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Old June 18th, 2005, 06:37 AM   #181
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Air space to explode with 1.6 lakh cheap seats daily
Girish Rao
17 June 2005
The Economic Times

BANGALORE: The low-cost airline market is simply exploding with competition offering travellers a never before opportunity to fly. In fact, over 200 planes are expected to be jostling for space in the domestic budget carrier space offering some 1,60,000 seats every day over the next five years going by current pace of expansion and launch of new airlines.

The latest entrant, IndiGo, promoted by travel services company Interglobe and former US Airways CEO Rakesh Gangwal, will get airborne between this November and February '06, depending on its aircraft delivery schedule. The budget airline roll-call currently comprises Air Deccan, Kingfisher and Spicejet. On the cards are MagicAir, Go Airlines and now IndiGo.

The Delhi-based IndiGo, which has just signed up for 100 A320 planes with a list price of $6bn, will be led by an expat manager. Interglobe head Rahul Bhatia told ET that IndiGo will induct 18/20 planes within two years and give a pan-India coverage. It is rolling out with an initial seed capital of Rs 350-400 crore.

Typically, the airline will seek to induct one plane every month. If the arrivals start before November, the airline will take to the skies before winter fully sets in. Alternately it will wait for the fog season in Delhi to end before commencing early next year. Mr Bhatia said the top management team has been identified and will be brought on board within a few weeks. Mr Gangwal, who is currently chairman-president of Worldspan, will play the role of chief mentor and continue to operate out of the US.

While the Airbus planes will be deployed in an all economy configuration like other carriers in the budget space, the number of seats have not been firmed up as yet. Air Deccan offers 180 seats on its A320s while Kingfisher has 174 seats. Indigo will sell food on board.

Interglobe has also recently unveiled plans to foray into the hospitality sector by putting together a joint venture company with European chain Accor. It proposes to introduce budget brand Ibis across 25 locations in India over the next eight years at an investment of Rs 850 crore.
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Old June 18th, 2005, 06:41 AM   #182
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Paris 2005 Air Show
Jet Orders Show Growth Potential Of Indian Market

Airbus Gets $6 Billion Deal From IndiGo
Sales Flurry Offers Lift to Plane Makers

By John Larkin in Mumbai and Daniel Michaels in Paris
17 June 2005
The Wall Street Journal Europe

A spate of jet orders by Indian airlines at this week's Paris Air Show underscores the big growth potential of India's billion-person market in the wake of the recent deregulation of the country's skies.

On Thursday, new Indian low-cost airline IndiGo ordered 100 aircraft from European plane maker Airbus in a deal valued at $6 billion, or <euro>5 billion, at list prices. The IndiGo order was one of three placed this week by Indian carriers, which have stolen the limelight at the Paris Air Show and helped shore up confidence in the prospects of aircraft makers and the global air-travel market. Separately, the government of India is in the market for a major purchase of fighter jets and is being avidly wooed by defense contractors at the show.

Jet Airways, India's largest private carrier, ordered a total of 30 planes Tuesday from Airbus and U.S.-based rival Boeing Co., in deals with an estimated catalog value of $4.3 billion. A day later, Kingfisher Airlines, started up by liquor baron Vijay Mallya and named after his most popular brand of beer, ordered 15 aircraft valued at $3 billion, including five Airbus A380 superjumbos, on top of a smaller order earlier this year.

In April, state-owned international carrier Air India ordered 35 long-range aircraft valued at $5.8 billion at catalog prices. The actual value of each of the deals is likely to be lower, due to discounts.

The spending spree by Indian airlines has been sparked by the recent deregulation measures, which are making it easy for the country's growing middle class to fly, both domestically and internationally.

"Everyone is talking about China," said John Leahy, chief commercial officer of Airbus. "The biggest growth story we see is India. We are pleased the government is opening up" the aviation market.

Airbus is 80% owned by European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. and 20% by BAE Systems PLC.

IndiGo, which will be run by Indian travel and technology company InterGlobe Enterprises, is slated to start up in coming months. The carrier is one of several low-cost airlines to make their debuts in what is potentially one of the world's largest aviation markets.

The IndiGo deal with Airbus "is a mind-blowing order," said Kapil Kaul, who heads the New Delhi office of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, a Sydney-based consultancy. "It shows that the Indian aviation story is one that can only move forward."

The number of domestic passengers grew 25% in the financial year ended March 31. Mr. Kaul believes it will rise 30% annually over the next five years to reach 50 million passengers.

International travel to and from India is soaring at a 20% annual clip, as the Indian government allots more flights into India to foreign airlines. That growth is likely to accelerate, analysts said, in the wake of an agreement this year to lift restrictions on flights between India and the U.S.

The rapid growth in India is making the world's second-most-populous country a key sales battleground for Airbus and Boeing, even though its aviation sector is still dwarfed by that of the most populous country, China.

India, Mr. Kaul said, only has 192 jet airliners. In contrast, the U.S. has more than 6,000 planes despite having less than one-third India's population. Southwest Airlines alone has 429 aircraft. Mr. Kaul said India will add more than 300 aircraft over the next five years.

India broke the monopoly of Air India and its sister domestic carrier, Indian Airlines, by allowing private competition in the mid-1990s. Since then, Jet Airways has grabbed more than 40% of the domestic market. This year, New Delhi permitted Jet and rival airline Air Sahara to compete with Air India on routes to Singapore, Malaysia and London. Low-cost airlines like Air Deccan have also been successful.

But despite policy changes, India's airport infrastructure faces a chronic shortage of international-standard runways, taxiways, parking bays and baggage-loading areas -- compromising India's ability to cope with booming demand, analysts said.

Moreover, a dearth of qualified pilots hampers airlines as they try to expand into new routes. Mr. Kaul said India has 2,500 pilots and needs as many as 4,000 new ones by 2010.

The Indian government is spending billions of dollars to upgrade the main gateway airports at New Delhi and Mumbai and to build a host of airports at smaller cities.

But there are concerns the sector's growth is getting out of control. Dinesh Keskar, Boeing's vice president in India, said India has a promising future as a market, but the glut of air-show orders is out of line with what the infrastructure can handle.

"We always believed India was a sleeping tiger, but it has awakened too quickly and too much," he said. He said the IndiGo order for 100 airplanes from rival Airbus "makes no sense at all, and we will not do a deal like that because the country's infrastructure is in no position to handle it."

If India manages to fix its infrastructure bottlenecks, said Kevin O'Connor, regional head of transport research at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Hong Kong, it will be able to leverage the spending power of its middle class. "The potential of the market is huge," he said.

---

J. Lynn Lunsford in Paris contributed to this article.
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Old June 18th, 2005, 09:16 PM   #183
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Air India begins New Delhi-Dhaka-London flight

DHAKA, June 18 (Reuters) - India's state airlines Air India [AI.UL] on Saturday launched a new route, flying from New Delhi to Dhaka, then to Kolkata and London.

It will operate six flights on the Delhi-London route every week, Air India officials in Dhaka said.

This is the third long haul flight of the international flag carrier launched from Delhi in the past three months. The other two were Delhi-Frankfurt-los Angeles and Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto.

Currently, Bangladesh airlines Biman operates two weekly flights to New Delhi, while Biman and Indian Airlines operate several flights between Dhaka and Kolkata daily.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 06:57 AM   #184
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India on aircraft buying spree as budget travel takes off

NEW DELHI, June 19 (AFP) - Indian companies were among the biggest spenders at the Paris air show, indicating a dramatic expansion in its aviation industry fuelled by the budget travel boom, officials say.

Indian companies splurged a total of 13 billion dollars on 150 new aircraft at Le Bourget, according to figures released by rivals Airbus and Boeing.

All the planes on order are intended for the fleets of new or future low-cost carriers, according to press reports in India.

Heading the list was an order for 100 single-aisle A320s, valued at six billion dollars, by future airline Indigo, while new carrier Kingfisher Airlines ordered five of the new A380 superjumbos, five A350s and five long-haul A330s in a deal worth three billion dollars.

Around half-a-dozen new Indian carriers have launched services in the past year, some offering fares as low as two dollars between key city destinations as competition hots up.

According to plane manufacturers, India is the next big thing after neighbouring China.

"We are still looking at China, but India is the next big story," Airbus sales chief John Leahy said, noting "a dramatic expansion" in the Indian market.

With the purchases at the Paris air show, Indian carriers have in recent months committed themselves to buying over 350 new planes with a list price of 26 to 27 billion dollars, according to India's Economic Times newspaper.

It said the industry was being spurred by the India's booming information technology sector.

India launched its open-skies policy in the 1990s, allowing private players to enter the domestic airline market previously dominated by state-run carriers.

"The new low-cost Indian carriers have triggered a burst of activity in the aviation industry on the employment, travel and aircraft acquisition front," said Dinesh Keskar, vice president of trading in Boeing, at a recent press conference.

"I estimate that India will need to invest 35 billion dollars in new aircraft purchases over the next 20 years," he added.

State-owned Indian Airlines and private operators Jet Airways and Sahara command the lion's share of the domestic market but will face increasing competition from low-cost carriers like Air Deccan, Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet and Magic Air, which is to be launched in September.

SpiceJet, which has blue-chip investors including Goldman Sachs and Citibank, has two leased Boeing 737-800 planes and has ordered 20 more from US maker Boeing.

"The hope is we will be profitable in six months," SpiceJet chief executive Mark Winders told AFP.

Despite the boom in the industry, many are sceptical of the budget airlines' long-term survival chances.

"Several carriers have announced their intentions to buy planes but the orders are based on future prospects and initial public offerings (IPOs)," said Gopi Krishna, of the French Office for the Export of Aviation Material.

"What happens if they fail to raise the money in the capital markets? I would say the manufacturers need to see the intentions to buy planes translate into real orders before uncorking champagne," he added.

Analysts are worried that India's creaky airport infrastructure will create problems, but for now millions of Indians along with global plane manufacturers are riding the boom.

Indian Aviation Minister Praful Patel has promised the government will upgrade 80 airports to cope with an expected 20 percent annual passenger growth.

"If the number of passengers grow to 50 million of India's one billion population, the number of aircraft required will be mind-boggling," Patel said.

"We will need to spruce up the infrastructure to keep pace with this scale of growth."

Around 15 million people travel by air annually in India against three million passengers who fly daily in the United States -- even though the US population is around one-quarter that of India.

The number of Indian passengers is expected to grow to 50 million in five years as a booming economy and new low-cost carriers stimulate demand.

Kapil Kaul, director of the Indian office of the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, forecast the combined passenger fleet will more than double by 2010 to more than 450 aircraft from a current 185 planes.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 06:32 PM   #185
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Air India to Operate More Direct Flights to London

LONDON, June 21 Asia Pulse - Air India will operate more direct flights to London from other Indian cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad in the coming days, officials said today, after the launch of a direct Kolkata-London flight.

The new flight has been introduced in view of demand from the local Indian community here, Air India Public Relations Director Jitendra Bhargava told Indian reporters here.

"We have succeeded in negotiating and getting more slots with the UK authorities at the Heathrow International Airport here which has paved the way for launching this new flight," said Regional Director for Air India in UK and Europe, Capt Ashwin Sharna.

More Indian cities like Cochin may be connected with London later on depending on the availabililty of aircraft, Bhargava said.

The Kolkata-London flight, launched two days ago, is not only convenient for passengers from Northeast Indian states but also travellers from Bangladesh, he said, although there is no change in fare for the Dhaka-London sector which is on par with Kolkata-London, he said.

The Kolkata-London flight is part of Air India's broad policy decision to operate international flights from various cities in the country instead of only Delhi and Mumbai, the tradtional gateways for London flights.

This will help make travel more comfortable, hassle-free and reduce elapsed travel time, Bhargawa said adding long-hauled aircraft have been pressed into serivice in this sector.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 06:34 PM   #186
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SpiceJet in talks to buy more planes -Boeing exec

BOMBAY, June 21 (Reuters) - Indian discount carrier SpiceJet Ltd. is in advanced stages of discussions with U.S. commercial jet maker Boeing Co. about buying more planes, a Boeing official said on Tuesday.

In February, Chicago-based Boeing had said it would sell SpiceJet 10 737-800 airplanes, with an option for 10 more.

On Tuesday, Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president of sales for Boeing, said SpiceJet wanted to keep the option and get into another agreement for more planes.

He expected an announcement to be made in August.

"These additional airplanes could be the larger version of the 737NGs," he said, referring to a yet-to-be-launched plane, the 737-900X, with 208 economy seats.

With more carriers starting up in India, there has been an aircraft buying spree in recent months. The just-concluded Paris airshow saw billions of dollars of orders from Indian airlines such as Kingfisher Airlines, Jet Airways and IndiGo.

Boeing sees India as a rapidly growing, strategic market where it can increase its presence. Boeing has 180 planes in India right now, he said.

"Our base is very small right now. China already has some 500 (Boeing) airplanes," he said.

"We are quite bullish that we are working with established companies," he added, citing airlines such as Air-India [AI.UL], Jet Airways and SpiceJet.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 06:25 AM   #187
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Airbus targets half of Indian market for planes

NEW DELHI, June 21 (Reuters) - European jetmaker Airbus, flush with its success in India, aims to win at least half an estimated $55 billion worth of new aircraft orders expected to come from the country by 2023, an official said on Tuesday.

Airbus, majority-owned by European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV , is flying high after the recent Paris Air Show, where Indian orders worth $13 billion helped it outsell rival Boeing Co. by a margin of more than two to one.

Responding to reports that Indian airports were not equipped to handle its new A380 superjumbo, Airbus said only modest changes would be needed to allow for its large turning circle.

"We recognise there is an issue with the infrastructure, but if we just sit back and wait for it to improve, no aircraft will be ordered," Kiran Rao, Airbus's senior vice president - marketing and pricing, told a news conference on Tuesday.

Among other big Airbus orders in Paris, Kingfisher Airlines ordered five A330s, five A350 jets and five A380s in a $3 billion deal. Airbus estimates India will eventually need 20 A380s.

Airbus said its squabble with state carrier Air-India [AI.UL] over its plan to buy up to 50 long-range Boeing aircraft for $6.9 billion was over. Airbus is now focusing on growing its share of the Indian market and using it as a source for software services, design and composite materials.

That includes A320 passenger doors from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and software services from Infosys Technologies Ltd. and HCL Technologies Ltd. .

HAL has a contract worth more than $80 million and Infosys worked on the design and development of the A380.

"Everyone knows the high-quality of work and the cheaper costs here. As an Indian at Airbus, I will encourage more outsourcing to India," Rao said.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 04:39 AM   #188
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June 23, 2005
India revises airport stake sale

NEW DELHI - INDIAN ministers have approved changes in the bid documents for the sale of the country's Mumbai and New Delhi airports, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said.

The government will issue revised documents for bids in two weeks, the minister told reporters in New Delhi yesterday.

Bidders will get two weeks to respond. The bids were to have been submitted by this month-end, the government had said earlier. India first sought bids for selling stakes in the two airports in June last year.

Germany's Fraport, Malaysia Airport Holdings, Singapore Changi Airport Enterprise, Aeroports de Paris and five other consortiums of companies participated in the initial round of bids, according to the government.

India said in March that it expects to announce in six months the winning bids for the nation's biggest airports. The revised offer document is to be examined by the law ministry, said Mr Patel, who did not give details of the changes.

The winning bidders for stakes in the airports at Mumbai and New Delhi may have to spend 151 billion rupees (S$6 billion) to upgrade facilities. \-- BLOOMBERG NEWS

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Old June 23rd, 2005, 04:58 AM   #189
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Indigo Airlines to Launch Flights in India

NEW DELHI, June 23 Asia Pulse - After placing one of the world's largest orders for 100 aircraft, start-up low-fare carrier IndiGo Airlines has said it will launch domestic services this winter and have a fleet of eight planes by 2006.

"We will be airborne between this November and February next year ... we will launch our first flight in a few weeks after we get the delivery of our first aircraft. Internally, we will be ready to fly much beforehand," Rahul Bhatia, co-owner of the airline, told PTI in an interview here.

IndiGo Enterprises recently stunned the world by placing one of the largest firm orders for 100 A-320 aircraft with European manufacturer Airbus Industrie, with a list price of over $US6 billion at the Paris Air Show.

Asked whether they would lease planes to start their operations, he said there could be a "bridging arrangement" with a lessor to provide them with the aircraft in case of delay in delivery of their own planes.

"However, we would prefer to fly our own aircraft", Bhatia, Managing Director of travel firm InterGlobe Enterprise who owns the airline company along with top aviation expert Rakesh Gangwal, said.

IndiGo, which received its No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the government to launch scheduled services last April, would get eight aircraft by the end of 2006, nine more in 2007 and induct one each every month after that, he said.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 01:20 PM   #190
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Business Times - 23 Jun 2005

India sees 8 to 10 airlines surviving in long term


Minister sees scope for a regional airline, integration with other players

(NEW DELHI) The Indian government expects a 'shakeout' in the aviation industry as new carriers force prices down to win customers from existing airlines.

India expects eight to 10 airlines to be in operation in the 'long term', Praful Patel, the aviation minister said in an interview with Bloomberg television in Mumbai on Tuesday. India currently has eight airlines in operation and at least six are planning to start services in the next one year.

Competition is mounting among carriers in India as new airlines emerge and existing ones like Jet Airways (India) Ltd expand services to tap the surge in passenger traffic. Most of the airlines compete in the same routes such as between capital New Delhi and Mumbai, the nation's financial capital and to Bangalore, home to some of the biggest software companies.

'It can't be that there is unlimited space for carriers in trying to take to the skies,' Mr Patel said. 'There could be a little shakeout here and there,' the minister said.

India's carriers have in the past three years made preliminary orders for 394 planes as six new airlines plan to start operations and existing airlines expand.

A growing number of companies plan to start airlines in India as the domestic and international traffic rose 22 per cent to 59.27 million in the year ended March 31, according to the Airports Authority of India.

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, owned by the nation's biggest brewer, is among the airlines that started this year. The Wadia family, which owns the nation's biggest cookiemaker, InterGlobe Enterprises Pvt, which runs a travel solutions company, and East West Travel & Trade Links Ltd, a travel agency, are all planning to start flights within the next year.

New Delhi-based SpiceJet Ltd, the latest low-fare airline to start flying in India, is selling tickets priced as low as 99 rupees (S$3.80). 'Every carrier is trying to be pan-Indian, that may not be the best model available in the long run,' said Mr Patel. 'I think there is scope for a regional airline, integration with other players and working together - that is a possibility.'

India permits individuals and companies to start airlines with capital of about US$75 million, provided it satisfies the government that it will start services with five planes, a route network and a maintenance facility, said aviation secretary Ajay Prasad. 'We feel the market is getting crowded and we don't want a mayhem, we don't want a bloodbath,' said Mr Prasad. As a government we have a responsibility, he said.

The rising number of start-ups in India is translating into orders for Airbus SAS and Boeing Co, the world's top aircraft manufacturers, and other small plane makers such as Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA.

Indian carriers have announced orders and commitments this year for 213 aircraft valued at US$24 billion from Airbus, Boeing and Embraer, making the country the biggest buyer of planes in the region.

Kingfisher Airlines, which began flights last month, and other proposed low-fare carriers in India such as IndiGo made up 28 per cent of orders and commitments for Airbus and Boeing planes at the Paris Air Show last week.

Airbus and Boeing in February raised the sales outlook for Indian carriers. Boeing said Indian carriers will buy US$35 billion of aircraft in the next 20 years and Airbus said Indian carriers will buy 570 planes by 2023.

'People may not believe me when I say this, but that number (predicted by Airbus) can be achieved much earlier,' Mr Patel said. - Bloomberg

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Old June 24th, 2005, 07:25 AM   #191
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India Wadia's Go Air To Lease 4 Airbus A320 Aircraft
22 June 2005

MUMBAI (Dow Jones)--India's Go Air will likely lease four A320 aircraft from Airbus (ABI.YY), a senior Airbus executive told reporters at a conference in Mumbai.

"Deliveries to Go Air will be done likely by this (calendar) year end," said Nigel Harwood, Airbus Vice president for South Asia sales.

Low-fare carrier Go Air was founded by India's Wadia business family, which has interests in textiles and real estate.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 01:18 PM   #192
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Business Times - 24 Jun 2005

Govt nod for Mumbai, Delhi airport sale papers


(NEW DELHI) Indian ministers have approved changes in the bid documents for the sale of the country's Mumbai and New Delhi airports, for which Singapore's Changi Airport and Malaysia's airport authority are among interested parties.

The Indian government will issue revised documents for bids in two weeks, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Bidders will get two weeks to respond.

The bids were to have been submitted by end-June, the government said earlier.

'The decks have now been cleared and all outstanding issues resolved,' Mr Patel told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday, after meeting ministerial colleagues on the proposed revamp of the country's two biggest airports.

The revised offer document will be examined by the law ministry before being sent to bidders, he said.

India needs to improve facilities at airports to upgrade transport infrastructure in Asia's fourth-biggest economy, where the number of people travelling by air is surging.

Expansion by existing carriers and the starting of new low-fare airlines are straining facilities at airports.

India had in March said it expects to announce in six months the winning bids for the country's biggest airports.

India first sought bids for selling stakes in the two airports in June 2004.

Fraport AG, operator of Europe's second-biggest airport, and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd may jointly bid for contracts to manage one of India's two busiest airfields, said GMR Group, their Indian partner.

Malaysia Airports has 'expressed interest' to join Fraport and GMR in bids estimated at 151 billion rupees (S$5.8 billion) to expand the airports of New Delhi and Mumbai, said Kiran Grandhi, GMR's head of transport division.

The three companies will compete with seven rival bids including Aeroports de Paris and Singapore Changi Airport Enterprise

The winning bidders for stakes in the airports at Mumbai and New Delhi may have to spend 151 billion rupees to upgrade facilities at the biggest airports in the south Asian country.

As much as 87 billion rupees may be needed for the airport at New Delhi and 64 billion rupees for Mumbai, the Civil Aviation Ministry has said.

The technical adviser of the Airports Authority of India made the estimate.

India's government is spending US$10 billion in the next five years to improve airports, Mr Patel had said on June 21 in Mumbai.

'It's the area of highest concern,' Mr Patel said. 'We are sensitive to this demand and we will respond to this positively. It will also receive the highest attention.' - Bloomberg

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Old June 24th, 2005, 07:43 PM   #193
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Indian Plan Panel Favours Investment by Foreign Carriers

NEW DELHI, June 24 Asia Pulse - The Planning Commission has suggested reviewing a policy that debars foreign carriers from investing in domestic ones, saying airline operations required expertise as much as capital.

"There is a case for reviewing this policy as operation of airlines requires expertise as much as it does capital," the Mid-Term Appraisal (MTA) of the Tenth Plan has said.

Noting that foreign direct investment in airlines had been raised to 49 per cent, the MTA document pointed out that foreign airlines "are still debarred from equity participation in domestic air transport operations".

On privatisation of Air India and Indian Airlines, it said: "A fresh exercise for restructuring" the two public sector carriers to make them competitive could be considered.

It pointed out that the process of disinvestment, which was undertaken "to improve the operational efficiency and financial performance" of the two public sector carriers, could not be completed as the qualified bidders withdrew due to several factors.

The disinvestment process could also not be resumed due to the unfavourable circumstances prevailing in the global aviation industry at that time, the MTA said.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 07:45 PM   #194
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Hong Kong : Beggars can't be choosers - air talks must be put in perspective
24 June 2005
South China Morning Post

Murmurs around Government House are that Hong Kong negotiators have been pressing India to return to the table for more bilateral aviation talks after the last round earlier this year ended sharply just one day into the discussions.

Given the potential windfall for the local economy - from Hong Kong's retailers, who stand to gain from the growing number of affluent Indian travellers, to our airlines and airport community - the collapse of the last round was a big disappointment. It left both sides red-faced, for starkly different reasons.

But bilateral negotiations by nature are a constant work in progress and missed opportunities during previous rounds are soon overshadowed by any new deal.

There is an adage that numbers say what you want them to. When Hong Kong's aviation community looks at the volume of traffic on the Indian route last year - 233,000 travellers, up 50 per cent year on year - it sees growth.

Moreover, the airlines see growth that cannot be captured due to the limitations of the present agreement.

When India looks at those same numbers, they see a small market that is barely worth breaking a sweat over.

For Hong Kong, an India deal is a priority - perhaps second only to an expansion of the agreement with the mainland. If only the Indians saw it the same way.

For the Indian negotiating team, greater access to the Hong Kong market - or perhaps more importantly the ability to use Hong Kong as transit point to the United States - would be a small fillip for new carriers such as Jet Airways and Air Sahara. But it is not going to make or break them.

Jet Airways, for one, has already signalled intentions to fly direct from India to the US using Boeing's new extended range 777 aircraft.

India's established carriers, Air India and Indian Airlines, with the political influence to push the Indian side to the table, have yet to fully utilise rights won under the 2001 accord. They are largely content with the status quo.

Air India, which has four weekly frequencies to Hong Kong it does not use at present, has said that it will point its new long-range jets westwards for at least the next few years, towards its traditional bread and butter markets in the US and Europe.

So huff and puff as the Hong Kong technocrats might, it is unlikely India's senior negotiators, who left the truncated last round of talks with a bad taste in their mouths, will be persuaded back to the table any time soon.

The fact is Hong Kong is the side with the begging bowl in its hand, as has increasingly been the case since China started allowing more foreign carriers to fly direct to its major cities.

The decline of our gateway status is eroding our negotiating leverage and the comparative wish-lists of India and Hong Kong would appear to indicate that our bowl is too big to hide. So why try?

When the last round of talks collapsed on January 27, a senior government negotiator told Below Deck: "We asked for a lot more [destinations in India] and a lot more frequencies. We offered them anything they want, but they wouldn't agree."

Given that India appears to want and need very little from Hong Kong, perhaps a more measured approach is required next time.

According to sources close to the government, senior members of the Hong Kong team have expressed optimism that there will be a new round of talks this month or next.

Let's hope so. But given the acrimony surrounding the last break-up - and given that we do not have much to offer India - they may be well advised to take care of other businesses in the interim.

According to people close to the US negotiating team, the Economic Development and Labour Bureau last week turned down a request from Washington for a new round of bilateral discussions next month.

Let's hope the request was not turned down so Hong Kong could put to bed a deal with India first.
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Old June 25th, 2005, 03:38 AM   #195
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that's pretty fishy but i wonder what the motives are. Will post the same in local section.

Last edited by drwho; June 25th, 2005 at 03:55 AM.
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Old June 25th, 2005, 04:04 AM   #196
xXPimpinPunjabiXx
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drwho, i wonder if youre indian....
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Old June 26th, 2005, 12:10 AM   #197
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Go India!!!!!!!
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Old June 27th, 2005, 06:18 PM   #198
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Business Times - 27 Jun 2005

GoAir to buy 50 Boeing or Airbus planes


(NEW DELHI) Go Airlines Pvt, a closely held airline set up by the Wadia family, which controls India's largest cookies producer, said it is in talks to buy as many as 50 planes from either Airbus SAS or Boeing Co.

The Mumbai-based company's GoAir unit is in discussions to buy Airbus A320 or Boeing's 737 planes for delivery in 2007 and 2008, said Jeh Wadia, deputy managing director of Bombay Burmah Trading Corp, a Wadia unit. He did not give the orders' value.

India has been Asia's biggest buyer of new aircraft so far this year, with six airlines ordering 220 planes valued at US$25.24 billion this year from Airbus, Boeing and Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica. Orders by Kingfisher Airways Ltd and other Indian low-fare airlines made up 28 per cent of the US$48.7 billion of orders Airbus and Boeing received recently at the Paris Air Show.

Four low-fare carriers have started flying in India in the past two years and at least six, including GoAir, are planning to begin operating, tapping the 20 per cent annual growth in air travel in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

GoAir will decide on the purchase by the end of the year, said Mr Wadia, whose family owns stakes in a textile company and in Britannia Industries Ltd, India's biggest cookies maker.

GoAir plans to start flying in October with leased aircraft, four of which have already been signed for, Mr Wadia said. It is in talks to lease five more planes, he said, without giving details.

India's domestic and overseas air traffic increased 22 per cent in the year ended March, to 59.27 million, according to the Airports Authority of India. - Bloomberg

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #199
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New Airport To Be Built In India's IT Hub To Open In '08
27 June 2005

BANGALORE, India (AP)--Lenders and shareholders have signed the funding agreement for an international airport to be built in India's information technology hub, Bangalore, after numerous delays, a top official said Monday.

The new airport will be ready in April 2008 with a capacity to handle more than five million passengers a year, Albert Brunner, CEO of Bangalore International Airport Ltd., told The Associated Press.

Bangalore, the capital of southern Karnataka state, is the hub of India's software and back-office outsourcing industry, accounting for a third of the country's export revenues of $17.2 billion from the sector.

The project, originally conceived in 1991, witnessed delays and consequent cost increases due to bureaucratic wrangling.

"We have to take the task before us seriously, because we have to complete the project within 33 months and meet rapidly increasing demand," he said.

The new airport will replace a domestic airport that also handles international flights in Bangalore. Most airlines complain the existing airport is cramped and can't handle any additional flights.

It will cost 14.11 billion rupees ($1=INR43.5), 23.1% of which will come from shareholders and the rest from lenders.

Among equity share holders, 40% will be owned by Siemens Project Ventures, 17% each by Zurich International Airport and Indian construction giant Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (500510.BY), while the Indian government and the government of southern Karnataka state will hold 13% each.

Only 16 million airplane tickets are sold in India each year, despite a population of more than one billion. However, demand for air travel is increasing by 25% annually with the arrival of low-cost carriers.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 07:27 PM   #200
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^ Any renderings of new Bangalore Int'l Airport?
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