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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Worst Civil Aviation Administration is Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had earlier this year downgraded Indian Aviation safety ranking. 

The downgraded Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) may soon be headless too. The Central government is learnt to have decided to repatriate current director-general, IAS officer Prabhat Kumar, to his parent UP cadre. In his place, Aviation ministry additional secretary and financial advisor M Sathiyavathy may be given additional charge as DGCA.

The Cabinet committee of appointments is learnt to have cleared the move late on Tuesday evening. However, the same could not be confirmed from the Aviation ministry till the time of going to press.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had earlier this year downgraded Indian Aviation safety ranking. The FAA just finished a review of the DGCA and is likely to decide by mid-February if India should get back its safety ranking.

Kumar had completed his central deputation period and was slated to be sent back to UP. However, a change at guard at DGCA at a time when India is expecting to get back its Aviation safety ranking has surprised some.

The FAA decision is expected in a few weeks. Based on FAA findings, the required steps to strengthen our shamefully weak regulatory system were being taken. Kumar was going to be repatriated for sure as he had completed his central deputation but we expected this to happen after the mid-February FAA decision," said a source. Kumar had taken over as DGCA last January.
Also, senior DGCA officers are learnt to be upset at being overlooked for the top job in the regulatory agency. The FAA downgrade has dealt a severe blow to Indian Aviation. Indian carriers Flying to US cannot add any more Flights or new destinations there. United, a leading American carrier, cannot have code share with fellow Star Alliance member Air India as the latter is from a country with downgraded ranking. Aircraft of both Indian carriers and charter companies face increased checks and surveillance at foreign Airports.
The change at DGCA comes at a time when a number of key Aviation agencies are either looking for new chiefs or being looked after part time by the second in command. The Airports Authority of India and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security are awaiting full time heads. The government is looking for a new Air India chairman as current chief Rohit Nandan has completed his tenure and is currently on extension here. Now, DGCA may also join the long list of headless Aviation agencies.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Defunct Kingfisher Airlines"s Air Operator Permit expiring on December 31, All doors are finally going to be shut on the now

Defunct Kingfisher Airlines"s Air Operator Permit expiring on December 31, All doors are finally going to be shut on the now 


With its two-year term to renew the Air Operator Permit expiring on December 31, all doors are finally going to be shut on the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
The Dr Vijay Mallya promoted full service carrier has been grounded since October 2013, having lost its Flying license on December 31, 2013 following refusal by the Civil Aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to renew it after the Airline management fairled to come up with a “satisfactory” plan of operations.

The Airline, however, was given a two-year time limit to get its licence renewed, which expires on December 31, 2014. “Kingfisher Airlines’ AOP will finally lapse on December 31, which means the company will have to apply afresh for Flying permit, if it wants to Fly agAirn,” a senior DGCA official .

Securing a fresh AOP involves a number of regulatory approvals from DGCA, no-objection certificates from civil aviation and other ministries, security clearances for the top management team of the proposed Airline from home ministry as well as comments and suggestions from various stake holders.

It is a co-incidence that Kingfisher Airlines’ AOP will lapse in the same month when Tata Group and Singapore Airline’s joint venture, Vistara, a full service carrier, secured its scheduled operator permit.

According to sources, Kingfisher still has 2,000 employees on its roll, including former staffers who quit the Airline during this period, who have not got their salaries since September 2012.

SBI held back Rs 7.5 cr to United Bank : Airline to HC Kingfisher Airlines (Kingfisher Airlines ) has told the Calcutta High Court, in the course of hearings on the wilful defaulter case, that State Bank of India (SBI) held back Rs 7.5 crore to United Bank of India. However, the court pointed out that SBI had informed Kingfisher that the balance in its account was not sufficient for the requested transfer of funds.

Kingfisher Airlines  owes about Rs 10,000 crore to a consortium of 16 Banks.

Arguing on behalf of Kingfisher Airlines , senior advocate S Pal told the court that SBI, which was operating the trust retention account, did not forward INR 8 Crore to United Bank of India as repayments from the Airline.
The intended repayment was for an overdraft granted to the company by the bank when Kingfisher Airlines  faced a threat of suspension by International Air Transport Association.
However, Justice Debangsu Basak pointed in his judgement on December 24 that Kingfisher wrote a letter to SBI requesting it to transfer the rupee equivalent of $52,27,588 to United Bank from funds coming into the trust retention account.
SBI, by its letter dated January 10, 2012 informed the Airline that, the balance in the account was not sufficient for the requested transfer of funds and had assured that it will make payment as and when money is received into the account.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Another AirAsia AirBus A320 Flight No QZ 8501 with 2 Pilots and 5 Cabin Crew and 155 Pax, Total 162 On Board Missing on 28 Dec 2014

Captain : Capt Iriyanto
First Officer : Capt Remi Emmanual  
Carrier : AirAsia AirBus A320 
Flight No : QZ 8501 
Pax  : 162
Missing Date : 28 Dec 2014
From : Surabaya in Indonesia 
To  :  Singapore

AirAsia A 320 Jet is missing on way to Singapore AirAsia AirBus A320 Flight Q Z 8501 with 162 Pax, 2 Pilots and 5 Cabin Crew Missing on 28 Dec 2014 Flight started in Indonesia The search is on for AirAsia Flight 8501, which lost contact with Air traffic control in Indonesia, the Airline said Sunday.
Flight QZ 8501 from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with Air traffic control at 7:00 am. Sunday (7:20 pm Saturday ET), AirAsia said
"At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all parties informed as more information becomes available," AirAsia said in a statement.
The A 320 Air Plane took off with 155 passengers and 7 Crew on board, the news agency Reuters reported, citing Indonesian transport officials.
The Flight, an Airbus A320-200, was on its way from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore, according to the Airline's website.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bleeding Airlines on the verge of collapse

Aviation industry grows but Bleeding Airlines on the verge of collapse

This single stat sums up the state of India’s Aviation sector : of the seven domestic Airlines operating in this country, only one – Indigo – is profitable.

Worse, two others, Air India and SpiceJet, are in the sick bay – the former kept alive by injecting bucketloads of public money and the latter by a short-term government bailout as it awaits an investor to pump in cash. 

What went wrong with Jet Airways

How Indigo is managing to buck the trend

The combined losses of all carriers over the last seven years add up to more than Rs. 60,000 crore. And the future doesn’t look very rosy: analysts estimate that heavy losses will continue.

But the industry has some factors that could be extremely positive. It is growing at 10% — making it one of the fastest growing sectors in India — and demand is rising. The number of passengers this year (January-November) has risen to 60 million from 56 million a year ago.

Then, two new Airlines – Air Asia India and Air Costa – have started operations since October 2013 and a third, Vistara (a joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines) will begin operations on January 9.

The government is aware of the crisis. A confidential note prepared by the Aviation ministry says SpiceJet isn’t the only Airline that is in a precarious financial condition. If urgent steps are not taken, other Airlines may also go down the same slippery slope.

“Airlines, other than IndiGo will require $1.5 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) of funding this year just to sustain their business models. The prospects for further direct investment in Airlines remains very uncertain in the current climate,” said a recent report by Aviation consultancy CAPA.

India will become third largest Aviation market in the world within five years, according to the Aviation ministry. But several factors have pushed the sector on to the back foot.

The primary issue is the high cost of Aviation turbine fuel (ATF), which account for more than 40% of an Indian Airline’s operating expenses. On average, ATF costs 60% more in India than in other countries.

“ATF prices in India is really hurting Indian Aviation and challenging the very viability of several Airlines,” SpiceJet COO Sanjiv Kapoor recently wrote the Aviation ministry.

Then, Airport charges – landing and parking fees – are also among the highest in the world. These put massive pressure on the profitability. “The government can easily step in and sort out these issues. We’ve made representations to the Aviation ministry and have been assured that the authorities will take our views into consideration,” said the CEO of Airline on condition of anonymity.

“We are running through a lot of turbulent weather... not only the public sector, private sector is also crashing. (With) Kingfisher crashing and, right now, SpiceJet seems to be giving us heart attacks as far as Airlines are concerned,” Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had said recently.

Airlines in India are also expected to double their fleet from about 400 at present to 800 by 2020. Given the high interest rates in the country, this will further burden the industry, which operates on wafer thin margins, and threatens to draw the industry deeper into a debt trap.

“Government policies are such that Air travel is still considered a luxury,” said Rajji Rai, chAirman, Swift Travels, one of India’s largest travel agencies.

“Lower ATF prices and a reduction in sales tax to 4% (as high as 30% in some states) will give the sector a big boost and could be a game changer,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of CAPA.

“Indian Aviation needs a 10-year tax holiday, the 5/20 rule (that mandates that only Airlines that have been in operation for five years and have a fleet of 20 planes can fly abroad) should be abolished and Air India should to be auctioned off at the earliest. Otherwise, Aviation hubs such as Dubai and Singapore, which have populations less than that of South Delhi will continue to cock a snook at us,” Dubey added

Er Jigna Shah  [BE, MBA] 
Sub Editor 

SpiceJet's woes continue: AAI extends credit facility for 15 days until 31 December

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Low Cost SpiceJet Airlines Ltd has said it may have to Shut Down Operations

In an early morning Monday email to employees, cash-strapped Budget Airline Low Cost SpiceJet Airlines Ltd has said it may have to shut down operations.

The Airline was given time till Monday to release pending salaries of employees and a schedule on how it plans to pay vendor dues of about INR 1,500 Crore by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). “COO has a very crucial meeting with the ministry of civil aviation today.

The meeting may effectively determine the future of our company,” said Sandeep Varma, senior vice-president and head of Flight Operations.

Low Cost SpiceJet Airlines said in the mail to all the pilots, “If all goes well, then we can expect to continue operations smoothly and as planned.” Low Cost SpiceJet Airlines COO Sanjiv Kapoor will be meeting ministry and DGCA officials on Monday.

To an email sent, Kapoor did not offer any comment immediately for the story.

If for any reason, all does not go well, then you should expect the following.

You will get a phone call from a senior management Pilot from the head office (either from roster cell phone or landline). He will brief you in detail as to the situation and the necessary further action. Please do exactly as briefed,” Varma said adding, “Depending on the nature of the future action, we will stay in constant communication with you and support you.

All Low Cost SpiceJet Airlines staff will also be in communication and support of you at that time.” The money-losing Airline has cancelled over 1,750 Flights in a month as it shrinks its fleet and shrunk from 60 Aircraft to nearly 35. It has a 15% Domestic Market share.

All Low Cost Low Cost SpiceJet Airlines Air line Pilots and Pax are looking for better options now 

With the crisis-ridden Low Cost Low Cost SpiceJet Airlines Air line  desperately seeking an infusion of fresh funds, one of the potential investors the Air line is believed to have approached is Singapore-based TigerAir .

Low Cost Low Cost SpiceJet Airlines Air line  chief operating officer Sanjiv Kapoor has said his Air line cannot be compared to Kingfisher Air lines because it is paying salaries to employees on time, has ...