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Civil Aviation
<b>Airlines want mandatory health disclosure for fliers</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Air India, which has had three passenger deaths in the last two months, is very much in favour of the disclosure. Air India Executive Director (Finance) and Spokesman S Venkat told HT: “Like insurance companies, airlines will ask passengers to fill a form and declare their ailments before they fly. If a passenger has a problem, he/she must furnish a medical certificate. <b>Then we will have the right to refuse such passengers</b>.”<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<b>This year idiocy award goes to Air India.</b>
My advice stop flying Air India, no one will die.
First these morons should put efforts to fly plane.
Indians are good in discrimination, caste, religion, race and now health.
Sick person don’t have Right to fly, I hope majority of sick politicians of India will fall under this category.
Last month they refused kid with autism to board plane.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->“Like insurance companies, airlines will ask passengers to fill a form and declare their ailments before they fly. If a passenger has a problem, he/she must furnish a medical certificate. Then we will have the right to refuse such passengers.”

When rest of the airlines offer cheaper tickets and better service, Air India is expecting people to fill in a medical forms!!
Anyway its a junk airlines, lease planes from Mojave, California junk yard.
<b>World worst Airports</b>
<b>[1] Bombay, India</b>
Why? Dirty, smelly, before check-in seats are uncomfortable (you fare better once you're past security), mosquitoes (make sure your malaria prescription is filled), loud, stench of "feces and urine", security ask for bribes, even Indians don't like passing through this airport
<b>[4] Delhi, India</b>
Why? Uncomfortable hard seating with armrests, filthy floor, air-conditioning is too high, smells of insecticide and stale cigarettes, mice, "dozens of Indians will stand over you and stare", used syringes spotted in the bathroom, crowded
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Nusli Wadia detained at Dubai airport with gun </b>
Friday, 19 January , 2007, 15:04 
New Delhi: GoAir and Bombay Dyeing Chairman Nusli Wadia was detained at the Dubai airport on January 13 for carrying an undeclared pistol which had escaped security screening at Mumbai airport.

Wadia carried a pistol and 30 cartridges aboard Air India flight 717, flying from Mumbai to Dubai, without declaring it to the airline or Customs officials.

The pistol was in his baggage, which went through the regular security checks at Mumbai airport, but was noticed only at Dubai.<b> Wadia was detained and questioned for three hours in Dubai and was released after he showed his arms licence and Air India's regional director intervened. </b>

Wadia was supposed to travel by another airline on January 13, but could not take that flight and at the last minute booked on an Air India flight scheduled to take off at 3 pm.

He didn’t have time to go home and pack his bags, so he asked his domestic help to send his luggage to the airport directly. There were two similar looking bags in a cupboard: one had Wadia’s toiletries and the other the pistol.

The help reportedly made a mistake and sent the bag carrying the pistol with the rest of the luggage. Wadia did not check his baggage and took it to Dubai.

<b>Wadia has the status of a Commercially Important Person, which gives him certain privileges at the airport but not exemption from frisking.</b>

Two baggage clearance employees have been suspended at the Mumbai airport, which is under the security cover of the Central Industrial Security Force.

Air India refused to comment but Bombay Dyeing officials privately admitted the incident, which they said was a mistake.

<b>The Prime Minister, President and the Chief Justice of India are the only people in the country who are not frisked at the airport.</b>
Why Air India's regional director intervened? When people are breaking law they should be booked, why laws are enforced based on money or power? <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo-->
India Inc to buy a jet every 3 days


Sunny Verma NEW DELHI

ONE corporate jet every three days. That’s what Indian companies are expected to buy for the next three years, taking the total number of corporate jets in India to 450 from 150 at present. And joining the league of established corporate jet setters, like the Tatas and Birlas, are firms such as Videocon, Bharat Forge, GMR Group, Suzlon Energy, TVS Motors, Punj Lloyd, Hindustan Construction, DS Construction and DLF Group.
In the last one year, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has given its approval to about 70 Indian companies to buy around 100 corporate jets. And these numbers are going to grow. “Indian companies are likely to buy over 300 corporate jets in the next three years,” a civil aviation ministry official told ET. Apart from the new entrants, corporate houses like Reliance, Raymond and UB Group, which already have corporate jets, are likely to add to their existing fleet of jets and helicopters.
The flexibility that a privately owned jet offers to go anywhere anytime is the primary reason driving demand. But apart from convenience, owning a corporate jet also signifies status. “ The Indian entrepreneur today has reached a global level where value of time is paramount. And machine like corporate jets definitely enable one to act and decide faster,” Aerostar Aviation CEO AJS Walia said.
A corporate jet may cost anywhere between Rs 25 crore to Rs 225 crore, depending upon it’s functions and features such as whether it's single engine or twin engine. “The jets may also be customised to customers’ needs with additional fitments. For instance, if you pay more, you can buy a jet fitted with a customised office, corporate seating, DVDs and much more,” said an industry source.
The new corporate jets that have been ordered by Indian companies include Gulfstream, Bombardier Global Express, Citation XL, Embraer Legacy, Beechcraft, Falcon, and Airbus and Boeing corporate jets.

<b>Air Deccan stage-manages cheating of passengers </b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->" No ma'am, you are late," is what he told a member of the CNN-IBN Special Investigation Team. A little blue mark on the ticket, which says you are allegedly three minutes late is all that it takes to leave passengers high and dry.
<b>"You are one minute late and you lose Rs 7,000 here," says an irate passenger</b>.

However, airport officials concede that the scam is an open secret.

Says an Airport Manager named Laxman, "They say you have come outside half an hour so we can't let you board the plane. This has been happening to too many passengers!"

So day after day, passengers get taken for a ride and an airline can continue to bend the rules because the DGCA - the aviation watchdog - is fast asleep.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
The merger of Air India and Indian Airlies has been a significant development in the history of Indian Civil Aviation. A report in Indian Express of date is reproduced below

O N August 1, as a brand new Boeing 777-200 takes off on its maiden, non-stop flight from Mumbai to New York, it will launch Air India- the unified carrier created by merging Air-India and Indian Airlines - into the league of the world's premier airlines.

The unified national carrier christened Air-India to retain the popular brand name and alphabetically superior airline code AI - has reworked its network strategy in the wake of strong competition and a booming growth in passenger traffic.

The new carrier plans to utilise the synergies of both Air-India and Indian Airlines in a bid to establish itself as a major international player - the Maharajah of the skies. It has retained the popular Maharajah as its mascot. The new logo and livery have been drawn from the current features of both AirIndia and Indian.

On the carrier's agenda are plans to develop hubs in Europe, acquire morning slots to reposition Air-India as a product for business travel, join a global alliance, start direct operations to major international destinations from cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and develop a daily standardised hub and spoke model for Mumbai and Delhi. Shopping spree The unified carrier has already framed a revised business plan which talks of acquiring 38 new aircraft, including seven long-range planes for the proposed non-stop flights, 15 medium capacity long range planes with a capacity of 300 plus seats and another 16 MCLR of the 200+ seat capacity.

The new airline plans to move swiftly on integrating its operations with those of members of the STAR Alliance. It will also seek six-eight early morning transit slots at Munich airport, which will be the hub for its operations to the east coast of USA and Canada - to destinations like New York, Newark, Chicago, Detroit, Boston and Toronto.

Similarly, Air-Indiais looking to create a hub at Frankfurt to cater to its operations to South America and to the west coast of North America to places like San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Los Angeles and Vancouver.

By the winter of 2011-12, Air-Indiahopes to have established itself as India's premier airline, with daily non-stop flights to JFK airport in New York from Mumbai and Delhi, to Chicago from Mumbai and Hyderabad and to San Francisco from Bangalore and Delhi.

The unified carrier has already studied the much-hyped Airbus 380 and has found it viable to operate the 'gentle giant' on daily flights to London's Heathrow airport from Mumbai and Delhi and on the Mumbai-MunichChicago and Delhi-Munich-New York routes. Air-Indiais closely looking at the possibility of inducting seven to eight A380s into its fleet.

However, the merger has thrown up questions of fleet expansion. Despite Air-Indiagetting 50 new widebodied aircraft, including the eight Boeing 777-200 LRs, 15 Boeing 777200 ERs and 27 Boeing 787-8 by 201112, most of these planes would only replace the existing fleet and end up providing an average annual growth of 10.8 per cent to the carrier.

This is important because with a current market share of a mere 18 per cent and an average market growth of 16-18 per cent, Air India's absolute market share in 2011-12 is not likely to increase if new players grow as estimated by the way they are placing aircraft orders. Fleet expansion Of the 50 new wide-bodied planes being inducted into the erstwhile Air India, 34 will replace the existing planes, leaving only 16 new planes to tackle future growth. With this reality looming large, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has already asked the new entity's Chairman and Managing Director V. Thulasidas to start planning for further fleet acquisition. Of the already ordered planes, 12 of Air India's 50 planes are scheduled to be delivered in 2009-10, another 10 in 2010-11 and nine the following year.

By adding 42 A320 family aircraft between July 2007 and March 2010, the erstwhile Indian Airlines (IA), too, hopes to have enough planes to phase out its B 737 fleet and three A 300 family aircraft. The new planes would also enable Indian Airlines to replace the leased A320 and A319 planes. IA also plans to phase out its fleet of owned A320 aircraft from 2011 and is likely to begin planning for fleet acquisition beyond 2011.

IA also plans to develop a fleet of ATR (turboprop aircraft) and 70-seater regional jets by inducting 25 aircraft for both types by 2010-11. This would not only help the airline compete with the likes of low-cost carrier Air Deccan when it comes to connecting smaller regional places but is also expected to help bring feeder traffic from regional cities to the metros.

Route rationalisation, common pricing in markets where they overlap, operating feeder flights through check-in and seamless transfer are likely to yields benefits worth Rs 187 crore annually. Preliminary estimates indicate that route rationalisation in markets like Kuwait, Oman, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Tokyo is likely to result in synergies worth Rs 124 crore annually.

Commonality in signages, documentation, check-in counters, tags, advertisments, logos, uniforms, livery, in-flight entertainment, in-flight services, customer complaint handling, and an integrated call centre and an integrated website would help present the airline's new, unified face. Flying higher The new carrier is not only expected to lend competitive strength to the airline but also improve its ranking among top international airlines. Civil Aviation ministry estimates suggest that the combined revenues of both Air-Indiaand Indian Airlines - in the range of Rs 13,040 crore - would catapult the carrier to the 35th spot in the world as against Air India's current ranking of 48 and Indian Airlines' ranking of 70. Estimates suggest that the induction of new fleet would further take the airline's ranking to 20.

Further, the new national carrier is also expected to improve the dwindling market share of both the erstwhile national carriers. Government estimates show that the market share of both Air-Indiaand Indian Airlines has fallen from 24.5 per cent and 100 per cent respectively in 1990 to 19.5 and 31 per cent in 2005. In fact, both the carriers have been competing with each other in some sectors and eroding each other's market share. The merger is now expected to eliminate

"unproductive competition" and also improve the combined market share of both the airlines.

Then, there are calculations indicating that the merger would ensure an improvement in annual revenues to the tune of 7-8 per cent on a recurring basis while the one-time increase in cost would be roughly 2 per cent. The merger is also expected to eliminate a slew of common expenses, primarily related to marketing and advertisements, and this should help the carrier control its operating costs to stay competitive in the sector.

Not only will Air-Indianow provide a larger network, induction of 111 aircraft over the next five years will also give a wider dimension to its fleet.

What will also stand in favour of a bigger national airline is the fact that competition in the sector is only going to increase further.

Factors like Open Skies with USA and near open skies with UK, ASEAN and SAARC and liberal bilateral agreements with Germany, France and China have resulted in huge increase in seat entitlements and new routes for foreign airlines.

While domestic airlines, subject to certain minimum conditions, can fly overseas and forge partnerships with foreign carriers, international carriers, too, have been interlining with domestic airlines. While some private airlines have developed large networks and are in a position to fill international flights with ease, some more domestic airlines will qualify for international operations in next 3-4 years, having a large network by then.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>NEW DELHI, India</b>
"Had to change in the toilet which made the one in Trainspotting look like the Ritz." (Moray)
DEHLI (Contributed by Pawel)
December 2006 (International Arrivals - Boarding Gates / In Transit) - "While the large bathroom before passport control looked maintained, special effort appeared to be made to make sure that no trace of toilet paper could be found. After having checked several cabins, I ran into a bathroom attendant who waived before me a stack of US banknotes to show me what it takes to earn the privilege of using the paper. I decided I would rather favor using the banknotes directly rather than enrich that swine." Added 01 April 2007  link
Airports you would rather pay to avoid flying through/from:
1. Moscow
2. Quebec City
3. Paris Beauvais
4. Paris CDG
4. Manila
6. Los Angeles
7. Dehli
8. New York JFK
9. Lviv
10. Chicago O'Hare
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
There is no change in Delhi Airport even now, same problem. Smokers still smokes in so called non smoking airport. Custom and immigration department are same on "slow go mode", not dead mode yet. X-ray machine don't work, counters are always crowded, they create crowd just to look busy.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Just dial DIAL for chaos </b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
Leaking roofs, defective conveyor belts, stained toilets -- you name them and the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has them. Indeed, the one year that the IGIA has been in private hands, there has not been any significant improvement in the quality of services.

Since a year when the airport modernisation project was given into private hands, the ASQ rating has increased only by a fraction.

The GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) took over the airport for a modernisation process.

"When the airport was being controlled by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the ASQ ratings were 3 on a scale of 4. After GMR took over, nothing much has changed," a senior airport official pointed out.

While taking over, DIAL had come in with bug promises of a facelift and had assured the authorities an ASQ rating of at least 3.5.

"The target of 3.5 has to be achieved till 2010. The ratings are quite enthusiastic. On a scale of 4, we score quite well," said a DIAL official. From Page 1

Contradicting DIAL's claims, a senior AAI official said the target of 3.5 was to be achieved in the first year of takeover itself which has not happened.

After taking over the airport, GMR has captured a large area which was earlier marked for passengers. Extension of duty-free shops on the international terminal has left no space for passengers to roam around.

The scenario is similar at the domestic airport too, where more shops have been allowed to come up, doing nothing to enhance the comfort of passengers. At the international terminal where passengers have to wait for a long time before boarding, very often the air conditioning is off and the more serious problem is that there is no redress mechanism in place.

<b>The Civil Aviation Ministry is flooded with complaints regarding the poor passenger comforts and very little attention is being initiated by the Ministry. </b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Poor infrastructure liable for loss in aviation: Jet </b>
PTI | Mumbai
Posted online: September 22, 2007
<b>Infrastructural bottlenecks in airports force aircraft to hover in the skies for far hours, resulting in a loss of around $80 million to the industry every year, a top aviation industry</b> official said.

"Gaps in infrastructure lead to 5-10 per cent more flying time for aircraft, which means a cost of $80 million per annum to the airlines," Jet Airways Executive Director Saroj Datta said at a function to mark the 103rd birth anniversary of JRD Tata, leading industrialist and the first Indian to fly an aeroplane.

Jet Airways alone incurs a loss of about $25 million per annum, he added.

On challenges before the aviation industry, he highlighted the shortage of trained personnel, non -- availability of secondary airports and the competitive pressure on full service carriers to reduce fares on par with low-cost carriers.

Datta observed that the aviation turbine fuel (ATF) charges comprise 35-40 per cent of the operating cost for airlines and was higher compared to those in other countries.

"The cost of ATF in Delhi and Mumbai is $755 and $780 respectively as compared to $455 and $497 in Singapore and Dubai," he said.

Quoting estimates of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), an industry body, he said losses for the industry in fiscal 2006-07 was $500 million and in the current financial year, the industry is expected to bear similar losses.

He said air cargo operations, maintenance and repair apart from ground handling business were the growth opportunities for the industry. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>AAI approval for Mohali airport</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Chandigarh, November 15
In a significant decision for Punjab, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has formally approved the proposed Mohali international airport. The decision was conveyed to the Punjab government today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s office said.

In a communication to the Punjab government, the AAI said it had also approved the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the draft for which had been prepared by the state government. The AAI has further confirmed that the joint survey team which had conducted a feasibility study for an international airport in the region had firmed up the actual land requirement for the project. It has also finalised the master plan of the venture.

According to the findings of the survey team, an area of 300 acres has been fixed as the land required for completing the total facility. Keeping in mind future requirements, the development plan will provide for operating standard international flight carriers. The plan also includes the construction of parallel taxi track and extension of runway at the existing defence airbase, says the AAI communication.

The state government and the joint venture partner would coordinate with the Chandigarh Administration in the acquisition of the requisite land. The MoU will be signed by the GMADA (Greater Mohali Area Development Authority). The MoU will require a formal clearance from the union ministry of civil aviation.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->October 01, 2007
<b>Air India now flies Amritsar-London-New York </b>

Air India has begun operations from Amritsar to New York (JFK) via London (Heathrow) with four flights a week (on Tue, Thu, Sat and Sun), to serve the large Punjabi community settled in the UK and the USA. This is in addition to the five-flights-a-week service from Amritsar to Toronto via Birmingham.

The flights are being operated with B777-200ER aircraft with 8 First, 21 Business and 263 Economy class seat configuration.

Flight AI-111 departs Amritsar at 0405 hrs, arrives in Delhi at 0500 hrs, arrives in London (Heathrow) at 1130 hrs and arrives in New York (JFK) at 1605 hrs (all times local). On the return leg, flight AI-112 departs New York (JFK) at 1945 hrs, arrives in London (Heathrow) at 0730 hrs the next day, arrives in Delhi at 2235 hrs and arrives in Amritsar at 0040 hrs the following day.
<b>Six AI flights delayed, hours of agony for passengers </b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> 
New Delhi/Kozhikode, Nov 18: At least six Air India flights, five of them in Delhi, were delayed for several hours on Sunday, sparking anger and protests by many of the over a thousand passengers.

The Amritsar-Delhi-Birmingham-Toronto, Delhi-Abu Dhabi- Muscat, Delhi-Bangkok-Shanghai, Delhi-London-New York and Delhi-Dubai flights were delayed by five to 24 hours due to technical difficulties, shortage of pilots and flight duty time limitation.

The Air India express flight from Dubai arrived 24 hours behind schedule due to fog at Kozhikode airport this morning leading to protest by the <b>passengers, among whom was Kerala minister and Muslim league leader M K Muneer</b>.

<b>In Delhi, the passengers had a harrowing time since yesterday without food, water and sleep following hours of delay with Air India officials "hiding" to avoid passengers'</b> fury.

"I have been here since last evening... It is almost 24 hours." Md Aftab, a Lucknow resident, said.

He said the most frustrating part of his "long and bad experience" was that no Air India official was available to give the passengers a correct picture of the situation.

When some passengers, angry over the long delay, protested and wanted explanations, no senior Air India official came forward to pacify them.

"Only some very junior officials are present in the airport who has no information and authority," Jagdish Sharma, another passenger, said.

The Air India assistance booth, located at the departure lounge of the international airport, was totally deserted.

An AI spokesman claimed that the Delhi flights were delayed between one to five hours.

"Five Air India flights got delayed at the Delhi Airport owing to various reasons. The management while regretting the inconvenience caused to the passengers has decided to look into the technical reasons and also importantly the congestion at the check-in counters and unavailability of the bay that led to delay in departure of these flights," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by Air India said<b>, "flight hours of the pilot on duty were over and according to DGCA norms, he could not fly any longer. A shortage of pilots on international market is the reason we cannot have a spare set of pilots". </b>

<b>While the Dubai flight is delayed by nearly 24 hours, the Amritsar-Delhi-Birmingham-Toronto flight departed after about 12 hours.</b>

<b>The Delhi-Bangkok-Shanghai has left after five hours delay while Delhi-London-New York also left after delay of six hours, </b>airport sources said.

"I have decided not to fly again with Air India. They follow no rule, no regulations and have no standards. They offered no food, water and accommodation, a must for any air carrier to give to passengers in case of delay," A H Singh, a London resident, said. 

Air India is living upto its standard, one of the worst Airlines to fly.
<b>NRI dies as airport doc comes 'drunk on duty'</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The co-passenger – who does not wish to be named – says the lax attitude of paramedical staff and the airport authorities was shocking. "We call this an international airport. But this is not one. In an international airport you should get the service in two minutes,” he said.

If arriving late was not enough, the paramedic, Dr Upadhyay, allegedly reported drunk on duty.

"He was drunk and he tried to give mouth-to-mouth. He then called his assistant. She tried but nothing happened,” says the co-passenger.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
SOmeone here was prasing Indian Airport and aviation ministry, here is glaring example.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Doon airport set to open in Feb </b>
Sunil Kumar | Dehradun
The upgradation work at Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun and Pant Nagar airport in Udham Singh Nagar have been completed and are scheduled to start operations in February 2008. Besides, three airstrips at Naini Saini in Pithoragarh, Gochar in Chamoli and Chinyalisaur in Uttarkashi are also ready for operation. 

Talking to The Pioneer, State Tourism and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prakash Pant said, "The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said it would start operations at these airports by the last week of February or the first week of March." The State has already written to all the airlines, asking them to begin operations to Uttarakhand. So far, the State has received response from Indian airline, Deccan and Kingfisher airlines. After the renovation, Deccan will initially start with two flights a week while the other two airlines are yet to decide. Before the upgradation work, Indian, Jagson Airlines and Air Deccan were operating their flights from these airports.

"After the upgradation, the airports now have the capacity to handle landing of Airbus 320 and Boeing 787. The Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun essentially caters to the Gharwal region in the State, while the Pant Nagar Airport caters to the Kumanon region," Pant added.

Commenting on the need to extend helicopter operations in the State, Pant said, <b>"We want to extend the helicopter facility to the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand, ie, Gangotri, Yamnotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. We would also like to extend it to Hemkunth Sahib, the renowned religious pilgrimage site of the Sikhs. The Government will provide free water, security, power, and fire services to the helipads."</b>

Talks are on currently with Jagson Airlines, Prabhatam Aviation and Pawan Hans Helicopter Services. Of these Jagson Airlines has already shown its interest in the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, which the State is keen to promote through helitourism. The State Government has also signed a MoU with Gharwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and Pawan Hans Helicopter Services for developing religious tourism in the State.

At present the State has 64 halipads, of which 40 are being controlled by the State Government, while the remaining ones are under the control of the Indo- Tibetian Border Police Force (ITBP). Fifteen out of 40 State-owned helipads, are being upgraded with latest technology so that those who wish to enjoy the natural beauty of Uttarakhand but could not do so due to lack of air connectivity will be able to see the whole of Uttarakhand within one or two days.
New international airport to be inaugurated on March 14
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Fri, Feb 8 04:17 PM

Hyderabad, Feb 8 - A new international airport is almost ready here and will be formally inaugurated by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi March 14, two days before it becomes commercially operational.

The government had earlier invited Sonia Gandhi to inaugurate the airport March 16 but it announced late Thursday that the formal inauguration would be held two days earlier.

The Rs.24.78 billion ($601 million) Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is coming up at Shamshabad, about 25 km from here on the Hyderabad-Bangalore national highway.

The flight trials are scheduled next week. Sources in GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) said: 'Almost 96 percent of the work is complete and the remaining will be over before the end of February.'

The GHIAL authorities are working round-the-clock to give finishing touches to the upcoming facility.

The officials also made it clear that the existing airport at Begumpet in the heart of the city will be shut down once the new airport becomes operational.

The installation of equipments in the 70-metre-tall Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower is complete and it is set to be handed over to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is inspecting the facility to ensure they are compatible with international norms.

After month-long trials, the commercial operations will be shifted to the new airport.

Munich Airport has been entrusted with the responsibility of shifting the entire operations from the existing airport to the new airport.

'From 1 a.m. March 16, all flights will be diverted to Shamshabad airport,' an official source said.

The new airport incorporates the best of facilities in Oslo, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore airports and promises to take Indian airports to a new level.

GHIAL is a joint venture of GMR Group (63 percent), Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (11 percent), Airports Authority of India (13 percent) and the Andhra Pradesh government (13 percent).

In its initial phase, the airport will be capable of handling 12 million passengers and more than 100,000 tonnes of cargo per annum. The full capacity of the new airport is over 40 million passengers and one million tonnes of cargo in a year.

The 4,260-metre-long runway - India's longest for civil aviation - is A380 aircraft compatible and complete as so is the equally long parallel taxiway that can also be used for emergency take-offs.

The seven-storey passenger terminal building built by the China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) is spread over 100,000 square metres. The 42 parking bays, cargo building, apron and fuel farm are also ready.

The airport will have 60 check-in-counters with Common User Terminal Equipment (CUTE) and 16 self check-in kiosks. The 2,500-sqm complex will also have 12 contact boarding bridges, 45 immigration counters and extensive retail and shopping outlets.

The other special features include fuel supply system on open access basis, an airport village and a business hotel of 308 rooms near the passenger terminal building.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>PM to lay stone for National Flying Training Institute in Gondia district</b>
8 Feb, 2008, 1659 hrs IST, PTI

NAGPUR: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will lay the foundation stone for the establishment of Rajiv Gandhi National Flying Training Institute of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) at Birsi airport in Gondia.
<b>Now, fly New York-Delhi in just 13 hours! </b>

Matthew Schneeberger in New York

Air India on Friday launched its first non-stop flight from New York to Delhi.

This is Air India's second active non-stop flight to India from JFK International airport. Air India had started its non-stop service to Mumbai (Air India Flight 140, which also uses the B770-200LR) on August 1, 2007

Besides reducing the travel time to 13 hours, it also offers tickets at competitive rates.

"The flight tickets are priced very competitively around Rs 39,500 ($1,000) for an economy class return ticket. The prices for first class and executive class tickets vary due to promotional events, seasonal differences and reward programmes, "Air India marketing manager (USA and Canada) John Massey says.

Vikram, software engineer who works in Pennsylvania, USA, has not "been home in over four years," as he can't afford to waste time due to his tight work schedules.

But today he is happy to travel on Air India's maiden flight to New Delhi. "I only have 4 days. I will leave from India on Tuesday night," he says as he presents his bags and passport at the airport's check-in counter. "If I took a flight with connections, half of my time would be spent in transit."

Air India regional manager (USA and Canada) PS Rajagopal says, "With increased air travel to and from India, customers deserve the option to take a non-stop flight. The Indian community has always supported us; so we are thrilled to offer this new service."

The daily flight departs from JFK International Airport at 4:00 p.m. EST and arrives in Delhi next day at 4:30 p.m. IST, an estimated flight time of 13 hours.

The daily in-bound flight from Delhi -- Air India Flight 101 -- will leave at 12:30 a.m. IST and land same day in New York at 5:45 a.m. EST.

Massey confirms that the fleet's newest aircraft -- Boeing 777-200LR (longer range) -- will transport up to 238 passengers per flight (8 first class seats, 35 executive class seats and 195 economy class seats).

"The world's longest range commercial airplane," he says, "they are top of the line." "The Mumbai flight has got a great response. We are getting more first class and executive class customers," Massey explains.

Rajni Khanna who is travelling with her son Shiv says, "The direct flight is more convenient. It is always a hassle in London while take a connecting flight."

For Avtar Singh, a taxi-driver from Punjab, who lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children, the decision to take the new flight meant less money for a hassle free trip.

US carrier Continental Airlines offers the only other non-stop New York (Newark, NJ) to Delhi flight, which starts at $930 (around Rs 36,800) for an economy class return ticket.

Air India has been in operation since 1932 and flies to cities in Asia, North America, Europe, the Gulf Region and Africa.
<b>Air India plans to redefine biz class on India-US sector</b>
8 Feb, 2008

NEW DELHI: Air India plans to give foreign carriers a run for their money on the India-US sector, especially in the business class segment.

Besides launching the first non-stop service on New Delhi-New York sector, the airline is also offering a competitive fare (inclusive of taxes) of Rs 1.57 lakh (business class) and Rs 44, 967 (economy class).

Air India’s business class fare on this sector is cheaper than the ones offered by Continental Airlines, American Airlines and Delta.

Explaining the airline’s strategy on the route, Air India director (co-ordination) Jitender Bhargava said, “We have not replaced capacity on the India-US sector, rather we have added capacity to gain market share. On New Delhi-New York non-stop service, we have offered an introductory fare which will be reviewed later. Even if we revise our fares, keeping market conditions in mind, we will remain competitive yet premium.”

Of late, long-haul non-stop flights on the India-US sector have gained momentum as business executives travelling on the route don’t mind paying a little extra to save a few hours. After Mumbai and Delhi, Air India is planning to launch non-stop flights on the Bangalore-San Francisco route.

As compared to 35 services per week offered by the American carriers, Air India and Jet Airways operate 45 services per week on the India-US sector. While Jet Airways operates daily flights to the US via Brussels, Air India is focusing on providing non-stop service to differentiate itself.

Says executive director of the Bird Group, Ankur Bhatia, “As long as Air India is able to maintain its service standards, they will enjoy a good market share.” In the long-run, airfares might be affected due to Air India’s presence in the market, says an industry analyst.

After Gulf, which accounts for about 40% of India’s international traffic, the US is one of the most lucrative markets for Indian carriers.

India-US sector gets nearly 20% of India’s international traffic. “On economy seats, the airline will do well in the India-US sector as it is perceived as a cheaper option. As far as Delhi-New York direct flight is concerned, many business class travellers will prefer it as they will save time. If it continues to offer attractive business class airfares, other airlines may review their business class airfare strategy. The economy class fares, however, won’t be impacted much,” says Frederick Divecha, VP, marketing, SOTC.

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