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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Air India Website Blocked By A Few Sites In India, Abroad

Air India Website Blocked By A Few Sites In India, Abroad

Air India's website, which went down two days ago after the Airline offered a special fare of Rs 100, was apparently blocked by a few sites in India and abroad for a considerable time.

An unprecedented 80,000 hits a minute were recorded from some sites which blocked bookings by genuine passengers, the national carrier's Information Technology (IT) team found during internal investigations.

The IT team identified at least four sites in India, four in the United States and one in Singapore, which were blocking others from getting into the ticket booking engine, airline sources said
The massive hits led the website's NIC server to turn erratic, they said. Almost all Indian government websites are developed and managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Following the massive load on its website, the Airline increased the number of its servers from four to eight, the sources said, adding a large number of tickets were sold at the offered rate but did not elaborate.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the national carrier had apologised to its customers who tried to access our website during the last few hours. We are experiencing some technical problem with our servers and doing everything to minimise the amount of time necessary to restore our website.

Air India had on Tuesday announced discounted tickets offer for Rs 100 for a limited period to celebrate its merger with erstwhile Indian Airlines. The bookings can be done till August 31 for travel till September 30 only through the airline's website.

Regarding its celebrations on August 27, Air India condemned biased reports that it had spent huge amounts of taxpayers money on the event. Its unions like the Air Corporation Employees Union and Aviation Industry Employees' Guild also deplored these reports and supported the management on the matter.
An official release said the airline was also exploring to take up the issue at an appropriate forum.

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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee News Editor
Philipines Aviation News Editor

Saturday, August 30, 2014

ACI sees Bright Future For India's Aviation Sector

ACI sees Bright Future For India's Aviation Sector

World Director General Angela Gittens met earlier this week with senior Indian Aviation officials in New Delhi to discuss the future of Aviation in the country. With a population of over a billion people and a growing middle class now just beginning to discover air travel, India last year enjoyed traffic growth of 6.2% compared to the previous year. This growth is expected to continue, and the Indian Airport sector needs to be prepared to handle increased passenger numbers and more cargo in the coming years.

India is full of potential with a large population in a large country with a growing middle class,said Gittens. 

However it still has a long way to go in view of the fact that other countries with similar or lower population bases handle relatively larger volumes of passenger traffic." India is not currently in the top ten countries in terms of airport passenger volume.

One of the key challenges for Indian aviation is the development of Airport Infrastructure. In this regard ACI discussed with government Officials the need for India to have the right economic regulatory framework in place to encourage the development of this much needed infrastructure.

The world is recognizing that Airports are businesses in their own right as they vie to gain Air services for their communities. As such, the need for strict economic regulation in every case is now outmoded and regulators tend to focus more on service quality rather than strict price control.

ACI discussed the upcoming privatizations of additional airports. Ms. Gittens stressed that the process needed to be transparent and that all stakeholders needed to understand what the features of the new concession model will be. The current concessions have been successful in providing a steady source of subsidy to the smaller Indian airports and the much needed capital investments in the larger airports. However, the current regulatory model has yielded poor returns for the investors and could stifle development in India's airports in the long run.

ACI offered its support to India's attempts to further develop its airport infrastructure and find the right regulatory framework to achieve the desired goals. Other countries have faced this dilemma and we will provide examples for the government to explore. Aviation is key for the social and economic development of cities, regions and nations, and connectivity to the global market is essential. India should be one of the three largest aviation markets in the world. ACI wants to see India take its rightful place in the aviation world.

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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee News Editor
Indian Aviation News Editor

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Air India Day' Tomorrow; Tickets to be offered for IN Rs 100 for five days

Air India Day' Tomorrow; Tickets to be offered for IN Rs 100 for five days

National carrier Air India will celebrate tomorrow its merger with erstwhile Indian Airlines as 'Air India Day', offering tickets for Rs 100 for a limited period.

"This is the first time the Airline will be celebrating the 'Air India Day'. A function will be held to celebrate the day and also to award meritorious employees of the Airline," an official spokesperson said here today.

Air India was amalgamated with erstwhile Indian Airlines into one Airline as "Air India" on August 27, 2007.

On the occasion, the flag carrier would launch 'Air India Offer' -- a scheme offering tickets for Rs 100 apart from all applicable taxes.

The sale of these tickets would be made only through the Airline's website for five days from August 27 to 31 for travel during the period August 27 to September 30 only, he added.

Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee News Editor
Indian Aviation News Editor

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

AirAsia India In Big Loss of INR Rs 26 Crore in the first month of its operations

AirAsia India has incurred a loss of Rs 26 crore in the first month of its operations, according to the statement by its one of its promoter Air Asia Berhad on the Malaysian stock exchange.

AirAsia Berhad, which has 49% stake in the latest low-cost Airline to set shop in India, released the numbers last week as part of its April-June results.

"AirAsia India recorded a net loss of ringgit 13.8 million (quarter ended June 30, 2013: RM nil) in the quarter under review," the Airline said in a statement.

AirAsia India, a joint venture between AirAsia, Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace, started its operations on June 12, with first flight between Bangalore and Goa.

The Airline had earlier said it would concentrate on Tier I and II cities in order to keep its costs under control. It had also said its breakeven would be delayed to December due to delay in plane deliveries and a plan to boost investment in the fleet. The Airline was earlier targeting a breakeven around October.

The entry of AirAsia India has led to a fare war in the Indian skies, with competitors – IndiGo and SpiceJet – offering ongoing discounts on various routes.

Currently, most Airlines are bearing financial losses, due to high price structure in the Indian aviation sector. Therefore, analysts expect that the competition will remain stiff for AirAsia India.

AirAsia may have underestimated the capacity of Indian carriers to pursue irrational pricing. The incumbents have shown a regular tendency to discount heavily to generate cash, gain market share, fill excess capacity or simply to respond to competition," said a report released by aviation think-tank Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa) in May.

"It is very difficult to operate in a market in which your competitors seem to have an almost insatiable appetite to lose money," the report had said.
As per the estimate, over the last seven years, Indian carriers lost Rs 59,400 crore, or an average of $22 every time a passenger boarded an Aircraft.

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Air Asia India incurs Rs 26 crore loss in 18 days ,

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Air Asia India incurs Rs 26 crore loss, 

AirAsia India flies into loss in first month,  

AirAsia India has incurred a loss of Rs 26 crore in the first month of its, 

operations, according to the statement by its one of its promoter Air Asia Berhad  AirAsia India starts with a Rs 26 crore loss,

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Their Is lapses In Safety Procedures Of Country’s Leading Aviation Companies

Their Is lapses In Safety Procedures Of Country’s Leading Aviation Companies 

A Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) check on the safety procedures followed by the country’s leading Aviation companies has revealed glaring lapses, a report in the Economic Times today claims quoting persons privy to the development. According to the report, the Aviation regulator found serious violations such as fuel leaking into fuselage and panels of emergency doors missing for Aircraft operated by some of the scheduled Airlines.

 The violation of safety regulations was even worse in case of charter Flights some companies were found operating Flights without safety equipments such as life jackets or breathing equipments. The report comes on the heels of a spate of recent incidents in which serious questions were raised over whether Indian Airlines many of which of have been bleeding for years follow recommended safety standards. Recently, the DGCA ordered an enquiry into an incident involving a Jet Airways Mumbai Brussels Flight that suddenly lost aptitude of about 5,000 feet mid Flight. Worse, the carrier did not even report the incident and the regulator came to know of it via an anonymous tipoff. Before that, a Mumbai Delhi SpiceJet Flight was held up for several hours for what was said to be a Technical snag, following which an audit into the carrier’s engineering and financial health was announced. While the regulator suspended 13 Pilots and a training manager at GoAir after it was discovered the carrier was letting the Pilots fly without imparting them adequate training. 

These come amid the backdrop of mounting losses at several Airline companies. Barring IndiGo, which has consistently been profitable, and GoAir, which eked out a small profit in 2014, the three other major carriers have piled up years of losses. In 2014, SpiceJet and Jet Airways posted a record loss of about Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 4,000 crore, respectively, while Air India posted a loss of Rs 2,000 crore. While Aviation companies claim they are extremely mindful about following safety standards and that there should be no link between their respective financial conditions and whether it could result in compromises over safety, a clear link between the two has been proved in the past. a DGCA report had found the now grounded Kingfisher Airlines was resorting to cannibalising parts from some of its fleet to keep other Aircraft flying and had recommended for cancellation of the carrier’s licence as its financial stress was likely to impinge on safety. 

The DGCA itself came in for flak after its US counterpart, Federal Aviation Administration, downgraded its rating from Category I to II in January this year meaning the US authority was not sure of the DGCA’s ability to regulate the Indian aviation sector and carriers. The downgrade, which put India on par with countries such as Zimbabwe and Uganda, was based upon an acute shortage of inspecting staff at the DGCA. The Indian regulator has since been looking to shore up its staff by reportedly hiring Pilots from scheduled Airlines at market salaries, but is still struggling in its endeavour.

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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee News Editor
Indian Aviation News Editor

Monday, August 25, 2014

Government Finding Strategy To Boost Performance Of Airlines

Government Finding Strategy To Boost Performance Of Airlines 

unsatisfactory performance of Indian Airlines in taking on foreign competition, the government is considering a new strategy to motivate them to perform and take away overseas Flying rights of those who fail to do so. We have to work out a strategy that will motivate our players to perform. The reality is that Indian players are not able to perform neither the public nor the private sector,Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju told PTI here. He was replying to questions on the performance of Indian carriers vis a vis the bilateral Air Traffic Rights granted to them and foreign carriers to fly to each others countries. To a question on the Air Traffic Rights between India and countries like Dubai, Raju said, Nobody believes that the air service agreements were done with any commercial analysis in mind. So, decisions at very high levels still raise questions of integrity which, at those levels, should not happen. Now, in the event of this being a fact, then it becomes very unbecoming, the minister said in an interview. Some Indian carriers often ask for seats but do not fly. 
Suppose an Airline gets additional seats but does not operate its Flights that frequently, can they block those additional seats, he asked, while giving the example of Kingfisher Airlines which has shut down. Do we have to keep their seats aside? There might be a legal angle to it but we have to go into all these aspects, he said. Designated Airlines of a country are granted rights to operate Flights to the other nation and vice versa. The rights are either given in terms of the number of Flights or seats per week. The capacity of the Aircraft is also fixed at times under these bilaterals. Since May 2013 till date, 17 new International routes have been granted to Indian carriers to fly on.  On the overall Aviation scenario in the country, the minister said that despite a growth in passenger traffic, there was a drift in the Aviation sector which needed to be arrested. There has been a drift in civil aviation.

We would like to arrest this drift. That is the general feeling we get,he said, adding that all strategies would have to be geared to end the drift. Stressing that the government's priority was to promote remote connectivity, he pointed out that this is a losing area economically. So that is major limitation We will have to see how we can overcome it. Raju said the Civil Aviation Ministry has planned to hold consultations with all stakeholders on promoting Air cargo, which would in turn promote Air connectivity in the remote parts of the country, apart from generating economic activity. We are a vast source of perishable goods across the world. If this potential is tapped and the state governments are also involved, we can ask Airlines to carry such items. This will give results,he said. Asked about high fuel costs being borne by Indian carriers mainly due to taxes charged by states, Raju said he has urged all chief ministers to address this problem as it acts as a dampener to aviation activity. State sales taxes and other charges on jet fuel average at about 29 per cent. On
the massive expenses borne by airlines in repairing their fleet abroad, he agreed that the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations also faced high rates of taxation. Regarding the role that could be played by state governments to improve aviation activities across India, the minister said growth in
aviation sector in states would lead to heightened economic activity and generation of jobs. Raju said there were suggestions for state governments to come up with concessions like those given to SEZs (special economic zones) to the MROs which would not only add to economic activity in the states but also generate jobs. Airlines will fly where the costs are low. Increased ticket costs are borne by the consumers. So if you reduce fuel costs, that will make tickets cheaper and encourage more people to fly from that place making the place more attractive.

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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Air India Is About To Change Dress Code For Cabin Crew

Air India Is About To Change Dress Code For Cabin Crew

National carrier Air India is going in for an image makeover with its 4,500 strong cabin crew switching to a stylish new dress code bearing a subtle western touch during the winter schedule, beginning October 25 to maximise gains from the Star Alliance membership.

A top Air India official told that the new attire, aimed at giving a more contemporary look and in line with International standards, will be a mix of the traditional Indian sari and Indowestern trousers with small kurti and a scarf.

The colour of the sari will be changed to mustard yellow from the current red white black uniform, which has been in use for a long time.The Cabin Crew will be attired in mustard yellow saris with a little orange print on it. It will also have a mix of colours as in the Air India logo. We have retained the sari because it is part of our Indian tradition and culture, the official explained.
For domestic Flights, cabin crew would have a mix of traditional saris and long kurti and a churidaar. Long haul International Flights will have 50 per cent of cabin crew on board in Indian dress comprising a lower and a kurti with a sash or dupatta.

At least 50 per cent of them will be attired in Indowestern trousers with small kurti and a scarf. Each dress will be in the same colour pattern from top to bottom, the Air India official added. AI officials are keen to revive the Maharaja's declining charm in a highly competitive market and expect the dress makeover to help give some freshness to the ailing carrier, which has now got a brand new fleet of planes but needs to improve its services.

Air India had approached the National Institute of Fashion Technology to design its new uniforms for cabin crew and ground duty officials. NIFT had worked out on many designs for us. We have finally drawn up a shortlist and also floated a tender.
We expect the entire process to finish before the winter schedule. Our winter and summer dresses for Cabin Crew will be the same, an official said. Each Cabin Crew member would get a set of four uniforms. A senior Aviation sector executive said that the Cabin Crew would also have to bring about a drastic change in their attitude in order to improve Flight experience of passengers.

He pointed out that passengers often complain about the indifferent and even rude behaviour hostesses, some of whom tend to have a complacent or laid-back attitude towards work. Physical fitness has been another problem area. While most cabin crew members want to emulate their European counterparts on being allowed to fly on important routes, their fitness is quite clearly not up to the standard remarked another Aviation sector official.

While Independent auditors of SpiceJet and Jet Airways have red flagged the going concern status of the two carriers, the civil aviation ministry is looking at a financial package to help Airlines tide over the loss making phase as it does not want more carriers going the Kingfisher Airlines way .
The losses of domestic Airlines have piled up to a staggering Rs 49,000 crore as they are reeling under a huge debt burden, and fierce competition due to excess capacity in the sector prevents them from raising fares. According to sources, the ministry is considering a proposal to enable Airlines to get loans at seven to eight per cent from public sector banks to help them meet their working capital needs.

Rules could also be eased to allow Airlines more low cost foreign borrowings. Most Airlines operate under wafer thin margins of around five per cent and there are many factors in the market that are not in their control, an Aviation Ministry official said. The ministry expects to make a plan over the next month and forward it to the finance ministry.

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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
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Jet Airways seeks month's time to clear INR 100 Cr Arrears of Pilots

Jet Airways today sought a month's time to clear about INR 100 crore worth of salary arreaINR of its Pilots, who have been expressing their ire against the delay in making the payment, Airline sources said.

The management's plea came during an almost six-hour meeting with representatives of Pilots at the Airline's headquarteINR here this afternoon, the sources said.
The meeting was attended by chief executive-designate Cramer Ball and other officials while the Pilots' representatives came under the banner of National AviatoINR Guild (NAG) which acts as an interface between the Pilots and the management.

The Pilots, who had a week ago warned of an agitation if the management did not come out with a concrete repayment plan by today, are learnt to have said they would "look into" the management's proposal for a one month delay.
"At today's meeting, the management requested the Pilots to grant it one month time on the issue (payment of salary arreaINR). The Pilots, however, responded by saying that they will look into the request after consulting with their other colleagues," the sources told PTI here.

A text message sent to Airline spokespeINRons for confirmation did not yield any response a the time of filing the copy.

Jet Airways, in which the Gulf carrier Etihad is a strategic partner with 24 per cent stake, has 1,100 Pilots on its rolls. Its Pilots had struck work for several weeks in 2009 against sacking of two of their colleagues for forming a union.
Of the 1,100 Pilots on the rolls, as many as 600 are commandeINR and the rest fiINRt officeINR.

According to the Pilots, the company owes around INR 15 lakh to each commander and INR 7 lakh to each co-Pilot in arreaINR. The arreaINR are for FY11 and FY12, while the Airline has already cleared those for FY13.

Confirming the meeting, Jet Airways, in a late night statement, said the two sides decided to meet after a month again.

"Jet Airways Chief Executive designate Cramer Ball, Nikhil Ved, SVP for flight operations, and Samar Srivastava SVP for human resources, met the Jet Pilots' representatives in a pre-scheduled meeting today to continue the collaborative effort towards resolving their issues," a spokespeINRon of the private Airline said in the statement.

Other relevant matteINR were also discussed in the meeting in a spirit of true consultation, the Airline said.

Jet Airways seeks month's time to clear INR 100 cr arreaINR of Pilots

SummaryJet Airways today sought a month's time to clear about INR 100 crore worth of salary arreaINR of its Pilots. Jet Airways flight emergency: PassengeINR…
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