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Old August 28th, 2005, 03:43 AM   #241
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Delhi, Mumbai airports to be modernised

The modernisation drive for Delhi and Mumbai airports is finally ready for take-off. Civil aviation minister Praful Patel on Wednesday announced that the final transaction document inviting financial and technical bids from private developers for Delhi and Mumbai airport modernisation will be issued next week.

The bids from the eight shortlisted bidders -- which include the Reliance group and the Bharti-Changi consortium -- would be received by mid-September 2005, Patel told the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Replying to queries raised about Delhi and Mumbai airports, the minister said the process of modernisation and restructuring of the two airports was underway. He regretted the delay but stated that the objective was to build world-class airports in the league of Kuala Lumpur and Dubai airports.

The empowered group of ministers (eGoM) had recently decided that the airports will be handed over to the successful bidders in the current state only and clearing of land and evacuation of illegal dwellers will have to undertaken by the company.

The eGoM had also postponed the last date for seeking bids from the shortlisted private developer consortia in view of objections raised by the Attorney General of India, finance ministry and Planning Commission, that the current modalities of the modernisation exercise might lead to serious legal wrangles.

The last date for accepting bids has been postponed as the transaction documents for the two projects were being reviewed to avoid any legal issues. The redrafted documentation has now been cleared by the law ministry and will be issued to the bidders next week.

In Delhi, bidders will be allowed to utilise 5% of the total area earmarked for the new airport for commercial development, while 70% will be set aside for runway development.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 01:17 AM   #242
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Indian airline passenger arrrested after bomb hoax

NEW DELHI, Aug 29 (AFP) - An Indian airline passenger was arrested Monday after starting a bomb scare which halted a domestic flight as it was about to take off, an airline spokeswoman said.

"The passenger was insisting on using his mobile phone even when we were taxiing," the Jet Airways spokesman said.

"Suddenly he started shouting there was a bomb on board, bomb on board. So the flight was abandoned and taken to a secluded area."

She said security guards rummaged through the baggage and cargo but found nothing. The flight finally took off from New Delhi for the southern city of Bangalore after a four-hour delay.

"The passenger was taken into police custody. So there were 98 passengers instead of 99 when the flight finally took off," the spokeswoman added.

It was not known when the man would be brought before a court.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 01:18 AM   #243
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OH NO
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Old August 31st, 2005, 07:32 PM   #244
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India raises aviation fuel price to offset soaring global oil prices

NEW DELHI, Aug 31 (AFP) - State-run Indian oil firms would raise the price of aviation fuel by five percent from Wednesday midnight (1830 GMT)to offset the soaring global oil prices, an official said.

"Jet fuel prices for domestic airlines are being hiked," an official of Indian Oil Corp, the country's biggest oil retailer, said.

The hike in aviation fuel prices is expected to trigger an increase in air ticket prices as the component constitutes nearly a third of the airlines' operating costs.

India, which imports nearly 70 percent of its oil needs, has so far refrained from hiking the price of commonly consumed fuels such as petrol and kerosene.

But officials expect the government to soon raise the prices of all fuels as state-run oil distribution firms were piling up huge losses in order to protect consumers from the impact of global oil prices which crossed 70 dollars per barrel this week.
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Old September 10th, 2005, 09:41 AM   #245
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India, UK Sign Deals On Aviation, Film, Oil
8 September 2005

NEW DELHI (AP)--The leaders of the U.K. and India said they had reinforced the strong ties between their nations at talks Thursday, signing deals to increase flights between the countries and boost cooperation between their film and oil industries.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that in two days of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the countries had helped "cement the new modern relationship between Britain and India."

In a reflection of that relationship, Blair and Singh inked a deal allowing the number of direct passenger flights between Britain and India to triple this year from the 84 a week currently permitted, and possibly to double again next year.

The deal replaces a 1951 treaty and also includes fair competition guarantees and new safety and security rules as well removing some price restrictions.

"Our relationship is very special and one that contains exceptional potential," Singh said told reporters. "Both governments are determined to realize this potential."

Officials from both sides provided few details of the film and oil deals.

India and Britain also signed an agreement on protecting intellectual property rights, boosting training and education on patent enforcement, an issue of major concern to Western companies that say their movies and music are being pirated in countries like India.

Singh said that Blair also reiterated Britain's support for India's bid to have a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. He said the two discussed terrorism as well.

Britain and India have had good relations and strong business and cultural ties for years, following a rocky period surrounding India's independence in 1947. There are a million Britons of Indian descent, and the volume of travel between the nations is heavy.

"We are two countries that have undergone a lot of change," Blair said after the meeting on the banks of a lake surrounded by 17th century palaces in Udaipur in the northwestern desert state of Rajasthan.

"A few years ago, people coming in from abroad, buying up English companies and turning them around would have been controversial," he said. "We benefited from that opening up and certainly there is need to continue that process."

Before the meeting with Singh, Blair got a taste of traditional India when his convoy was repeatedly slowed by herds of cattle - revered by Hindu Indians - that meandered freely on the road in Udaipur.

While some in the West view India's rise as a threat, Blair argues it presents a major opportunity for increased trade. He says Europe must embrace, not resist, fast-paced global economic integration and build close relationships with new trading partners.

That's what he has sought to do on his four-day Asian visit aimed at increasing Europe's business ties with India and China, two burgeoning economic powers. China was his first stop.

The prime minister, whose country holds the rotating E.U. presidency, led India-E.U. talks on Wednesday.

At those talks, the two sides signed agreements on trade, technology and security cooperation, and India underscored what officials said was a turning point in relations between the two sides by announcing a plan to spend $2.2 billion on new Airbus planes.

A joint statement released after the summit said India and the E.U. had pledged to boost anti-terrorism cooperation and crack down on terrorist financing and money laundering.

The leaders said a trade board would be created to promote business between India and Europe, and they agreed to work together to find clean energy sources to fight global warming. The E.U. also pledged to press for India's participation in an international nuclear fusion research program.

Blair was scheduled to fly home to London later Thursday.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:53 AM   #246
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Indian Royal To Start Luxury Domestic Airline
13 September 2005

NEW DELHI (AP)--An Indian royal is banking on his heritage to fill seats in his latest venture - a luxury domestic airline that will even have a separate cabin for servants.

Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wodeyar is still deciding whether to call his new venture Sky Palace or Palace in the Sky. But if all goes according to plan, his airline will in late 2006 or 2007 start flying wealthy Indians between the country's cities.

Wodeyar, who will be the airline's chairman, would be the maharaja of Mysore, in southern India, if the country's socialist-inspired constitution hadn't dispensed with such titles in 1950.

But the old royal families still have cachet, and Wodeyar is hoping his name will lend the airline an aristocratic air that will help it fill a niche in India's expanding air travel market, which for decades was largely dominated by state-owned airlines.

The government opened the market in the 1990s and several new budget carriers have been driving down prices and attracting first-time flyers, leading aviation experts to forecast 25% a year growth for the industry.

Wodeyar is hoping to cash in on that growth. But his airline will be anything but budget.

"We're targeting the type of person who drives in a Mercedes," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Mysore.

The bulk of the seats will essentially be what other airlines sell as first class - seats will be 54 inches wide, about triple the standard 18-inch economy seat, he said, adding that fares will be competitive for their class.

There will, however, be an economy cabin of between eight and 15 seats "for servants," Wodeyar said.

"There are people who may want to travel with one or two servants," he explained. "But they don't have to fly in the same cabin."

Details are still being worked out, but he said the startup cost should be about $100 million and that initially the airline will have only two planes. The fleet should grow to 21 jets within the first 18 months of operation, he said, adding that the airline would eventually fly to more than three dozen cities.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:58 AM   #247
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Austrian carrier plans to increase services to India
13 September 2005
Associated Press Newswires

BOMBAY, India -- The Austrian Airlines Group said Tuesday it plans to expand its services to southern India to tap into a growing numbers of Indian air travelers.

Austrian Airlines already operates daily flights from Vienna to India's capital New Delhi and began a five-times-a-week service to Bombay on Sept. 1.

Josef Burger, chief commercial officer, said the airline may consider a third destination such as Madras, Bangalore or Hyderabad in southern India.

The group includes Austrian Airlines, Austrian Arrows and Lauda Air and covers 130 destinations in 66 countries.

"Last year 39,000 Indians visited Austria and this trend continues to rise," Burger told reporters Tuesday. He said the airline was in touch with the Austrian tourist industry to increase tourist traffic from India.

The airline is keen to exploit the huge number of Indians traveling overseas for vacations. Burger estimated that about 50 million Indian tourists could afford to travel outside the country.

Chief Executive Officer Vagn Soerensen said the carrier expected to carry 145,000 passengers on the New Delhi-Vienna route this year and 30,000 passengers on the Bombay service for the remainder of the year.

The airline added Shanghai and Singapore to its services last year and its new service to Bombay is part of expansion plans on long-haul routes.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 12:41 AM   #248
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India's Kingfisher: fuel challenging, growth intact

AMSTERDAM, Sept 15 (Reuters) - India's Kingfisher Airlines said on Thursday it was feeling the heat from high oil prices but was on track to make a profit in its second year and expand abroad with a new fleet of superjumbo planes.

"We are facing huge challenges at the moment. The fuel price is set by the Indian government on a monthly basis and we are not allowed to hedge," Chief Operating Officer Nigel Harwood told the World Low-Cost Airline summit in Amsterdam.

Kingfisher sprung a huge $3 billion order for 15 Airbus aircraft, including five superjumbo A380s, in June as it seeks to capitalise on India's fast-growing air traffic.

The three-month-old carrier last week called for proposals to supply engines for the five mid-sized A330 aircraft it plans to acquire but did not expect to make a decision on the contract until at least the end of 2005, he said.

Contracts to supply engines for all 15 planes would be worth more than $1 billion. The A330 contract could determine who also supplies engines for the five A380s and five long-haul A350s it has on order.

"We could make a complete decision on all engine types but at the moment the focus is pretty much on the A330," Harwood told Reuters.

Kingfisher is the brainchild of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, whose UB Group makes Kingfisher beer, India's top-selling brand, and a host of lifestyle goods.

India's newly deregulated aviation sector is forecast to grow 20 percent a year over the next five years as budget carriers draw in rail passengers in a country where less than 1 percent of the billion-plus people travel by air.

Kingfisher competes with a swathe of carriers but Harwood said he expected many of India's airlines to fold or consolidate as ticket prices were too low.

"It will be a bloodbath in India," he told the conference, echoing the words used by Ryanair to describe the European market a year ago.

India has also been hit by a severe pilot shortage as new airlines pay large sums to poach staff from rival airlines.

Harwood said Kingfisher was in talks with several companies to set up an in-house pilot training academy in 2007.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 11:22 AM   #249
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Sunday September 25, 11:35 AM
State airlines face dogfight for Indian skies

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Air India and its domestic counterpart, Indian Airlines, are buying more than 100 planes to revamp ageing fleets but still face a bruising battle to win back market share, analysts say.

To reclaim India's crowded skies, the state-run carriers must jettison their bureaucratic management style and prune bloated workforces in order to outwit rivals who are driving down ticket prices, they say.

Industry watchers also say that the Indian state airlines boast some of the region's top managerial talent but are unable to achieve their potential because of rigid government control

"Restructuring of both carriers is long overdue," said Kapil Kaul, chief executive officer of the India office of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, a consultancy. "It's high time they moved toward professionalising their managements. Otherwise, they'll just keep bleeding."

Indian Airlines is planning to buy 43 Airbus aircraft while Air India expects to get the government go-ahead soon to buy up to 68 Boeing jets.

The carriers, which used to rule Indian skies before liberalisation opened the way to competition in the early 1990s, are expected to start taking delivery of the new planes in 2006.

The fleet revamps and expansions will help the airlines in their fight to regain market share, analysts say, but they add that more will be needed in terms of aggressive marketing and promotions.

"Aircraft is a basic need," said Subhash Goyal, president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators. "We must compliment the government for taking the purchase decision, but that alone will not be enough.

"Both the airlines should upgrade their product in terms of service."

From its former monopoly position, Indian Airlines has seen its market share slump to 33 percent of the domestic passenger market, behind Jet Airways, which has 43 percent and regularly wins awards for good service and food.

Aside from Jet, Indian Airlines is facing competition from three new domestic carriers launched in the past 18 months which have slashed tickets to close to rail travel prices through tight financial controls.

Air India, famed for its smiling maharaja mascot, is also in the doldrums with just 20 percent of Indian international passenger traffic.

It faces merciless competition from rivals who are discounting tickets by 15 to 20 percent, analysts say.

India's cumbersome red tape and political interference is stifling the ability of the carriers to make nimble decisions and match the aggressive tactics of its rivals, say industry-watchers.

"We hope to have a product with much greater appeal with the new aircraft," an Indian Airlines spokesman said, but he added that the airline planned no changes to its management operations.

Global consultancy firm A.T. Kearney had been appointed to recommend organisational changes with the aim of sharpening the international carrier's competitive edge.

But a former Air India board member, who did not want to be identified, said there was "little hope" of a big change in their business tactics.

He said the two airlines should join their networks to take on rivals, but added that the move would never materialise as long as the government was in the cockpit.

Independent New Delhi-based transport consultant O.P. Ahuja urged the Congress Party government to sell off stakes in the airlines, a move hotly opposed by its leftist backers, on whom it relies for support in parliament.

"It would bring in more professional management," said Ahuja. "Otherwise, I'm afraid they will lose the game."

Aside from their bureaucratic management style, analysts say the two airlines are also hobbled by too many staff. The airlines have a combined workforce of 35,000, with a ratio of 350 to 400 staff to an aircraft.

Most airlines around the globe have no more than 100 employees per plane.

"I don't see how Indian Airlines and Air India can compete with their present cost structure," said Kaul.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 05:52 PM   #250
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India looks to sell 10 to 20 percent of Air India, Indian Airlines

MUMBAI, Sept 26 (AFP) - India plans to sell 10 to 20 per cent of its stakes in state-owned Air India and Indian Airlines in initial public offerings (IPOs) planned for next year aimed at financing fleet expansion, a report said Monday.

"The actual figure will depend upon the recommendation of financial consultants who will be appointed shortly," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told a business conference in Mumbai, the Press Trust of India reported.

Patel said earlier that the IPOs were slated for early 2006.

They are planned to help fund the state-run airlines' expansion requirements

The government recently approved domestic carrier Indian Airlines' plans to buy 43 aircraft from European planemaker Airbus to update its ageing fleet.

International flag-carrier Air India expects to get the government go-ahead soon to buy up to 68 jets from US aircraft giant Boeing.

"Not only these two airlines, but all other airlines need to have healthy balance sheets before going for expansion. Therefore, we need to enhance the equity base (of Air India and Indian Airlines)," Patel said.

While India's aviation industry has been growing quickly, it was still a long way from achieving maturity in terms of infrastructure, equity capital and flights, he added.

"The objective of my ministry is to spread aviation beyond Mumbai and Delhi," Patel said, noting that the vast bulk of India's one billion plus population still travels by rail.

"Air traffic in India accounts for 0.5 per cent of our population. This figure can easily grow 10 times," he said.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 11:47 PM   #251
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FINALLY. Air India has some real competition. Next time I go I'm going to fly American Airlines. Nonstop Chicago ORD to Delhi, ~$1000, brand new plane with TV's and such, and I think the flight is only 14 hours (don't quote me on that). Only thing is I'd need to then switch planes to Mumbai, but AA has some kind of partnership with Sahara so that's good. Cheaper, nicer, and faster. Air India better get their stuff together.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 11:56 PM   #252
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
India looks to sell 10 to 20 percent of Air India, Indian Airlines

MUMBAI, Sept 26 (AFP) - India plans to sell 10 to 20 per cent of its stakes in state-owned Air India and Indian Airlines in initial public offerings (IPOs) planned for next year aimed at financing fleet expansion, a report said Monday.

"The actual figure will depend upon the recommendation of financial consultants who will be appointed shortly," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told a business conference in Mumbai, the Press Trust of India reported.

Patel said earlier that the IPOs were slated for early 2006.

They are planned to help fund the state-run airlines' expansion requirements

The government recently approved domestic carrier Indian Airlines' plans to buy 43 aircraft from European planemaker Airbus to update its ageing fleet.

International flag-carrier Air India expects to get the government go-ahead soon to buy up to 68 jets from US aircraft giant Boeing.

"Not only these two airlines, but all other airlines need to have healthy balance sheets before going for expansion. Therefore, we need to enhance the equity base (of Air India and Indian Airlines)," Patel said.

While India's aviation industry has been growing quickly, it was still a long way from achieving maturity in terms of infrastructure, equity capital and flights, he added.

"The objective of my ministry is to spread aviation beyond Mumbai and Delhi," Patel said, noting that the vast bulk of India's one billion plus population still travels by rail.

"Air traffic in India accounts for 0.5 per cent of our population. This figure can easily grow 10 times," he said.
About time!
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Old October 4th, 2005, 02:44 PM   #253
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Govt Panel To Meet Next Week For Air India Plane Buy
4 October 2005

NEW DELHI (Dow Jones)--An Indian government panel will meet next week to consider Air India's (AIN.YY) plan to buy 50 new aircraft, a senior government official said Tuesday.

The flagship carrier plans to buy the 50 Boeing (BA) planes for $7 billion.

"The public investment board will meet on Oct. 13 to decide on the investment proposal," the official, who didn't wish to be identified, told reporters.

Asked about the federal government giving guarantees for Air India's acquisition, the official said "as of now we haven't got any proposal on guarantees".

The public investment board comprises secretaries from the Ministry of Finance, Civil Aviation and Defence.

Earlier this year, the board of Air India cleared the proposal to acquire the 50 planes.

Air India currently has a fleet of 42 planes. The carrier hopes to shortly launch an initial public offering to finance the purchase of the new aircraft.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 04:52 AM   #254
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The Boeing JA777

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Old October 7th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #255
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Looking good. What are their plans for expanding internationally?
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Old October 15th, 2005, 12:14 AM   #256
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Looks like Air India is finally responding to American Airlines

Air-India to introduce non-stop flights to New York, Chicago
Mumbai, October 14, 2005


Air-India on Friday announced that it proposed to introduce non-stop flights to New York and Chicago with the induction of the new generation ultra long range aircraft.

The deliveries are likely to commence from later part of 2006, Air-India sources said.

Financing arrangements for the acquisition of these aircraft will be tied up to meet the pre-delivery commitments up to 15 per cent of the aircraft.

A letter of intent will be placed on the Boeing company and the engine manufacturers followed by the signing of the purchase agreement once the government approval is achieved, the sources said.

Pending acquisition of new aircraft, Air-India, which has a fleet of 42 aircraft at present, has been taking aircraft on dry lease to ensure that it continues to get share of fast growing market.

Air-India has inducted 24 aircraft on dry lease as of date including three for its subsidiary, Air India Express.

Public Investment Board has on Thursday recommended acquisition of 50 new long range wide bodied state-of-the-art technology aircraft for Air India and 18 B 737-800W aircraft for Air India Charters ltd (AICL) on a not to exceed cost basis to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for approval.

The Air-India board had on April 26 approved the acquisition plan at its meeting held in Mumbai.
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Old October 16th, 2005, 10:55 AM   #257
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Mumbai Airport Resumes Normal Service After Sun. Accident
14 October 2005

MUMBAI, India (AP)--Five days after a plane overshot the runway and disrupted air travel in Mumbai's airport, normal flight service was being restored in India's financial hub Friday, an official said.

More than 900 flights were delayed since late Sunday when Mumbai's main runway was blocked after a private Air Sahara plane overshot the runway and was ensnared in soft mud at one end of the runway.

Mumbai's secondary runway was used for landings and takeoffs leading to canceled flights and hundreds of planes diverted to airports in neighboring states.

"The area was very slushy and equipment got bogged down in the soft earth while trying to remove the stranded aircraft," said airport director Sudhir Kumar. "The backlog is now being cleared. Normal operations will be restored."

The plane was finally removed late Thursday, he said.

The incident highlighted concerns that India's airport infrastructure would not be able to keep pace with a current boom in air travel. Several budget carriers have been launched over the past year and the government estimates the number of air travelers in India will surge from the present 14 million to 50 million passengers by 2010.

The delays also focused on the need for a parallel runway in Mumbai's airport and a quicker response to clearing clogged runways.

"It's a shame it took so many days to clear. This has been a loss of face for the airport," said Nitin Jadhav, a leader of the workers' union of state-run Airports Authority of India. "With the aviation sector growing so quickly, there should be special teams in India's big cities to handle such incidents."

Airports in Mumbai and New Delhi, the country's capital, are the country's busiest. Both airports handle about 63% of India's air traffic. But the airports are ill-equipped and have not modernized fast enough.

The federal government has acknowledged that modernization is overdue and insists it is expediting the process.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 01:25 PM   #258
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Bangalore Airport Will Still Be Complete By 2008 - CEO
24 October 2005

BANGALORE, India (AP)--An international airport being built in India's southern Bangalore city will be completed by 2008 as planned despite the resignation of the project's chairman last week amid a political row, its chief executive officer said Monday.

N.R. Narayana Murthy - who quit after an influential politician said he wasn't doing enough to speed up the airport's completion - was a "strong and supportive leader who'll be missed," said Bangalore International Airport Ltd.'s CEO Albert Brunner.

Murthy, who is also the founder of software company Infosys Technologies Ltd. (500209.BY), denied the accusations by former Indian Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and resigned, raising concerns the long-delayed project will be slowed further by political controversy.

The new airport, first conceived in 1991, was meant to make India's technology hub of Bangalore more attractive to prospective investors. The project was finally approved earlier this year.

"We are confident there'll be no impact either in time or in cost of the project," Brunner told The Associated Press.

The airport, designed to handle 5 million passengers annually, will be ready in April 2008 as scheduled, he said.

Bangalore's ill-equipped airport prevents many international airlines from flying to the city, the center of India's software and back-office outsourcing industry.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 02:45 PM   #259
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British Airways set to double flights to India
October 24, 2005

LONDON (AFP) - The number of British Airways flights between London Heathrow and India will almost double when the airline's winter schedule begins next Sunday, the company has announced.

BA had announced in April plans to begin increasing flights between Heathrow -- the world's busiest international airport -- and cities across India from October following an agreement signed between the British and Indian governments.

"The massive expansion in our India flights is something that we have wanted to do for a considerable time but were halted by restrictive bilateral agreements between the British and Indian governments," BA's director of planning Robert Boyle said in a statement on Monday.

"Now that these restrictions have been lifted we can build on our 75 years of experience of operating to the subcontinent."

Liberalisation of the aviation market between the two countries has enabled British Airways to increase its number of weekly flights between Heathrow and India to 35 from 19.

The new schedule sees services to Mumbai doubling to two flights daily, a new service to Bangalore operating five times per week and weekly flights to Chennai increasing to six from two.

The International Air Transport Association predicts that Indias international air traffic will grow by an average of 8.4 percent annually between 2004 and 2009.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 06:43 AM   #260
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INDIA PRESS: Pvt Equity Firms Seek Stake In Air Sahara
24 October 2005

NEW DELHI (Dow Jones)--Eight bidders, including three global private equity firms, are seeking to acquire a minority stake in Air Sahara, India's third-largest airline, reports the Hindustan Times newspaper.

Private equity firms the Blackstone Group (BGP.XX), the Carlyle Group L.P. (CAY.XX) and Temasek Holdings (TEMAH.YY) have signed "confidential" agreements with Air Sahara and are expected to submit financial bids within three weeks, the paper said citing unnamed sources.

The paper also quoted Air Sahara President and Chief Executive Rono Dutta as saying the airline requires $100 million to expand its fleet.

"Once the financial bids are in place, we will shortlist one or two players. Air Sahara is extremely keen on a private equity partner," Dutta said.
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