associated with the flight, including pilots, engineers and those at the gate would be women. Every year, Air India operates all-women flights to celebrate the international women’s day.

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Civil Aviation Minister reviews Budget 2016-17

The Minister of Civil Aviation Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju welcomed the budget provisions aimed at reviving the unserved and under-served airports in the country for increasing regional connectivity. The Union Budget 2016 provides that the Central Government will partner with the State Governments to develop some of these airports and airstrips in the country. The Minister shared the action plan for revival of such airports. In the financial year 2015-16, Airport Authority of India (AAI) proposes to revive 10 non-operational airports. These airports are initially unviable and would require budgetary support from the Government. He said that Service Tax exemption under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana will enable, firstly, training providers to set up training institutes across the country. Secondly, it will attract youth for cargo and ground handling from rural areas of the country. Exemptions for assessing bodies empanelled centrally by Directorate General of Training will also promote setting up of training institutes and attracting youth towards civil aviation sectors. About the increase of Excise Duty on Air Turbine Fuel from 8% to 14% the Minister said that the decrease in ATF base price over the last 13 months is around 25.04%. The increase in ATF prices due to increase in excise duty from 8% to 14% comes to around 6.56%. He said that the Budget 2016-17 has paved the way for developing India as a Maintenance, Repair and Overhauling (MRO) hub of Asia.

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Jet moves domestic ops in Mumbai to T2

Following in the footsteps of Air India, Jet Airways will also relocate its domestic operations to the Terminal 2 at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) from March 15, 2016. This will lead to the integration of domestic and international flight operations at one terminal. Flight 9W 484 from Mumbai to Kolkata departing at 02:25 hrs will be the first Jet Airways domestic flight to operate from T2 on March 15, 2016. The first arriving flight will be 9W 628 at 00:10 hrs from Kolkata. Gaurang Shetty, Sr. Vice President – Commercial, Jet Airways, said, “The integration of domestic and international operations at Mumbai’s Terminal 2 will enable Jet Airways to transform Mumbai into a critical international transit hub.”

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Thai Airways adds another flight on Delhi-Bangkok route

Starting April 1, Thai Airways will operate additional daylight flight TG324-TG323, on the Delhi-Bangkok route, increasing frequency to 19 flights a week from 18 flights previously. The price for this flight starts from Rs 12,437++. The new day flight will offer greater options to passengers travelling to Australia and Auckland. The late night flight, TG316 will operate with aircraft type 773 offering capacity of 34 seats in Business and 330 seats in economy, early morning flight TG332 will operate with aircraft type 787 offering capacity of 24 seats in business and 240 seats in Economy and day light flight TG 324 will operate with 777-200 offering capacity of 30 seats in business and 279 seats in Economy.  Total capacity per week will be 5941 seats from Delhi. THAI is currently operating from 6 cities in India i.e. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Banglaore offering 52 flights a week. The airline also operates seasonal flights from Gaya and Varanasi between October-March. “It is our endeavour to ensure that our passengers enjoy a comfortable and happy journey on Thai, we are constantly working to improve our service as per changing demands and customer’s expectations, from upgrading aircrafts to world class ground services at Suvarnbhumi airport, changing F&B options as per service route requirements, entertainment and shopping on board; convenience of web purchase and online services, THAI is dedicated to customer satisfaction,” said Viset Sontichai, Director Thai Airways for India Subcontinent.

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IndiGo links Dehradun to 4 cities

IndiGo has launched three new daily non-stop flights on the Delhi–Dehradun route, and will further connect Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad as a one stop flight. Fares for Delhi to Dehradun flight is Rs 1,126, while Mumbai to Dehradun via Delhi would cost Rs 4,069, Bengaluru to Dehradun via Delhi fare is Rs 5,078, Hyderabad to Dehradun via Delhi is Rs 4,253. Dehradun is not IndiGo’s 35th domestic and 40th overall destination. The airport at Dehradun, the state capital of Uttrakhand, also serves as the gateway to nearby cities of Mussoorie, Haridwar and Rishikesh. The airline has also connected Chennai to Bengaluru and Kolkata to Jaipur with its third flight, while also commencing additional daily non-stop flights between Kolkata and Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai, Delhi and Bengaluru, Delhi and Chennai, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram & Pune and Thiruvananthapuram. In addition, IndiGo will also connect Jaipur to Hyderabad with the launch of its second daily non-stop flight, with effect from March 15, 2016. Fares for Chennai to Bengaluru flight is Rs 1,674, Kolkata to Delhi Rs 4,036, Hyderabad to Chennai Rs 2,129, and Delhi to Chennai Rs 3,633.

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Delhi-Muscat on Jet Airways from Mar 21

With effect from March 21, 2016, Jet Airways will launch a new daily flight between Delhi and Muscat, Oman, at fares starting Rs 15, 782. The addition of this new flight from the airline’s strategic hub in Delhi will further strengthen the airline’s growing international network and enhance flight connectivity from Northern India, SAARC and ASEAN and to the Gulf region. India and Oman are linked by historical maritime trade linkages and the important role of the Indian expatriate community in the development of Oman. With the launch of the new flight, Jet Airways will operate a total of four daily flights between India and Muscat. This includes flights from Mumbai, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. Gaurang Shetty, Senior Vice-President, Commercial, Jet Airways, said, “It is indeed a proud moment for us at Jet Airways to launch our maiden international flight between Delhi and Muscat. This is a significant milestone for enhancing the strong ties between India and the Sultanate of Oman. With the launch of this flight, Jet Airways guests from Northern India, SAARC and ASEAN regions will have the option of travelling to Oman via Delhi.” The airline will deploy a Boeing 737-800 aircraft on these new services, offering Premiere and Economy guests an in-flight product that is among the best in its class, warm service, as well as delectable cuisine and convenient schedules.

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Minimal focus on aviation

Expressing disatisfaction over the Budget ’16, Conrad Clifford, Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific, International Air Transport Association (IATA), said, “The budget had a minimal focus on aviation. We hope the government will do a better job with the National Civil Aviation Policy. While the NCAP is a step in the right direction, there are areas of concern, especially where it adds costs to the industry or where it deviates from well-established global standards. We hope the government will address three priority areas – retract the 2 per cent Regional Connectivity Fund levy, abandon the plan to auction traffic rights, and allow AERA to perform its functions independently by not enshrining any ‘Till’ for airport charges in the Policy document.”

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Lack of clarity on funding, taxation

Reacting to the Budget, Jayant Nadkarni, President, Business Aircraft Operators Association, said, Developing new airports is always good. But we already have many airports without much connectivity. For operations to commence, we need clarity on funding, taxation, duties, and incentives. These are yet to come together for the small aircraft sector in business aviation and in scheduled commuter flights to remote areas. The potential for growth clearly exists.

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Jet and Korean Air enter codeshare

Jet Airways and Korean Air have entered into a codeshare agreement and a reciprocal frequent flyer programme. The partnership would allow guests travelling on both Jet Airways and Korean Air to connect from multiple points in India to Seoul over various gateway points in Asia. Under the codeshare arrangement, Jet Airways will place its marketing code on Korean Air operated non-stop flight between Incheon, Seoul and Mumbai, as well as flights between Incheon, Seoul and Bangkok and Singapore. Likewise, Korean Air will place its marketing code on Jet Airways’ operations between Singapore and Mumbai and between Bangkok and Mumbai and Delhi.

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