The first test flight was flown at Goa’s Mopa International Greenfield Airport on Monday under the supervision of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials. The officials utilised an IndiGo aircraft for the purpose, which taxied down on the runway.
Mopa International Airport has been developed by GMR Airports Limited subsidiary GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL).
Recently, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that the work of the new Mopa Greenfield International Airport will be completed by October 23 this year.
The airport has been developed by GMR Airports Limited subsidiary GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL). It is based on public private partnership (PPP) model, based on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis. This airport will be a full-service airport catering to both domestic and international passengers besides providing freight services.
"Today a commercial flight of Indigo Airlines A320 aircraft, which came from Mumbai onboard DGCA officials, successfully landed at Mopa Airport new runway." Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Twitter.
The airport offers facilities like an integrated passenger terminal building, cargo terminal, emergency services, flight catering, vehicle parking, reserved services and aircraft fuelling infrastructure among others. Experts believe that the airport will bolster demand for second homes in the coastal state.
First test flight lands at Mopa International Airport.
Savills India was quoted as saying by news agency ANI, “One of the reasons for the interest in Goa is that the state has made significant progress in the last couple of years.”
Before Mopa airport became functional, all national and international flights for Goa were handled at the Dabolim airport, which is also a naval base.
Only 70 flights land at the Dabolim airport daily since no flight landing is allowed between 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. After the Mopa airport becomes functional, the number of flights landing in Goa is likely to go up to 150.
ALSO READ - 75% of work on the international greenfield airport at Mopa has now been completed
(With Inputs from Business Today)
European Airlines cancelled half of the flights scheduled for Paris on Friday, September 16 and many others that would have flown over France, as a strike by air traffic controllers imposed the latest round of disruption on European air travel.
More than 400 flights departing from or arriving at Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly airports had been cancelled, and about 200 had been delayed, by midday on Friday, according to FlightAware, which provides flight tracking data. Hundreds of flights to and from Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux and Toulouse had also been cancelled or delayed.
”It is inexplicable that thousands of European citizens/visitors will have their travel plans unfairly disrupted by yet another French ATC (air traffic control) strike,” Ryanair said in a statement. The travel plans of 80,000 passengers had been affected when it had cancelled 420 flights, mainly intended to fly over France, the airline added.
More than 400 flights departing from or arriving at Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly airports had been cancelled, and about 200 had been delayed, by midday on Friday
Strikes and staff shortages in the past few months have forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights, dashing hopes for a sizzling first summer following widespread COVID-19 lockdowns, with disruption continuing into the autumn.
Air France said on Wednesday, September 14 that due to the then impending strike it would operate only 45% of its short and medium-range flights and 90% of its long-haul flights.
”Everything is very quiet, as the passengers had been warned and did not go to the airports,” a spokesperson of Groupe ADP, operator of the Parisian airports said. The spokesperson added that airlines had tended to cut short and medium services rather than long ones.
Low-cost carrier EasyJet said it had cancelled 76 flights due to the strike.
Aviation authority DGAC asked airlines to halve their Friday flight schedules. Air traffic control union SNCTA in a statement cited inflation and its demand for more staff members as reasons for the walkout.
Low-cost carrier EasyJet said it had cancelled 76 flights due to the strike. British Airways said it had made a small number of changes to its short-haul schedule and is offering rebooking and refund options to customers whose flights have been cancelled.
Major airports in neighbouring countries also felt the impact, with Spanish airport operator AENA saying it had been forced to cancel 65 flights.
Disruption was also expected on Monday, September 19 as London's Heathrow airport said some flights would be cancelled or delayed to keep airspace silent during events to mark the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
In late July, Lufthansa Airlines cancelled virtually all its flights in and out of Frankfurt and Munich over 48 hours after around 3,000 employees staged a strike for better wages.
In Europe, strikes over the summer have disrupted travel plans, just as the end of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in demand for air travel.
ALSO READ - Lufthansa and the pilots’ union reach a deal in wage dispute; strike averted
In late July, Lufthansa Airlines cancelled virtually all its flights in and out of Frankfurt and Munich over 48 hours after around 3,000 employees staged a strike for better wages. The strike left more than 130,000 travellers without flights.
Companies have also had to contend with labour shortages, after having laid off baggage handlers and ground crews when air travel was grounded because of the pandemic. Job vacancies among airport staff have led to long lines at airports and have caused flight cancellations, delays and frustration.
(With Inputs from Reuters, and The New York Times)
Civil aviation ministry pushing to enhance airlines’ credit limit under ECLGS
Alarmed by the weak financial state of Indian airlines, the civil aviation ministry is pushing to enhance the credit limit to them under the government’s Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), According to a report published by The Economic Times.
Civil aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal last week wrote to the finance ministry, asking that under the scheme, airlines be allowed to avail of additional debt of up to 100% of their outstanding credit, subject to a cap of INR 1,500 crore.
“Last three years have been very challenging for the civil aviation sector. Just when the aviation sector was returning to normalcy, the airlines have been hit by an unprecedented rise in jet fuel prices. Jet fuel is a major component of airline operating costs. Further, the devaluation of INR from USD 70 to USD 80 has aggravated the situation."Rajiv Bansal, Civil Aviation Secretary
Reasoning why an enhanced credit line is important for airlines, Bansal said an unprecedented rise in jet fuel price and devaluation of the rupee against the dollar had increased their operating cost.
The ECLGS scheme, announced in 2020, has been designed to provide collateral-free, government-guaranteed loans to mitigate the financial distress caused by Covid on businesses.
Just like other contact-intensive sectors, companies in the aviation sector could refer the highest credit outstanding on any of the three reference dates of February 29, 2020, March 31, 2021, or January 31, 2022, to avail of funding under the scheme.
Civil aviation ministry pushing to enhance airlines’ credit limit under ECLGS
The aviation industry is facing severe funding roadblocks even as skies are opening up and the impact of Covid-19 is on the wane. Loans for Indian airlines have dried up as banks have become cautious to lend to the sector.
The programme has raised loans for eight companies in the industry, including SpiceJet and Go First. SpiceJet has received a guarantee of INR 127.52 crore, while Go First received INR 25.65 crore from the programme.
While market leader IndiGo has been able to tap banks to raise loans due to its strong cash position, it has become difficult for smaller airlines like SpiceJet and Go First to get loans from banks due to their stressed balance sheets.
ALSO READ - SpiceJet set to receive funds through ECGLS, an extension of up to 3 months for AGM’22
SpiceJet is likely to receive around INR 225 crore next week as a part of the ECLGS
SpiceJet is likely to receive around INR 225 crore next week as a part of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS). The funds will be used to clear statutory dues and lessor payments. SpiceJet had applied for INR 280 crore loans under the ECLGS.
Launched by the central government as a special scheme in wake of Covid-19 in 2020, the programme intended to provide guarantee coverage to banks and NBFCs to enable them to extend emergency credit to various industries to meet their working capital requirements.
Under ECLGS, an aviation sector company can get a loan of up to 50% of its total credit outstanding across all lending institutions. However, the amount borrowed by the company can not be more than INR 400 crore.
(With Inputs from The Economic Times)
Tata Sons Ltd, the holding company of the Tata group, plans to raise USD 4 billion to infuse fresh capital into Air India and refinance costly debt, according to a report by Mint, citing two people directly aware of the matter.
Tata plans to raise funds through a mix of equity and hybrid debt to refinance a part of Air India’s debt and revamp the airline, the people told Mint, requesting anonymity. Tata Sons acquired the airlines in October last year at an enterprise value of USD 2.3 billion from the government.
“The Tata group will soon start the process of hiring investment advisers, although informal discussions with a few foreign lenders and some private equity funds are already underway," one of the people told Mint.
Tata Sons to raise USD 4 billion to infuse fresh capital into Air India
“The debt refinancing portion will be relatively easier as lenders within Tata’s existing banking relationships will step in," the second person told Mint. “The equity component of the transaction may take a bit longer given that globally, the number of private equity funds that invest in airline business are relatively few," the person added.
Spokespeople for Tata Sons did not respond to an emailed query by Mint on the fundraising plan.
Last month, another report stated that Tata Sons will likely make a provision for INR 2,600 crore as accumulated losses for AirAsia India airlines.
Tata Sons will likely make a provision for INR 2,600 crore as accumulated losses for AirAsia India airlines.
ALSO READ - Tata Sons likely to merge the losses of AirAsia India with Air India before the possible merger
CCI in June this year approved Tata Group-owned Air India’s proposal to fully acquire the equity share capital of low-cost carrier AirAsia India. Tata Sons, which majorly owns AirAsia India with a shareholding of 83.67% and AirAsia Investment Limited controls the rest of the stake in the budget carrier.
Reportedly, according to the latest figures, Air India’s domestic market share shrank to 10.2% in January 2021, just after Tata Sons completed the acquisition, from 11.6% in January 2020.
Air India’s domestic market share shrank to 10.2% in January 2021, just after Tata Sons completed the acquisition, from 11.6% in January 2020.
In July, Air India’s market share further shrank to 8.4%, while market shares of Vistara and AirAsia India, the Tata group’s other two airlines, stood at 10.4% and 4.6%, respectively, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Go First and SpiceJet’s market share stood at 8.2% and 8%, respectively.
In July, IndiGo, India’s largest carrier, had a domestic market share of 58.8% as against 56.9% in June. Vistara flew 1.01 million passengers, and Air India flew 810,000 passengers in July.
“The fund infusion is crucial for Air India’s operational efficiency to regain market share. The fund will be used to bring in new aircraft and offer differentiated customer service initiatives, which will attract passengers," said the first person.
As part of its fleet enlargement plan, Air India has determined to permit its pilots to fly until they’re 65.
ALSO READ - Airbus, Boeing compete to get Air India’s deal
Tata is undertaking an overhaul and expansion of Air India and its unit Air India Express, according to the two people, and is about to close orders for around 200 narrow-body A320 Neo jets and widebody aircraft. These are likely to be delivered by the beginning of next fiscal.
ALSO READ - Air India plans to let its pilots fly until the age of 65
As part of its fleet enlargement plan, Air India has determined to permit its pilots to fly until they’re 65. The determination was made public on July 29. DGCA permits pilots to fly until the age of 65, whereas the retirement age at Air India as a public sector firm was 58 years.
(With Inputs from Mint)
A Mumbai-bound flight of Vistara returned to Delhi after a "whistling" sound was heard on the right side of the Boeing B737 aircraft cockpit, a DGCA official said.
The DGCA ( Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has ordered a probe into the incident even though no structural deficiency was observed during the preliminary ground inspection of the plane.
The airlines - a joint venture between Tata and Singapore Airlines Limited, confirmed the return of its Mumbai flight UK 951 back to Delhi, saying that the pilot decided to do so after a technical snag was detected shortly after its take-off.
Vistara has a fleet size of 51 aircraft.
An alternate aircraft was immediately arranged to fly the passengers to their destination.
Vistara operated its B737-800 aircraft with registration VT-TGB while operating flight UK 951, which was involved in air turnback to Delhi as a whistling sound was heard from the right side of the cockpit.
The Tata Group also owns Air India beside Vistara its low-cost international arm Air India Express and it holds a majority stake in low-cost airline AirAsia India.
ALSO READ - Technical snag on Vistara flight
Alliance Air has assured pilots that restoration of salaries to the pre-COVID level will be discussed by its board later this month after a section of the airline's pilots went on strike on Friday, September 2.
The pilots' strike, which resulted in the cancellation of various flights, was called off late on Friday, September 2 after the airline told them that the salary issues will be looked into, according to a source in the know of the developments.
ALSO READ - Alliance Air pilots go on strike over salary issues
Alliance Air, owned by the government, operates around 100 flights daily. It has a fleet of 21 aircraft, including 19 ATR aircraft and 2 Dornier planes.
Alliance Air to hold a board meeting to reinstate pilot salaries
Alliance Air currently connects 48 destinations within India. Pre Covid-19, the airline had been flying to 62 destinations, including international destinations such as Jaffna in Sri Lanka.
In internal communication, Alliance Air CEO Vineet Sood told pilots that the airline has partially restored their salaries in April.
The carrier is considering further restoration of salaries from September onward and the board will discuss the matter during its meeting scheduled for September 16, as per the communication. One of the pilots' demands is the restoration of salaries to the pre-COVID level.
"Difficult decisions have been taken in these distressed times, which I strongly believe were necessary to keep us afloat and I am proud that all of you have contributed towards the cause and that is the reason Alliance Air has survived and is on a gradual path to recovery.With respect to salary restoration, we have already reinstated salary partially in the month of April 2022 and are considering further restoration of salary from September 2022 onwards for which the Board meeting is scheduled on September 16, 2022."Vineet Sood, CEO, Alliance Air
However, the airline is still in losses, despite various measures it has taken to improve its financial health of the company. Despite all odds, he has ensured that monthly salary is paid on the 1st of every month consistently to generate the required confidence in employees.
After the disinvestment of Air India to the Tata Group last year, Alliance Air is the sole carrier left with the central government. The Centre is preparing to also sell Alliance Air to a private player.
Alliance Air has a fleet of 21 aircraft, including 19 ATR aircraft and 2 Dornier planes.
He said this is a financial decision and requires approval of the Board. "We are relentlessly working for a positive outcome," he added.
In the wake of the pandemic, the salaries were cut by 60% and till now, the pay has not been fully restored, the source said. Alliance Air is yet to state the pilots' strike or salary issues.
Alliance Air is currently the last government-owned airline in India after Air India was sold off. Air India has gradually restored some salaries since April and has said that it may also reinstate other crew allowances.
ALSO READ - Centre begins work on privatisation of Alliance Air & other Air India subsidiaries