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Old December 29th, 2005, 09:32 AM   #301
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India Asks Airlines To Train Pilots To Operate In Fog
27 December 2005

NEW DELHI (Dow Jones)--Responding to delays and cancellation of flights from Delhi airport due to fog, the Indian government Tuesday asked domestic airlines to train pilots to operate in fog by next winter or face loss of Delhi routes.

Over the weekend, more than 80 domestic and international flights arriving or departing from Delhi were canceled or diverted due to a thick fog cover last week.

"Airlines say a large investment is required to train pilots for using instrument landing system CAT III B, but in the larger interest we decided that those airlines unprepared for fog (including those unable to use the system) by next winter will not be allowed to fly in and out of Delhi," Ajay Prasad, secretary civil aviation, said after a meeting with representatives of all domestic airlines.

The CAT III B system, which is equipment used for takeoff and landing during poor visibility conditions, has been installed at the Delhi airport. However, airlines don't have enough trained pilots to use the system during landing and taking off.

Due to flight delays and cancellations, many passengers have been stranded at the already congested airport. "Passengers on low-cost airlines have a common complaint that they are not given meal or accommodation in case of delays," said Prasad.

Three low-cost and two full-service airlines have started operations in India this year to take advantage of the double-digit growth in the aviation sector.

However, airlines are reluctant to spend money on training pilots for low visibility landing, as Delhi has thick fog for only about a month out of the year.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 06:31 PM   #302
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India's Air Sahara Targets 15% Passenger Growth In 2006
2 January 2006

NEW DELHI (Dow Jones)--India's Air Sahara, which has the third-largest share of domestic routes, aims to record a 15% increase in passengers this year by flying new domestic and international routes and expanding its fleet of aircraft, a senior company executive said Monday.

"In 2005 we carried 3.5 million passengers and this year we hope to see 15% growth by starting new routes, like Hong Kong and Singapore," said airline President Ronojoy Dutta.

India's aviation sector, which grew 25% in 2005 in terms of passenger numbers,is expected to continue ist strong growth over the next five years, with intense competition between airlines to win a bigger share of India's growing middle class. Five new airlines started operations last year, which led to the cheapest air fares being reduced to the same level as railway fares.

Sahara has dropped return fares on its new Delhi-London route, to commence on Jan.6, to INR10,000 ($222) for the first 2006 tickets booked through its new Web site. At present, the airline flies to three international destinations - Singapore, Katmandu and Colombo.

Rival airline Jet Airways (India) Ltd. (532617.BY), which launched a Delhi-London route on Oct. 30 last year, has had difficulty filling its seats on what is considered to still be an immature route for budget carriers, with load factors falling to 68.8% in November.

Sahara plans to add seven new Boeing 737 aircraft this year
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Old January 11th, 2006, 07:15 AM   #303
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India's Jet Airways close to buying Sahara -papers

MUMBAI, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Jet Airways Ltd., India's largest domestic airline, is close to buying out Sahara, the No. 2 private carrier, in a deal worth $560 million, newspapers reported on Wednesday.

If sealed, the deal would create the largest domestic airline in terms of fleet, turnover and valuation, the Economic Times said.

Indian liquor maker UB group, which runs private carrier Kingfisher Airlines, had bid for Air Sahara, but the newspaper said Kingfisher had withdrawn from the race.

The Times of India newspaper said Jet had denied the deal and quoted an unnamed senior offical as saying Jet was not at all interested in Air Sahara.

Officials of both airlines were not immediately available for comment.

The Economic Times said the merged entity would have more than half the domestic market and a fleet of more than 90 aircraft, with revenue of 70 billion rupees ($1.6 billion) and a market value of 115 billion rupees.

Air Sahara had said in September last year it was exploring opportunities for alliances and partnerships to help fund expansion and that adviser Ernst & Young had put its enterprise value at $750 million to $1 billion.

Sahara, which began operations just months after Jet in 1993, is part of a $12-billion group owned by flamboyant tycoon Subroto Roy, with interests spanning finance, housing, power and media.

Indian airlines are looking to expand quickly as new entrants stake a claim to the fast-growing domestic market. Jet, with a 43 percent share of India's market, raised $450 million in an initial public offering (IPO) last year.

India's domestic air travel market is forecast to grow more than 20 percent a year over the next five years, boosted by rising incomes and lower fares. An estimated 19 million domestic passengers travelled by air in the year to March 2005. ($1=44.3 Indian rupees)
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Old January 11th, 2006, 04:31 PM   #304
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Air India Signs Deal With Boeing To Buy 68 Planes
11 January 2006

BOMBAY (AP)--State-run Air India (AYN.YY) on Wednesday signed an agreement with U.S.-based Boeing Co. (BA) for the purchase of 68 planes in what officials called the largest single deal in India's civil aviation history.

The deal, finalized after months of negotiations, was valued at US$11.8 billion at list prices, but usually large orders get substantial discounts. No final price was made available.

The agreement was signed by Allen Mulally, executive vice president of the Chicago-based Boeing., and V. Thulsidas, the Air India chairman, who called it the largest ever for Indian civil aviation.

Air India's order consists of 27 787s, 15 777-300ERs and eight 777-200LRs. Air India also plans to buy 18 additional aircraft for Air India Express, its low-cost airline.

The delivery of the aircraft is scheduled to begin in November, an Air India statement said.

Mulally said Boeing's commitment to the Indian aviation industry dates back to more than 60 years. "Air India is a valued and longtime partner," he said.

Air India, which currently has a fleet of 42 aircraft, is replacing its aging planes in hopes of competing better with private carriers.

India's aviation sector is rapidly expanding, with new private airlines taking to the skies and the government moving toward privatization to improve airport infrastructure.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 06:42 PM   #305
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Air Sahara says no sale to Jet

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's second-biggest private airline, Air Sahara, on Wednesday denied reports that it was selling out to leader Jet Airways Ltd. and said it was only in talks with Jet on strategic alliances.

Local newspapers had reported Jet was close to buying out Air Sahara in a deal worth $560 million.

"We are in talks with Jet for strategic alliances ... we have not finalised anything," Air Sahara Executive Vice President Alok Sharma said.

Jet officials did not return calls seeking comment through the day. They had, a few months back, denied being interested in a stake in Air Sahara.

Air Sahara said last September it was exploring opportunities for alliances and partnerships to help fund expansion and that adviser Ernst & Young had put its enterprise value at $750 million to $1 billion.

Indian drinks company UB group, which runs private carrier Kingfisher Airlines, had bid for Air Sahara, but Chairman Vijay Mallya said his valuation of the airline had not been acceptable to Sahara, and that he was unwilling to revise his valuation.

The Economic Times said a merged Jet-Sahara entity would have more than half the domestic market and a fleet of more than 90 aircraft, with revenue of 70 billion rupees and a market value of 115 billion rupees.

Sahara, which began operations just months after Jet in 1993, is part of a $12-billion group owned by flamboyant tycoon Subroto Roy, with interests spanning finance, housing, power and media.

India's domestic air travel market is forecast to grow by more than 20 percent a year over the next five years, boosted by rising incomes and lower fares. An estimated 19 million domestic passengers travelled by air in the year to March 2005.

http://in.news.yahoo.com/060111/137/61yiv.html
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Old January 11th, 2006, 11:38 PM   #306
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Boeing to invest $185 mln in India, gets firm order
By Rina Chandran

MUMBAI, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Boeing Co. will invest $185 million in facilities in India and source 85 billion rupees ($1.9 billion) in products and services over a period of 10 years, India's civil aviation minister said on Wednesday.

The Chicago-based aerospace company will spend $100 million on a repair, maintenance and overhaul facility and $75 million on a pilot training facility, with a further $10 million on other facilities, Praful Patel told a news conference.

State-run Air-India [AI.UL] also on Wednesday finally placed a firm order with Boeing for 68 aircraft.

"The introduction of these aircraft will allow Air-India to expand and modernise its fleet, effect cost savings and add new long-range routes," Air-India Chairman V. Thulasidas said at the joint news conference.

The Indian cabinet in December approved Air-India's plans to buy up to 68 aircraft from Boeing, subject to final talks on price. The proposal was referred to a ministerial group to work out details, including a price reduction.

The aircraft are valued at more than $11 billion in total at list price, according to a statement from Boeing. When Air-India's board approved the purchase of 50 aircraft last April, the deal was valued at $6.9 billion.

The final value of the deal was not disclosed on Wednesday, but Thulasidas said the $1.9 billion worth of goods and services that Boeing will buy represented about 30 percent of the value of the order.

By Reuters' calculations, that puts the plane order at about $6.3 billion.

Boeing said it would also look at India's participation in design and manufacture of aircraft parts in the long term.

"We have done a deal with HCL Technologies for software for the 787, and we will be doing more such deals," Alan Mulally, chief executive, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told the news conference.

Boeing has an existing deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., a research deal with the Indian Institute of Science, and software services agreements with Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. and Wipro Ltd. .

The Boeing order comprises 23 777s -- including eight long-range and 15 extended range aircraft -- and 27 of the widebody Dreamliner, due to enter service in 2008. Air-India Express, the budget airline, will receive 18 737-800s.

Delivery of the aircraft will begin in November 2006.

RAPID GROWTH

Boeing, whose commercial plane orders more than tripled to a record 1,002 in 2005 on demand from Asia and the Middle East, has said it expects India to buy 490 aircraft over the next two decades as cheaper fares and growing traffic fuel demand.

India's domestic air travel market is forecast to grow more than 20 percent a year over the next five years as incomes rise in Asia's third-biggest economy and fares fall as new discount carriers launch in an increasingly crowded space.

Airlines flew an estimated 19 million domestic passengers in India in the year to March 2005.

Air-India, which has not bought aircraft since 1996, has faced intense competition from domestic private carriers that can now fly overseas routes and from international airlines that have stepped up their services to and from India.

Air-India and the domestic state carrier, Indian Airlines, are scheduled to make an initial public offering later this year. ($1=44.3 rupees)
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Old January 13th, 2006, 03:35 AM   #307
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INDIA PRESS: Fresh Bids For Delhi, Mumbai Sale Likely
11 January 2006

NEW DELHI (Dow Jones)--The Indian government may invite new bids for the privatization of the Delhi and Mumbai airports as only one bidder has met the conditions to buy both airports, reports the Business Standard.

The paper said a Committee of Secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi decided that it may call for new bids after considering a report by a panel chaired by E. Sreedharan.

According to the Sreedharan panel, only GMR-Fraport has qualified as a potential buyer.

An Empowered Group of Ministers may meet Thursday to consider the views of the Committee of Secretaries.

The other bidders included Reliance-ASA, DS Construction-Munich, GVK-South African Airport, Essel-TAV and a consortium led by Sterlite.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 12:38 AM   #308
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India's Jet in tie-up talks with rival carrier, deal possible this month

NEW DELHI, Jan 13, 2006 (AFP) - India's No. 1 domestic carrier, Jet Airways, said Friday it was in talks to tie up with the second-largest private airline Sahara, a step analysts say could spur more consolidation in crowded skies.

"Discussions are going on. Our advisors are working things out so various synergies are achieved with this tie-up," Nandini Verma, Jet corporate affairs vice president, told AFP. "There's no conclusion yet but we could have an announcement within the next seven to 10 days."

Verma said she could not say whether the talks would lead to an acquisition or a strategic alliance with Air Sahara which said last September it was looking for alliances to expand.

"Talks are going on," said Sahara spokeswoman Neeta Raina. "We will see what shape it takes -- which way what will happen."

Kapil Kaul of the Singapore-based Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation said he believed any agreement would result in a 100 percent takeover of Sahara, launched by flamboyant businessman Subrata Roy.

"All indications point to a consolidation between these two airlines -- whether in a joint equity venture or a merger or an acqusition it will become known," he said. "If there's a consolidation I expect it to be eventally be a 100 percent buyout."

He said such a tie-up could be a spark more consolidation in the sector.

The government's open-skies policy has spawned a host of new airlines, many of them budget. Four were launched last year -- Kingfisher, Go Air, Spice Jet and Air Deccan -- and at least another four are expected to take flight this year.

This has created cut-throat competition that has reduced some fares close to railway tariffs.

Kaul said a tie-up with Sahara made big sense for Jet as it would give the carriers a combined domestic market share of over 50 percent and increase Jet's fleet to 78 planes from 51 as well as giving it extra international routes and parking and departure slots.

Sahara's market share is pegged at 17 percent.

Sahara links 24 domestic and four international destinations with 134 daily direct flights, while Jet connects 48 cities including Colombo, Kathmandu, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and London.

No price tag for Sahara has been given but Kaul valued the carrier at 500-600 million dollars. Sahara said last September that their own financial adviser had valued it at between 750 million dollars and one billion dollars.

Kingfisher, owned by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, previously wooed Sahara but dropped out after the sides could not agree on a price, media reports have said.

Jet, which belongs to former travel agent Naresh Goyal, has been losing ground to new entrants, falling from 48 percent market share at its peak to around 40 percent, media reports say.

All this has taken a toll on Jet's share price, down over four percent from the amount it listed at in early 2005.

Kaul said the two companies would have to overcome "cultural differences." Airline-to-banking tycoon Roy calls himself "chief guardian" and his staff "family" but he said Jet had the management know-how to cope.

He said if Jet and Sahara team up, state-owned international flag carrier Air India and domestic airline Indian, which has a domestic market share of around 30 percent, would merge to fend off competition from what would be a giant rival.

"This consolidation would be followed inevitably by the merger of the two national carriers, Air India and Indian," he said. "It makes no financial sense for them to be separate entities."

Analysts project that air traffic in India will rise by five million passengers a year for the next decade.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 01:44 AM   #309
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Air Deccan to acquire 112 planes in 112 months

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Air Deccan, India's first no-frills, low-cost airline, has lined up a huge expansion plan to tap the nation's booming aviation sector.

"We will be launching 112 aircraft in 112 months. So every month we will add a new airplane over the next 9 years," Air Deccan managing director Capt G R Gopinath said, speaking to rediff.com.

The airline also plans to go public soon and will make its initial public offering in a few months. "Talks are on and a final decision will be taken in two weeks," he said. Air Deccan has already taken delivery of 7 new ATR aircraft, and plans are underway to replace the entire fleet with new aircraft: ATRs and Airbuses.

Gopinath also said that the airline will require about 900 pilots in the next 6 to 7 years.

To scale up services, Air Deccan will take assistance from Ryan Air, the United Kingdom-based low-cost airline, and JetBlue Airways of the United States. Top management teams from these carriers will soon visit Air Deccan to help upgrade services.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 04:06 AM   #310
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THE SKEPTIC: Indian Air Mergers May Be European Threat
16 January 2006
Howard Wheeldon

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Jet Airways may not be well-known outside India, but if it carries off a merger with private Air Sahara it could quickly become a real threat to Europe's budget carriers.

If Jet and Sahara do merge the combined airline would have in excess of 50% domestic market share in India, and would be one of the largest regional players in South East Asia. It could easily seek to expand by moving into the European budget sector.

A deal could also spur other consolidation in the region. And it might even renew government thinking that instead of proposing two separate IPOs, merging India's two flag carriers - Air India and Indian Airlines - would be a much better idea than having two listed airlines struggling to compete.

India is not a mature market for air travel. Flying is suddenly big business, and having more powerful market share and even more airport slots should lead to greater efficiency and better profits.

Mind you, consolidation won't be great news for India's vast system of railways, which gobble up government investment, cost and bureaucracy. For generations the only affordable way to travel across this vast nation has been by rail, but as the Indian economy grows more people can afford to fly.

Jet Airways' motto - "We don't fly aircraft, we fly people" - is an apt description for an airline that's considered the preferred carrier for business travel.

Merging with Air Sahara, which currently has a domestic flight market share around 24%, makes sense. And neither airline is restricted to the domestic scene, as both offer a small range of international flights.

Together these two could give India's flag carriers a run for their money, particularly as Jet already has alliances with several major international airlines, including British Airways.

Cheaper fares thanks to more intense competition may have been the catalyst for the rapid expansion of Indian airlines so far, but the prospect of the number of passengers rising by 20% a year over the next five years means the industry must get its act together.

For now, though, there are too many airlines in India chasing the 20 million passengers expected to fly in 2006, and profitability is patchy at best. Merging Jet and Sahara would be a step in the right direction.

(Howard Wheeldon was a senior equities analyst for 20 years, and has been a columnist at Dow Jones for the past three years. He can be reached at +44 207-842-9251 or by e-mail: [email protected])
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Old January 20th, 2006, 03:43 AM   #311
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India's Jet airlines buys rival Sahara for 500 million dollars

MUMBAI, Jan 19, 2006 (AFP) - India's largest domestic carrier, Jet Airways, has bought out rival Sahara Airlines in the industry's biggest merger yet, in a all-cash deal worth 500 million dollars, Jet said Thursday.

The takeover will merge all of the operations of Sahara with Jet, and enable it to dominate the aviation market amid cut-throat competition spurred by the introduction of the government's open-sky policy in 2003.

Jet was expected to grab about 50 percent of the domestic market ahead of state-run domestic carrier Indian, formerly Indian Airlines, which also flies some international routes, mainly to the Gulf states.

In a statement to the Mumbai stock exchange Jet Airways said the company's board had approved the deal Thursday, subject to regulatory approvals.

This will allow Jet "the acquisition by the company of 100 percent of the fully paid-up equity share capital of Sahara Airlines," it said.

Jet shares responded immediately to the announcement and rose 25.25 rupees or 2.24 percent to 1,153.95 while the benchmark Sensex index had gained 108.53 points or 1.17 percent to 9,346.06 in midday trade.

According to industry figures Jet, started by former travel agent Naresh Goyal, flew 7.9 million passengers in 2005, making it the leading airline with about 37 percent of the market.

Sahara flew 3.5 million passengers in the same period for a 12 percent market share.

Last year, the aviation industry saw the entry of four budget lines -- Kingfisher, Go Air, Spice Jet and Air Deccan -- and at least another four are expected to start services this year.

The new carriers have recently placed a combined 12 billion dollars in orders to add 200 new planes, more than doubling the present fleet level of 137, according to the International Air Transport Association.

A key competitor in the domestic market, low-budget Air Deccan, said the Jet and Sahara merger was a sign of health in the industry.

"In an emerging market like ours, when the economy is vibrant, the merger is a reflection of good times. It shows that there is confidence in the market to buy," Air Deccan Managing Director G.R. Gopinath said from Bangalore.

"As far as we are concerned, it is not going to affect us, since they are flying to the top-end of the market, and we are competing with the bottom-end of the market."

But while entrepreneurs are keen to exploit the open skies policy, rapid expansion has placed severe stress on the country's antiquated airports and demand for pilots has led to widespread poaching.

The number of air travellers in India rose by 26.5 percent in the six months to March 2005 with 18.52 million people boarding flights and that is expected to hit 50 million a year in the next five years on the back of a booming economy.

In December, European aircraft maker Airbus said that India's fast-growing aviation sector was expected to order between 800 and 1,000 planes over the next two decades.

Airbus has already signed a deal for 43 aircraft over the next five years from Indian and has orders for about 188 aircraft from private airliners.

Meanwhile Air India, the country's state-owned international carrier, has already announced it will acquire 68 Boeing airliners with a list price of 11 billion dollars in one of the biggest deals in Indian aviation history.

The delivery, of 23 777s, 27 787-8 Dreamliners and 18 next-generation 737-800s will be completed in the next decade.
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Old January 21st, 2006, 03:06 AM   #312
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Oasis for Sahara - Airlines in India
21 January 2006
The Economist

COMPARED with their elderly and decrepit American cousins, India's private airlines are the very picture of robust youthfulness. But they have their woes too: an acute shortage of pilots, rising fuel and labour costs and, above all, surging competition. The number of domestic air passengers in India is growing by about 25% a year and is expected to climb from around 20m a year now to 50m a year in the next five years. In response, no fewer than five new carriers have entered the market since August 2003. A further two or three will be added this year. No market could absorb that sort of expansion, and this week the inevitable consolidation began.

On January 19th Jet Airways confirmed that it has agreed to buy its smaller rival, Sahara, for a price of “around $500m” in cash. Jet last year overtook Indian Airlines, owned by the government, to become the largest domestic carrier, with about 9m passengers. Sahara accounts for 12-13% of the market, so the acquisition will take Jet's share, which has been falling because of the new competition, to more than 50%. Jet's chairman and main owner, Naresh Goyal, denied reports that he will turn Sahara into a low-cost airline competing with the new budget airlines, such as Air Deccan and SpiceJet.

Binit Somaia, an analyst with the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation in Sydney says the deal makes sense since Sahara is a full-service carrier that flies Boeings, as Jet does. Jet's position as the market leader, with world-class standards of service that make most rivals look shoddy, seems secure for a while. Kingfisher was another potential buyer of Sahara. But it is purely a domestic carrier, with a fleet of Airbuses. It also reportedly proposed to raise some of the price through a share issue. Alok Dalal, of India Infoline, a financial-research firm, says the Sahara group, with interests from housing to financial services to television, faces “a cash crunch”.

A big attraction for Jet may be Sahara's overseas routes. Jet already has a few foreign flights, including routes to London, Katmandu and Colombo. Now it has the chance to steal a march on the newer airlines by expanding further internationally. At present, Indian rules prohibit carriers with less than five years domestic experience from operating international routes.

Speculation may now turn to other carriers and potential mergers. In particular, many analysts expect Indian Airlines to reopen talks with Air India, the national flag carrier, which has no domestic routes, and believes it needs them to be viable. But, according to Tim Coombs of Aviation Economics, a consultancy, Air India should steer clear of domestic routes and focus instead on improving its international services.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 09:17 AM   #313
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India's biggest private airline Jet posts 53 percent drop in Q3 profit

MUMBAI, Jan 21, 2006 (AFP) - India's largest carrier Jet Airways reported Saturday its net profit slid by 53 per cent during the third quarter due to higher fuel costs and competition in the country's cut-throat aviation market.

Jet Airways Ltd. said net profit for the three months to December plunged to 610.1 million rupees (13.8 million dollars) from 1.3 billion rupees in the same period a year earlier, according to a company statement.

But third-quarter revenue grew 22 percent to 14.99 billion rupees, the company said.

Jet, which flies to international destinations such as London and Singapore and is awaiting US landing rights, cited high fuel costs for the fall in profit and increasing competition, the Press Trust of India reported.

The announcement of the profit fall came after Jet agreed earlier in the week to purchase rival Sahara Airlines for 500 million dollars cash.

Mumbai-based Jet's move to purchase Sahara is aimed at seeking to assure its dominance in the Indian skies in the face of a clutch of new airline entrants, many of them low-cost.

The merger, which still is subject to regularity approval, would create an airline with around 50 percent of the fast-growing domestic market.

Jet's chairman Naresh Goyal, a travel agent turned entrepreneur, has said the takeover will give the airline "economies of scale" and cut costs, thus boosting profits.

Jet has seen its market share erode to about 38 percent from a peak of nearly 50 percent as nearly half a dozen new airlines have taken to the skies in India over the past two years.

Sahara, owned by flamboyant businessman Subrata Roy, holds some 10 to 12 percent of the market.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 07:53 AM   #314
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Take-off aborted Muddle and indecision dog - India's airport modernisation plans.
24 January 2006
Financial Times

Airport construction and expansion have become political and regulatory minefields in many parts of the world, above all in those where opponents are free to object through the courts and the ballot box. Even so, the muddle and indecision engulfing India's plans to modernise its shamefully decrepit facilities take some beating.

Rapid decisions are vital because inadequate capacity is choking the growth of air travel and of the economy as a whole; because airport modernisation is a litmus test of India's determination to proceed with much-needed investment in other types of infrastructure, such as electricity and roads; and because the programme is widely viewed as a gauge of the country's readiness to open up to foreign capital and management expertise.

Although greenfield projects in Bangalore and Hyderabad finally appear set to go ahead, proposals for the partial privatisation and modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai are still grounded. Since the latter schemes are supposed to be models for the updating of more than 30 other airports, improvements in most of the nation's aviation infrastructure are on hold.

Ministers are due to seek a way out of the tangle today. It stems, not from political opposition to airport modernisation on principle, but from mismanagement of tendering procedures. These have left just one bidder, a German-led consortium, for Delhi and Mumbai airports. Since the government's rules prohibit one contractor from doing both projects, it is in a bind.

From the outset, the government has proceeded as if it were less interested in pushing ahead purposefully than in avoiding blame by political opponents if anything went wrong. It set excessively onerous and discriminatory conditions that put off many experienced foreign airport operators, because they could not see how they could earn a reasonable financial return.

Singapore, which did enter the bidding, withdrew in frustration. Others were eliminated by an overly rigid assessment system. Indian as well as foreign bidders have bitterly criticised the needless complexities of the tendering process, bureaucratic obfuscation and inter-departmental wrangling.

Praful Patel, the reformist civil aviation minister, wants a decision by the end of the month. If the government is to retain any credibility, this deadline must be kept. Contracts must be awarded quickly and the winners allowed to get on with the job.

When India unshackles the private sector, things get done: witness the lower prices and much improved choice and service standards since it introduced competition in domestic air transport a few years ago. But delays in airport modernisation are squandering the benefits of airline liberalisation. Delhi has run out of excuses for political and bureaucratic dithering. If ever there was a time to show it is serious about reform, it is now.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 12:44 PM   #315
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JET AIRWAYS- AIR SAHARA DEAL MONOPOLISTIC IN NATURE

Acquisition of air sahara by jet airways is monopolistic in nature and should not be allowed by the civil aviation ministry of india....

The reasons are simple:
The threat faced by the largest low cost airline(LCA) "Air Deccan".
Air Deccan's intention to fly abroad after 5 statutory years has prompted jet airways to pay a ridiculous price of $500 million dollars for Air Sahara...an airline which has no planes of its own (leased 30 boeing planes) and about whose financials i am not aware of i cannot comment as its a private airline.
leaving no room for kingfisherairlines (which was in the race) or any other LCA to get a hold on the lucrative SE asian and european and american destinations.

The intention of JET Airways (though the company denies it)....is to propagte
Air Sahara as a low cost subsidiary(An example is of Qantas of Australia which has successfully launched "JETSTAR" a low cost subsidiary to serve the australian market and take on virginblue head on.....The brand "JETSTAR" has been further extended overseas as a low cost international airline "JETSTAR ASIA"; which recently commenced flights on kolkatta-singapore and banglore-singapore routes. <www.jetstarasia.com>

What has to be seen is further the overseas rights enjoyed by airsahara will be transfered to jet airways

comments if any can be posted to [email protected]
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Old January 26th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #316
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
India Asks Airlines To Train Pilots To Operate In Fog
27 December 2005

NEW DELHI (Dow Jones)--Responding to delays and cancellation of flights from Delhi airport due to fog, the Indian government Tuesday asked domestic airlines to train pilots to operate in fog by next winter or face loss of Delhi routes.

Over the weekend, more than 80 domestic and international flights arriving or departing from Delhi were canceled or diverted due to a thick fog cover last week.

"Airlines say a large investment is required to train pilots for using instrument landing system CAT III B, but in the larger interest we decided that those airlines unprepared for fog (including those unable to use the system) by next winter will not be allowed to fly in and out of Delhi," Ajay Prasad, secretary civil aviation, said after a meeting with representatives of all domestic airlines.

The CAT III B system, which is equipment used for takeoff and landing during poor visibility conditions, has been installed at the Delhi airport. However, airlines don't have enough trained pilots to use the system during landing and taking off.

Due to flight delays and cancellations, many passengers have been stranded at the already congested airport. "Passengers on low-cost airlines have a common complaint that they are not given meal or accommodation in case of delays," said Prasad.

Three low-cost and two full-service airlines have started operations in India this year to take advantage of the double-digit growth in the aviation sector.

However, airlines are reluctant to spend money on training pilots for low visibility landing, as Delhi has thick fog for only about a month out of the year.


Does it take a certian type of aircraft to operate in the fog? I wonder if it's possible to operate a plane like a Cessna 172 or a 737-200 in the fog.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 02:32 AM   #317
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UK PRESS: India Eases Criteria For Airport Privatizations
27 January 2006
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

The Indian government is easing its restrictions on its process of privatizing airports in Mumbai and Delhi after only one bidder managed to meet the conditions, the Financial Times reported on its Web site Friday.

This lone successful bidder was a consortium of GMR Industries Ltd. (500162.BY), Fraport AG (FRA.XE), a unit of a Malaysian airport body and Indian infrastructure fund IDFC.

Now, five candidates are eligible for the final leg of the bidding contest, which has been hampered by disagreements over technical qualifications and tender procedures, FT reported.

"We had to lower the bar because there was only one that got through and we could not run the re-bidding because that would raise legal issues, delay the process and cause us huge embarrassment," said a senior government official.

Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told the FT in Davos that these bidders would be revealed "within days."

The deadline for finalizing the bids is Jan. 31.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 05:29 PM   #318
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Air Deccan to float IPO of 24.5 mln shrs

NEW DELHI, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Air Deccan Ltd., India's first low-cost carrier, will soon make an initial public offering of 24.546 million shares to fund expansion plans and tap growth in a soaring market.

"The plans include setting up a training centre, a hangar facility and creating infrastructure," Deccan Aviation Ltd., the owner of Air Deccan, said in a statement late on Friday.

"The issue will constitute 25 percent of the fully diluted post issue capital."

It gave no other details on timing and pricing, but said the price discovery would be through book building route. Late last year, the carrier had said it plans to raise $250 million through a public offer.

Air Deccan, which began services in August 2003 with a single turboprop aircraft, has a fleet of 23 planes and has carried more than 2.7 million passengers.

In December, it placed an order for 30 Airbus A320s at a list price of $1.5 billion.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 06:32 PM   #319
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Kuwait's ALAFCO leases Boeing 777 to Air India

KUWAIT, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Kuwait's Aviation Lease and Finance Co. (ALAFCO) said on Saturday it has leased a Boeing 777-200 aircraft to Air India, bringing to five the total number of planes leased to that airline.

ALAFCO said in a statement it leased the long-range $75-million plane for five years but did not disclose how much the latest deal is worth.

ALAFCO signed in November a $2.9 billion deal with European aircraft maker Airbus for 12 A350-800s with an option to buy six more. ALAFCO plans to increase its fleet to 50 commercial jets in the next few years.

In the statement, ALAFCO said 2005 profits rose 14 percent to 3.5 million dinars while the value of its assets increased to 105.6 million ($361.2) and shareholders equity rose 6 percent to 2.24 million dinars.

ALAFCO operates under Islamic sharia rules that ban interest. Leading Islamic bank Kuwait Finance House owns 89 percent of ALAFCO and the rest is held by national flag carrier Kuwait Airways Corp.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 02:49 AM   #320
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whats is going on with modernisations of airports?
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