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Civil Aviation
<b>BIAL procures airfield fire-fighting vehicles</b>
Feb 9, 2008

Bangalore : With just over seven weeks left for the Bengaluru International Airport to start commercial operations, the promoters of the green field airport BIAL have procured four state-of-the-art airfield fire fighting vehicles.

These crash fire vehicles termed as ‘Panthers’ have arrived from Austria and are most technologically advanced in its class with a special capability for off-road driving, and can attain speeds of up to 80 kmph in less than 30

With a capacity of 12,500 liter water and 1,500 liter foam compound, they are well equipped with long range monitors, bumper turrets that throw water/foam from a fixed monitor on the bumper, infra red cameras, reverse cameras and other fire fighting equipment.

The Panthers are armed with rescue equipment like breathing apparatus sets, fire proximity suits, hydraulic rescue tools and power saws apart from being fitted with R/T communications system and public address facilities.

As part of the operational readiness programme the Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) team is undergoing training exercises and have reached a high degree of operational readiness.

Other trial details at the airport include, commissioning of buildings, successful migration of airlines’ IT systems to the new airport and testing of check-in process via airline systems.

The basic trials are now in the concluding stages as the fuelling process has been successfully tested several times for capability and quantity of fuel required by the airlines.

The trainers of the ground handling agents has also commenced and training sessions for airport owned equipment and systems such as the passenger boarding bridges, airport safety and driving is being carried out.
<b>New airport in Hyderabad gets ready for takeoff</b>

Tue, Feb 12 10:50 AM

Hyderabad: The new international airport in the city is ready and the first trial run will take place on Tuesday. The first flight is scheduled to land at 4 pm, at the airport that is being touted as a traveler's paradise.

The Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad which has been open since the days of Nizam's rule will soon be consigned to history. The city is getting a new, modern replacement - the 2500 crore Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.

The airport will be equipped with the following.

A 70 meter high Air Traffic Control tower.

4,260-metre-long runway- India's longest, and capable of handling the world's largest aircraft-the Airbus A380.

4,260-metre taxiway for emergency takeoffs.

A seven-storey passenger terminal.

42 parking bays.

60 check-in counters.

An airport village.

A business hotel with 308 rooms.

And many shopping outlets.

In its initial phase, the airport will be capable of handling over one crore passengers and more than one lakh tonnes of cargo a year. And once the airport is completed, it will handle over four crore passengers and ten lakh tonnes of cargo a year.

The new airport will be commercially operational from March 16, and the first trial run of a passenger aircraft will take place on Tuesday.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Kingfisher looks set on Besting the Best</b>

<b>Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines took service levels in the Indian skies to cloud nine. And, this time, the airline is set to revolutionise international air travel.</b>

Kingfisher is again doing a first with its grand plans of pampering the economy class passengers on its international routes. Economy class fliers, on board Kingfisher, would be treated to their favourite vintage wine and drinks of their choice, that too, at a standing bar. Very few international carriers have a standing bar in the economy and business classes. So, it is for the first time that an Indian carrier is planning to introduce such a service in the economy class.

Kingfisher Airlines plans to add some premium to the economy class travel with this feature. “We have always maintained that we are in the hospitality business and not just the airline business. We aim to have a ‘wow’ impact with our services on international routes,” executive VP of Kingfisher Airlines, Hitesh Patel told ET.

“As we will be offering non-stop flights on international routes, the standing bar will allow the economy class passengers to walk around, stretch and have few drinks. We have got a fantastic cabin layout, a good seat pitch and an ipod charger. The gamut of services offered will be on a different level,” he added.

In a bid to jazz up the services, the airline is also planning to go one step further and add a social area to the standing bar in the Kingfisher first class. Domestic carriers, which have international operations, Jet Airways and Air India, do not have a standing bar in the first, business or economy class. Internationally, Singapore Airlines offers a standing bar in its premier economy class on the US routes.

Kingfisher Airlines plans to launch international operations in August 2008. It will launch daily non-stop flights from Bangalore to San Francisco and Newark in August. This will be followed by flights to Canada and Los Angeles from Bangalore. It will also connect Delhi and Mumbai to the US and UK.

Travelling overseas is increasingly becoming a luxurious experience with domestic carriers offering innovative services. For instance, Jet Airways offers a private suite with fully-flat bed, a personal amenity kit and a phased mood lighting system in its first class. Similarly, Air India offers seats that have been designed to offer a soft massage.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Udaipur gets new airport terminal</b>

On Sunday, 'city of lakes' Udaipur got a brand new airport terminal without any neta cutting the ribbon or flagging in the first flight.

The unveiling of the terminal, among the first of the 35 non-metros airports being modernised by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to be completed, without the mandatory VIP may have helped reduce waiting time for users to start flying in and out of the brand new Rs 80 crore terminal.

This will include the high and mighty who converge in Udaipur to attend aviation minister Praful Patel's daughter's wedding there over the weekend.

Operations shifted from the old to the new terminal on Sunday - which incidentally also happened to be Patel's 51st birthday. When contacted, AAI chairman K Ramalingam said: "We have started trial operations to check systems of the new terminal since Sunday and the place has been put in use."

The modernisation of Udaipur airport has been long overdue, especially because of the growing tourist traffic to Rajasthan. The runway at Udaipur is going to be extended to 9,000 feet in coming months and then this major tourist destination could be able to handle very large aircraft. At present, foreign charters land in the city using medium-sized aircraft like the A320s.

Incidentally, the AAI had recently prepared a list of projects for inauguration this year. "Patel's tenure has seen the maximum growth in aviation sector alongwith the focus on modernising infrastructure. So, it is only right he gets the credit for all the work done in terms of getting new and modern facilities initiated by him that is now ready or nearing completion," a minister's aide had said when the list was prepared some months back.

The new Udaipur terminal is a very prestigious project for the AAI. It is first of its ongoing 35 non-metro airports modernisation projects that is complete and ready for use before private players open new airports in Hyderabad and Bangalore in March. Trichy, Nagpur and Srinagar would be getting new terminals in a month or two.

Real reason apart, the general public may find the no-nonsense start a welcome change from the tradition of making people wait for some VVIP to inaugurate a completely ready project before they can start using it. A case in point is the recent controversy over the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->'Great investment scope in India's helicopter sector'
18 Feb, 2008

NEW DELHI: A great scope for investment exists in the helicopter sector in India but urgent steps are required to rapidly indigenise design and production of choppers, aviation experts from the services and the private sector said on Monday.

There was "large scope of investment" in indigenising imported systems in several areas, especially in communication and navigation systems, spares and parts, Col A K Suri of the Indian Army's Aviation Corps said here.

Addressing a seminar on helicopters at the ongoing DefExpo here, he said Army Aviation, which had an inventory of 250 choppers, was set to double by 2020. "In fact, growth is expected not only in the number of helicopters, but also their ancillary support systems."

Suri said great opportunities existed for the Indian industry as the Army Aviation Corps would need to upgrade fleet, carry out replacements, diversify and expand its support services. Army choppers operate in varied environments in the country -- from the high mountains to jungles and deserts.

The support services included radars, radio sets, runway lighting, visual aids and various meteorological and navigational devices, besides maintenance and repair facilities, he said, adding that the industry could invest in these areas in a major way.

At the seminar, the speakers, who included those from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and foreign chopper companies like Sikorsky, Bell and Augusta Westland, also stressed the need for rapid indigenisation of the entire sector.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Tatas tie up with Briley Group to offer Fractional ownership of jets in India</b>

India's Tata Group on Tuesday announced investing in 'BJETS', a business jet venture based on fractional ownership model, that placed orders for 50 aircraft worth over Rs 2,400 crore at the ongoing Singapore Airshow.

The Tata's Indian Hotels Company will partner Singapore's Briley Group in the business - Asia's first private jet company that would sell fractional ownership of these planes, primarily to corporate houses.

BJETS said that it had placed orders for 20 new Hawker jets worth over $450 million with options to buy 10 more, along with a firm order for 20 Citation CJ2 Plus business jets valued at $150 million.

While the Briley Group is the majority shareholder in BJETS, the Indian Hotels Company, which runs the Taj Group of hotels, is the other "significant shareholder", BJETS CEO Mark Baier told reporters from Singapore.

"We have placed orders for 50 business jets worth over $600 million or Rs 2,400 crore to be delivered over a period of five years," he said.

Baier said the first 15 business jets would be delivered by the end of this year.

Fractional ownership allows a member to acquire a fraction of an aircraft and pay a fraction of the fixed fees and yet have access to an entire fleet of identical planes. All aspects of running the aircraft are handled by the operator and the owner has to do nothing more than schedule his flight.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Fifth Long Range plane enters Air India service</b>

NEW DELHI: National carrier Air India on Wednesday received its fifth Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft, which would be deployed for ongoing non-stop services to the United States from New Delhi and Mumbai.

As part of its policy of naming the Boeing 777 fleet after States, the new aircraft has been christened ‘Haryana.’ The four aircraft received earlier have been named Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Gujarat, and deployed to operate non-stop services between Mumbai and New York, and Delhi and New York.

The aircraft was delivered to Air India at the Boeing headquarters in Seattle, an Air India spokesperson said, adding that the B777-200LRs are equipped with all modern passenger amenities such as flat beds in First and Executive Class and state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system offering a wide choice of programmes.

A unique feature is a nose wheel camera that allows a passenger to see the aircraft taxiing and taking off while sitting inside the plane.

The 238-seater aircraft will have eight seats in First Class, 35 in Executive Class and 195 in Economy Class.
<b>Kochi international airport may get second runway</b>

T'puram, March 19, 2008

Kerala has asked the central government to grant permission to more airlines to operate from the Kochi international airport, Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan said in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

"Several airlines have approached us to operate from Kochi. We have asked the centre (central government) to give necessary sanctions," Achuthanandan, who is also the chairman of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), told the state assembly.

"We will also look into the need for having a second runway at the airport," he said.

Thomas Chandy, a first time legislator, moved a calling attention motion regarding services at the airport, particularly baggage handling.

"Getting luggage is a big problem and after inquiries it has been found out that the employees handling the baggage section are poorly paid and hence they have no incentive to work. The air conditioners do not function properly," Chandy said.

Chandy, a Kuwait-based businessman, said he uses the CIAL to fly abroad two to three times a month and the service is appallingly poor. He said several airlines are on the verge of stopping their service and the outstanding dues from various airlines have piled up.

Replying to Chandy's complaints, Achuthanandan said the ground handling at the airport is done by Air India. "I am told they are doing a ok job," he said.

According to latest figures, CIAL is the fourth biggest airport in the country after Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, in terms of number of passengers using the airport.

Currently 24 different national and international airlines operate from the CIAL.
<b>Hyderabad's new airport takes off</b>
Mar 23, 2008

Hyderabad, PTI: A Lufthansa flight touched down in rainy weather at the brand new Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad on the city outskirts shortly after midnight tonight, kickstarting its operations after a week's delay.

Passengers and crew of Lufthansa flight LH 752 with 276 on board were accorded a welcome by GMR group Chairman G M Rao as the aircraft landed on time at Shamsabad at 12:30 am, after which they were treated to a live performance by ‘pattu’ folk artistes of Andhra Pradesh.

RGIA was illuminated and adorned with buntings for the occasion and the staff were in festive mood, despite rains pummeling the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad since the evening.

The switchover due on March 16 had to be postposed following a request from some private airlines for more time besides “operational reasons” such as shifting of equipment.

Domestic operations will commence with a Spice Jet flight from Ahmedabad at 12:50 am followed by five more arrivals and departures, including Air India flight 601 from Mumbai.

<b>RGIA is billed as the first “Greenfield airport”, being built from scratch, and boasts of “world class” facilities that would help put the twin cities on the global circuit.

The Rs 2,500 crore airport spread over in 5,500 acres is a joint venture of GMR group, which has 63 per cent stake, Malaysia Airport Holdings (11 per cent), Airport Authority of India and Andhra Pradesh government (13 per cent each).</b>

It also claims to have the tallest air traffic control (ATC) tower in the country at 75 metres and Asia’s longest runway at 4.26 km.
<b>GMR of HIAL fame signs pact with Turkish govt. to upgrade airport</b>

<b>Having already built a new airport at Hyderabad, the infrastructure major GMR Group along with other consortium partners on Thursday signed an agreement with the Turkish government to expand an airport at Istanbul, the commercial hub of the country.</b>

The GMR-led consortium will be developing facilities for trebling the passenger capacity of the Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SGAI) at Istanbul with an investment of 250 million euros (about Rs 1,600 crore), a company release said.

In addition to making an initial investment to increase the capacity of the airport to 10 million passengers per annum in 30 months, the consortium will pay 1.92 billion euros of concession fee spread over 20 years to the Turkish government.

<b>It will recover the money through various aviation and related activities, upgradation of the Sabiha Gocken Airport, named after a woman combat pilot and adopted daughter of the father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, will be the first major overseas infrastructure project which will be undertaken by an Indian company in the aviation sector.</b>

"This project will increase the international exposure of the GMR Group...It will also serve as the ideal reference for entering into other European countries," GMR international division chief executive officer Ranjit Murugason said.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> <b>UPA pandering to greedy capitalists</b>
Hilda Raja
The present crisis in the airline industry has put the spotlight on capitalism and monopolies. These two are closely linked. The country’s work-force today hardly has any bargaining power. As a result Jet Airlines could lay-off 850 employees without prior notice. It is a different matter that those employees were all taken back after the intervention of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray. But the Union Government’s reaction to the same was disgusting.

<b>Aviation Minister Praful Patel did little more than term the largescale retrenchment as something that was done in “bad taste”. In fact, the UPA Government chose to completely wash its hands off the matter by stating that it was not the business of the Government to interfere in the policy making of private entrepreneurs. </b>

I say, if the Government is not supposed to look after the welfare of the people, then what is the business of the Government? Are Mr Vijay Mallya and Mr Naresh Goyal functioning in a kingdom of their own with no accountability? Are they free to snatch away the livelihood of hundreds of people? Do they have the constitutional right to hire and fire employees on their whims and fancies while the Government remains a mute spectator? This is totally absurd and if things continue like this then India will surely be on the fast track to becoming a banana republic.

The Government is duty-bound to safeguard labour rights and make sure that the country’s work-force is not exploited by greedy capitalists. A Government which cannot do the same has no mandate to remain in power. It is pathetic that Mr Praful Patel even tried to rationalise the injustice to Jet employees on the ground that airlines were facing negative growth. If that be so then according to the same logic we should downsize the huge Government Ministries in order to save unnecessary expenses.

With high inflation and rising unemployment and an inefficient Government to boot, our country is speeding towards a great economic disaster. It is clear that the UPA only represents the rich and the gaggle of capitalists that have monopolised industry. Thus, it has lost the political and moral right to preach to the aam admi or ask for its vote. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Most of you must have travelled from different airports of the country. How safe do you feel about the Aviation security in India? Do you think the security is good enough to thwart another IC 814 type incident? With bigger commercial airports coming up, do you think the CISF will be able to manage the security as it exists now? Do you think the crew is sufficiently trained and alert for hijack attempts in the air? How has been your experience, particularly at smaller airports when compared to some of the best airports of the world? If we are sensitive to the insecurity we need to put our thoughts together so that the relevant agencies get the relevant feedback. Let us start a good discussion on the subject.
there is only one airport worth the name in India, the new Shamsabad airport of Hyderabad. Why is it called Rajiv Gandhi airport is a different thing. Mayawati dreams of having an international airport of the same scale in Greater Noida, but UPA govt. is not approving it.
You can bribe anyone, that will give you zippo security. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Later I will merge this thread with civil aviation thread.
Ramana, the level of security I've seen at Mumbai airport is excellent. It's better at the domestic terminal compared to international terminal. Don't get me wrong, international terminal is good but gives you an impression that staff out there are to make a quick buck which goes to what Mudy said.

Domestic terminal is just a class in itself. Had once counted about 7 different check points before boarding plane. A baby's nail-cutter which made it through 6 different airports around the globe was detected and confisticated <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo--> much to baby's glee <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Well, one bullet in my purse travel with me for so long all over world. Yes, even pepper spray faced no problem in any Indian Airport. Ofcourse manicure kit pass through with just a nice smile. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Great to get such views. But I think we rely too much on physical checks and less on technology. Whenever I travel through an airport, I always feel, there is scope for some mischief, even in the sterile area, if some one is really keen. Lot of security staff would believe whatever you say. This can be dangerous.
Israel, they have best airport security. They have very good interview process, they study body language etc.

In Indian Airports (Palam-Delhi, Raipur, Nagpur), I was shocked when they let me carry pepper spray. I was sitting in a flight where couple ministers and MLA were on board. In Airport transport bus, former Foreign minister Jaswant Singh and couple of high profile people were sitting or standing.
I give Indian Airport security Zippo grade.

Airport staff look for drug or antique smugglers only, so that they can get cut. Lower staff look for smaller cut, higher up look for bigger bribe.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Nov 19 2008, 12:36 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Nov 19 2008, 12:36 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Israel, they have best airport security. They have very good interview process, they study body language etc.

In Indian Airports (Palam-Delhi, Raipur, Nagpur), I was shocked when they let me carry pepper spray. I was sitting in a flight where couple ministers and MLA were on board. In Airport transport bus, former Foreign minister Jaswant Singh and couple of high profile people were sitting or standing.
I give Indian Airport security Zippo grade.

Airport staff look for drug or antique smugglers only, so that they can get cut. Lower staff look for smaller cut, higher up look for bigger bribe.

Exactly. The point is, we must rely less on human checks and more on technology, though not completely. Our system of scanning is out dated. We need to move on and acquire better machines. You will surprised that some of the smaller airports particularly in N India have either one or two scanners, which are half the time defective. Physical checks of baggage are not only time consuming but also messy affairs. Israel, I heard, is the best in this business.
Let me give you an interesting info. In India 23 categories of people are exempted from pre-embarkation security checks. Remember our former def min G Fernandez was frisked when he went to US? We don't do that to a lot of people including foreign ministers of cabinet rank. First 22 are listed as designations from President, PM, VP.....etc., 23rd is not a category but a name. It is Mr. Robert Vadra. How do you like it? What is your response to this?

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