Members Login
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: News clips -- reposting


Status: Offline
Posts: 2289
News clips -- reposting
Permalink Closed

Clear and present danger in the air
Bhargavi Kerur
Sunday, May 07, 2006  00:20 IST

An Air-India flight, AI-962, carrying at least 250 passengers, had a
miraculous escape on May 2 when it narrowly missed a mid-air
collision with a military aircraft while flying from Jeddah in the
Gulf to Kozhikode in Kerala.

"I received a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) warning on
my screen," a terrified Air India pilot reported to the Mumbai Air
Traffic Control then.

"The military aircraft was flying at an altitude of 30,000 feet,
just 500 feet below the Air-India flight," the pilot reportedly told
ATC. As a result, the pilot had to make a sudden climb up of 1,500

"A TCAS resolution alert warns only when there is a high probability
for collision," airport  sources said.  "This is a serious safety
hazard," said a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)
officer in Mumbai.

According to safety norms, the vertical separation between two
aircraft should be 1,000 feet and 1,600 meters for horizontal

ATC sources said such incidents had been happening for the past two
decades with an average of six a year. "But there is a sudden rise
in the number of such incidents. We have witnessed three near-misses
in the last 10 days," an ATC official said.

"We are worried. It is our responsibility to guide and control any
aircraft that enter our Flight Information Route (FIR)," ATC sources
said. According to rules, every aircraft in the controlled airspace
should inform the ATC about its altitude and route to ensure safety.

Since the incidents take place in the oceanic control region, the
military aircraft are out of radar coverage area. However, Civil
Aviation officials suspect the military aircraft belong to the
United States as the only naval and air base close to the Mumbai FIR
is Diego Garcia, a US military base.



Biological material and Indian airports

MAY 13, 2006
NEW DELHI: To enhance cooperation in biotechnology sphere with the
US, India is planning to revamp facilities at airports for handling
biological material for swift movement.
This was discussed during Science and Technology Minister Kapil
Sibal's recent visit to the US.
Framing of guidelines on clinical research were also discussed,
Sibal said adding '"concrete action on these fronts is expected in
three months."
"Currently, there is a problem at the customs during movement of
biological material at our airports," he told reporters here.
The problem was also experienced at the US where biological material
was seen as having "dual use", he said adding some changes were also
needed at their side.
Dr M K Bhan, Secretary Department of Biotechnology, said the aim was
to go in for a total revamp of facilities at airports for handling
biological material.
This was needed as movement of biologicals was expected to intensify
in the coming years, he said adding a survey had already been
commissioned to find weaknesses in the current system.
Sibal said there was need to have world class protocols and
guidelines on clinical trials in India so that any drug found useful
during research gets an approval of the US regulatory authority.
It would also reduce cost of drug development, Bhan said.
Sibal said the Indo-US binational fund for science and technology to
be set up with an investment of 15 millon dollars from each side
would be in place in three months.

IAF pilots can fly after cash, as long as it's Indian, A-I

Saturday, May 13, 2006  02:16 IST
NEW DELHI: The Centre is intensifying its effort to stall the flight
of the armed forces' pilots, especially those from the Indian Air
Force, into the civil aviation sector. Among the proposals being
considered are a set of guidelines that will allow IAF pilots to
offer their services to state-run airlines.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday
that the government is considering a proposal to "allow air force
pilots to go on deputation in government-run airlines".
But a defence ministry source said there would be a provision to
permit at least those IAF pilots
who have no promotion prospects to join Indian or Air-India.

The initiative is a reaction to the alarming increase in number of
pilots defecting to the private sector for lucrative salaries.  It
costs several crores to train an IAF pilot.

The Centre hopes that salaries in state-run airlines, which are
appreciably higher than what is offered by the armed forces, will be
an adequate inducement for pilots to remain in the government realm.

The source said that if the government fails to develop a rational
compensation structure for pilots who are denied the premature-
retirement option, the civil courts would be engulfed in a spate of

Sources in the navy and other government agencies say the lure of
the private sector is not limited to the IAF. Several pilots in the
navy are keen to leave the service. Other agencies such as the
Border Security Force and Aviation Research Centre are contending
with a severe pilot shortage.

The government told Parliament on Thursday that in the past three
years, 246 IAF pilots have taken premature retirement. In 2005 the
figure was down to 58 from 116 in the previous year. The decrease,
however, is attributed to the IAF's move to make the rules more
stringent. At any rate, many fliers are "waiting at the doorstep",
an IAF pilot, who wants to quit the force, said. A navy source said
a "substantial" number of its pilots would quit if permitted.

IAF's pilot paucity:
Authorised strength: 3,269 pilots
Current strength: 3,015 pilots

Training Cost: From NDA cadets to pilots
Fighter: Rs885.18 lakh
Transport: Rs368.11 lakh
Helicopter: Rs235.69 lakh

Training cost of non-NDA cadets
Fighter: Rs886.3 lakh
Transport: Rs369.23 lakh
Helicopter Rs236.82 lakh
Air India gets back IOSA certificate

Friday, May 12, 2006  19:17 IST

NEW DELHI: Air India on Friday regained the safety audit
certification of the IATA it had failed in February, claiming that
the highest standards of safety were being followed by it.

"We have got back the IOSA certification after international
auditors carried out audits and cleared us," Air India CMD K
Thulasidass said.

The safety audit of the International Air Transport Association
(IATA), called International Operations Safety Audit (IOSA), is the
benchmark for global safety management in airlines and is a globally-
recognised evaluation system designed to asses the operational
management and control systems of an airline.

By 2007, all IATA members will need to have successfully undergone
the IOSA audit in order to achieve or maintain their IATA
membership. Thulasidass said IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani "conveyed
to me personally that Air India has been reinstated in the IOSA
regime. He also regretted the delay in doing so". 

Indian Airlines goes for image makeover
saturday, May 13, 2006 12:47:29 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

NEW DELHI: The 53-year-old Indian Airlines is turning a new leaf. As
part of efforts to make itself more attractive for the discerning
air traveller, Indian is heading for a complete image makeover -
which includes redesigning its crew uniform to include dresses other
than the sari and providing independent television screens, along
with Live TV feed, on every economy class seat.

The options being considered for the new uniform include salwar-
kameez, churidar-kurta, short kurti-churidar and lehenga, sources
close to the makeover exercise told ToI.

These initiatives, sources said, are a step forward in the airline's
new brand building exercise to make it more contemporary in view of
the rising competition in the domestic and international skies. It
had recently revamped the logo and aircraft facia and livery as part
of this initiative.

"We have decided to offer our air-hostesses more options for
uniform. While saris would still be there, the airline is including
some other Indian dresses as part of uniform.

We are examining a variety of dresses and a final list of options
would be put together within a month,"the source said. Indian has
invited some fashion designers to work on the new trendier look for
its air-hostesses.

The airline board on Friday also gave its in-principle nod to
upgrade the in-flight entertainment systems, to include personal
television sets on every seat.

"We will have seat back mounted TV screens on every economy seat and
arm-rest screen in the executive class. These systems will be
installed in every new Airbus plane that will be delivered as part
of the 43-aircraft purchase plane cleared recently by the
government,"a source said.

The first of these new aircraft will join the Indian fleet from
October this year. "We will also provide a facility for Live
Satellite TV feed on-board the aircraft. This will redefine service
standards in the domestic skies,"the source said.

Aircraft interiors will also be synchronised with the cabin crew
uniform and other items like crockery. Even the galley facilities
and aircraft toilets are being revamped to fit into the new designer

With competition intensifying in the Indian skies following the
entry of new private sector players, Indian has been witnessing a
sharp erosion in its market share. Though its passenger carriage has
not dropped, the airline's market share has dipped to under 25%.

"It's a war out there for grabbing passengers, and we have donned
the war paint,"said an airline official.
Air Deccan chief says he's sorry

Posted Friday , May 12, 2006 at 18:46

Mumbai: Indian aviation industry is on an upswing. But with airports
in India not capable of handling the increasing flight traffic,
delays and cancellations are now quite common. And the passengers
are losing their cool.

Reacting to public ire, Chairman, Air Deccan, Captain GR Gopinath,
said, "The problem faced by the passengers is unpardonable and I
sincerely apologise for the inconvenience."

Captain Gopinath found himself on the back foot when instead of
being questioned about his upcoming IPO, he faced a barrage from
angry journalists, who were also passengers on a Deccan flight that
failed to take off on time.

In fact, the agitation required intervention by others. "Please let
them respond. Now that you have made your point, please let them
talk," pleaded Chairman, ENAM Financial Consultants, Vallabh

Once the situation came under control, Captain Gopinath came up with
some answers: "We will not fly if there is a technical problem no
matter what. Even if our passengers demand so," he said.

It seems passenger agitation is a global phenomenon and providing
efficiency while cutting costs is like a walk on a tightrope.

"Internationally, I've seen even murkier instances with Spice Jet,
Ryan Air and others, where even passengers have held a whole airport
to ransom. But at times the passenger too needs to be reasonable,"
COO, Air Deccan, Warwick Brady said.

Adding to the problems is the 'dog eat dog' world of Indian
aviation, where the airlines are waiting to pounce on each other's

Deccan gets the short end of the stick. "All our trained personnel
have been high-jacked by Kingfisher for almost thrice the salary and
now we are left with the task of re-training all our personnel,"
complained Captain Gopinath.

The investors are backing Air Deccan on its Rs 400 crore IPO and it
is being hailed as an airline that has put the common man in the

But the increasing number of delays and cancellations serve a
reminder that the airline needs to brush up on a better customer


Goa airport to have new terminal with 4 aero-bridges
Panaji, May 13 (UNI) In a bid to cope with the burgeoning air
traffic, particularly from abroad, the Airport Authority of India
(AAI) in collaboration with the Indian Navy had planned to build a
modern new terminal with four aero-bridges to facilitate landing of
wide bodied aircrafts as part of strengthening the Goa airport.

The Union cabinet is likely to give a green signal on May 15 to this
proposal discussed at length at a high-level meeting Union Civil
Aviation Minister Praful Patel had with goa Deputy Chief Minister Dr
Wilfred De Souza, AII chairman K Ramalingam, Deputy Chief of Naval
staff Vice Admiral G S Bedi, secretary Ajay Prasad and joint
secretary Sanjay Narain of the Ministry in New Delhi yesterday.

Briefing media persons about the outcome of the meeting soon after
his return here from Delhi today, Mr.D'Souza said the AAI would soon
acquire nine acre land from the Navy and start extending the airport
apron to facilitate landing of bigger crafts besides pressing into
service the instrument landing facilility to operate in nights.

''The Navy,which has been controlling the Goa airport, has agreed to
allow direct landing of all the scheduled flights to Goa instead of
Mumbai shortly, even as Air India is considering starting a direct
flight from Dubai to Goa and back,'' Dr D'Souza said.

Several of the foreign private airlines including Virgin Airlines
from Europe, Lufthansa from Frankfurt and Midland from Manchester
and Air Arabia from Sharjah were ready to run their flights directly
to Goa avoiding circuitous routes, he said.

They were examining the economic viability of such direct operations
while the Union Ministry was studying the reciprocity of running
flights directly from Goa to respective foreign destinations, he

All these steps were to strengthen the existing airport in Goa to
meet the projected future traffic which was expected to run 4308
international flights and 17,480 domestic flights by the year 2013-
14 as against 1402 and 7422 flights respectively in 1995-96.

The Indian Oil Corporation(IOC) would soon be asked to close its
road running across the airport runway and operate its traffic
through an alternative route to facilitate expansion of the airport
without any hitch.

There was no provision at the Sea Bird naval base now at Karwar in
neighbouring Karnataka for landing of the military aicrafts and
hence the question of INS Hansa's shifting from Goa would not arise
he said quoting the vice admiral.

Asked whether this development meant giving up of the proposal of
setting up a modern airport at Mopa in North Goa, Dr D'Souza said it
was for the six-member central committee headed by-Chief Minister
Pratapsingh Rane to decide.

He however added South Goa MP Churchil Alemao, who launched a
vociferous campaign against Mopa airport that sharply divided even
the ruling Congress in the state, was happy over the current

South may see 30% rise in local air passenger


The South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and
Karnataka are expected to experience a 25-30% growth in domestic air
passenger traffic in '06, while the growth in international traffic
from the four states is likely to be about 20% per annum, as per a
recent study by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, an industry
consultancy, reports Sudipto Dey in New Delhi.

This will be much higher than the national growth forecast, pegged
at 25% per annum in case of local travel, and around 15% for global
traffic out of India.

In '06, the new emerging growth centres for air traffic movement in
the country will be regional centres like Amritsar, Pune, Ah-medabad
and Nagpur, which are likely to grow by around 40% per annum, though
riding on a smaller base.

The Annual Outlook '06 report by the Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation
expresses concern at the falling yields in the domestic aviation
sector, with the forecast being that the year will be another profit-
less one for most operators. As per industry estimates, private
carriers may finish the financial year '05-06 with losses to the
tune of around Rs 1,000 crore, with only three carriers — Jet,
Indian and Air India — being in the black.

The CAPA outlook forecast is that there will be one or two
acquisitions in the domestic sector in '06, even as four or five new
airlines will start operations in the current calendar year. As a
result, the downward pressure on air fare will continue through out
the year. To beat the decline in yield, the industry is likely to
see more consolidation. Post the Jet-Sahara merger of operations,
joint operations by Indian Airlines-Air India will help to steady
the market.

CAPA anticipates one M&A deal in the low-cost carrier space in
course of the calendar year.A merged IA-AI entity will be a
significant reform for the sector, leading to creation of a strong
and powerful integrated network, improved product offering, lower
cost structure, and huge savings in marketing, distribution, and
procurement costs.

CAPA is of the view that Indian should focus on domestic and
regional international network while Air India should take care of
medium and long-haul markets. "Both should work for each other and
not against each other," said the CAPA study.

Increased competition in the sky has seen market leader Jet Airways'
share going down from 43.8% in '04 to 39.8% in the year '05, while
the second biggest player, national carrier Indian's share has
dropped from 37.9% to 31% over the same period. In case of low-cost
airlines, including Air Deccan, share of passenger market rose from
4.2% in '04 to 10.4% in '05.

As per CAPA forecast, Indian airline companies will raise about $2bn
in '06 through IPOs and overseas listing, while around $200m of
private equity is likely to flow into the sector in the current

The Centre estimates that the Asia-Pacific and Middle-East will
require 1,48,000 additional employees to support new aircraft,
currently, on order. According to Mr Peter Harbison, executive
chairman, CAPA, passenger traffic growth in Asia-Pacific region
should maintain recent high levels, broadly in line with capacity

"The year '06 may be the lull before the storm — a rare opportunity
for the aviation sector to consolidate, ahead of the challenges
likely in '07 as fleet deliveries escalate, new products enter the
market and pressures intensify on manpower costs, competition,
capacity and yields," CAPA noted in its Annual Outlook for '06 for
the Asia-Pacific region. 

CHENNAI: "Go Air, Spicejet, Indigo, Jackson Airlines, Tarneja
Aerospace" are some of the fancy names of airline operators who are
targeting rail travellers and those with disposable income. And with
freebies and airfares touching as low as Rs.1 to 500 and beyond,
there is a growing need for the first time air travellers to know
how the operators are taking the passengers for a ride.

As the sky gets crowded with more operators, passengers need to know
their rights as consumers. This is where the role of the Air
Passengers' Association of India (APAI) assumes immense importance.

Established in 1990, the APAI is a national, non-profit organisation
dedicated to the welfare of air passengers. Over the years, the
association has also been playing a role in the development of the
aviation sector itself.

Headquartered in Chennai, the association, which has regional
offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Nagpur and an area office at
Visakhapatnam, has created awareness on the rights of air passengers
and encourages them to address their grievances to authorities
concerned. It also takes up the case of aggrieved passengers and
tries to ensure that justice is meted out.

As part of their continuing process to create greater awareness
among the new travellers, the APAI's website:
was launched in January 31, 2005.

It has been further made traveller friendly from April 4, 2006.

"Our Association's (now updated) website (
gives basic information and several related links to educate air
travellers about the operators", D. Sudhakara Reddy, founder-
president of the APAI said.

While several grievances of air passengers had been taken up with
airlines concerned and also the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, the
association had even won a case of compensation with Indian
(formerly Indian Airlines) for a delayed flight from Chennai to
Hyderabad on October 9, 2005. After a prolonged correspondence and
detailed explanation given to the national carrier, APAI received a
communication from the airline that 2,500 mileage points were being
given to each of the passengers who travelled on flight (IC-948) on
October 9 last year.

It is a good gesture from Indian, Mr. Reddy says adding that other
emerging carriers should take the cue from this episode.


Expect flight delays in Mumbai airport

Bhargavi Kerur
Sunday, May 14, 2006  00:32 IST

MUMBAI: Be prepared. For the next 30 days or so, flight schedules at
Mumbai airport are likely to go out of kilter. Flights could be
delayed for as long as two hours or even cancelled.

The reason: From 9am to 5pm for the next 30 days, the airport's main
runway 9-27 will remain closed to enable work to build rapid-exit
taxiways. In this eight-hour duration, only the secondary runway 14-
32 will be in operation.

Confirming this, SRR Rao, executive director (western region),
Airports Authority of India, said, "We want to complete the work
before the monsoon."

But operating solely on the secondary runway is tough. While runway
9-27 can handle up to 35 takeoffs and landings an hour, 14-32 can do
just 20.

But airlines are not rescheduling their flights. This means you will
just have to learn to deal with delays. "We are not rescheduling
flights as it hampers operations on other sectors," said Warwick
Brady, chief operating officer of Air Deccan.

In September 2005, the International Air Transport Association had
warned about the dangers posed by the likely closure of runway 9-27.
It also recommended that runway 14-32 be used only in emergencies. 

But an airport official said there is no option. "We are only making
way for efficient operations on the runway. Airlines are buying
larger aircraft. We need wide, rapid-exit taxiways."

After these taxiways are built, movement on runway 9-27 is expected
to increase to 40 per hour.


Not prawn, that's cockroach in your meal!
   By: Shramana Ganguly
   May 12, 2006

Abdul Qadir (7), a resident of Southall, UK, has vowed never to
visit India again.

The boy was travelling by the Air India Mumbai-Heathrow flight (AI
131) on January 18 this year, when he found a cockroach in the non-
vegetarian food served to him, on board the aircraft.

The boy is yet to recover from the shock, says his mother Arwa
Mamujee, speaking to MiD DAY from Southall. She added that even
after 10 emails to Air India, the airlines is yet to respond to her

According to an AI spokesperson, the airline is still awaiting a
report from the flight kitchen on the incident. He added the
stewards changed the food immediately after Arwa brought the matter
to their notice.

"She did write to AI, London, on January 21, claiming her son had
fallen sick after consuming the food. But she retracted her
statement after AI asked her to produce a medical report. Now, she
claims he suffers from mental trauma," said the spokesperson.

The boy, Qadir, was accompanying his mother and two-year-old brother
Adam to his cousin's wedding in Surat. On the return flight, Arwa
asked for a vegetarian meal for herself and a non-vegetarian meal
for Qadir.

"Qadir was totally engrossed watching television, but he picked up
the insect and asked me what it was," recalls Arwa. "I thought it
was a prawn, but got a fright when I realised it was a cockroach."

Arwa immediately called for the steward, who replaced the food. The
cockroach was sealed in a plastic pouch. Even though the cabin crew
apologised repeatedly, Qadir refused to take a bite from the fresh

"Even I couldn't eat after that… so we went hungry throughout the
flight," complains Arwa.

She adds she is tired of sending emails to AI. "No one is bothered.
What kind of customer service is this? Every time I contact the
London office, I am told to call the India office," she says.


Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to

Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard