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Old October 18th, 2006, 02:42 AM   #421
hkskyline
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India's Jet Airways flies into Q2 loss

MUMBAI, Oct 17, 2006 (AFP) - India's largest private airline Jet Airways posted a second-quarter net loss Tuesday, hit by cut-throat competition from low-cost rivals, rising staff and fuel costs and a fall in passengers.

The carrier clocked a net loss of 551.3 million rupees (12.1 million dollars) for the three months ended September 30, against a net profit of 685.9 million rupees a year earlier.

Total income rose 37.5 percent to 18.21 billion rupees.

This is the second consecutive quarterly loss for the company. Its first quarter losses stood at 440 million rupees (9.7 million dollars).

The company said its fuel costs were higher by 1.726 billion rupees (37.6 million dollars) during this quarter versus the same period a year ago.

Jet said the July-September period was traditionally characterized by lower passenger seat factors compared to other periods. Domestic seat factor fell to 65.6 percent from 71.8 percent a year ago.

Analysts said Jet continues to face stiff competition from low-cost carriers, with its market share slipping to 30 percent.

"Jet in recent quarters has faced the pressures of growing competition from low-cost carriers like Air Deccan, Spice Jet and airlines like Kingfisher," said Alok Dalal, an analyst with equity research firm IndiaInfoline.

"The poor load factor has also impacted Jet," he said.

Jet stock fell 1.89 percent or 11.8 rupees to 616.1 rupees, prior to the results announcement.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 06:42 AM   #422
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A perfect example of how the Government of India acts only when it hits the fan.

Rush at airports: Govt grounds new flights

Quote:
Congestion at airports has led to the government turning down requests from airlines to launch new flights to Bangalore and Pune airports.

Similarly, peak hour congestion at Mumbai airports has resulted in the Airports Authority of India (AAI) refusing permission to new flights between 6-10 am and 4-7 pm.

Airlines seeking landing slots at these airports have been advised by the civil aviation ministry to look at alternative airports.

According to ministry sources, a start-up carrier which wanted permission to operate a 6 am flight between Mumbai and Delhi had been denied permission. It has been asked to schedule the landing at 5 am.

In case of the Pune airport, which handled about 1,268 landings and take-offs last month, the problem is the presence of a Sukhoi squadron.

At the Bangalore airport, where 7,077 flights land and take off in a month, the situation is worse. The airport authorities have reduced the parking time for airlines.

In addition, airlines have been asked to develop multiple airport hubs to avoid rush at a few airports. For example, a large number of airlines want to base aircraft at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

“There are issues in getting landing and parking slots at certain airports. We are looking at ways to work around it by looking at alternative airports from where we can start new services,” said a senior Air Sahara executive.

According to airline industry sources, a similar situation is arising in Delhi as well. “There are about 10 applicants for three landing slots in Delhi. We are yet to decide who will get these slots,” said an AAI official.
Ah, I hate our politicians so very much. the [email protected] continue to sleep through the great Indian growth story. But slowly we should be able to shake them out of their slumber.
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Old October 19th, 2006, 06:30 AM   #423
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Jet plans European base for expat pilots
19 October 2006
The Economic Times

MUMBAI: Jet Airways is starting a European base for the expat pilots on its rolls in an attempt to save on the exorbitant costs of basing the pilots in India.

The pilots, who are mostly European, will now be based at home and will fly straight to their point of duty a day before their flight. Jet Airways has 104 expat pilots on its rolls and the pilots cost the airline double that of Indian pilots.

The airline is hoping to cut costs, particularly of the exorbitant hotel room rates in India, by basing the pilots in Europe, Jet CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said on Wednesday.

The Mumbai-based carrier, which is India's largest by market share, recorded losses of Rs 55 crore in the second quarter. The airline is trying to cut costs and measures include a new fuel policy to optimise the use of aviation fuel.

Jet Airways has incidentally increased the fare on the highly competitive Mumbai-London route. The return economy base fare has been hiked to Rs 20,000 from Rs 16,500 from October 1.

"The airline will prefer to not to dilute its yield even if it has lower passenger load factors,"said Mr Prock-Schauer. Jet Airways also has no plans to lower the fuel surcharge imposed on passengers in the near future he said. The airline has still not fully recovered the impact of high fuel prices.

Answering analysts, Raja Parthasarthy, executive vice-president (finance) said a 1% increase in fuel price has a $5m impact on the airline.

Other measures include the installation of winglets on the wings of all its aircraft to reduce fuel consumption. Domestic carriers are expected to lose about $500m this year because of addition in capacity. Seat capacity has grown by about 40% in the second quarter of '06-07.

Mr Prock-Schauer hoped that some airlines may revisit expansion plans. He expressed hope every airline will come to realistic pricing. But, he clarified the recently formed Federation of Indian Airlines, won't regulate fares.

On the Jet-Sahara deal, Mr Parthasarthy said Jet Airways has got the Rs 1,500 crore that was stuck in an escrow account. But the funds were released with a 100% cash collateral.

Jet Airways benefits to the extent that the interest on the amount now accrues to the airline. The airline has deferred its plans to raise capital till market conditions improve, he said.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 04:02 PM   #424
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Its here! The first of Indian's 43 new Airbuses is finally here.

India's state-run airline receives first of 43 new Airbus aircraft


Quote:
State-run domestic carrier Indian (formerly known as Indian Airlines) today received the first jet of a 43-plane order placed with Europe's Airbus Industries under a 2 bln usd deal signed in February, officials said.

This is the first new aircraft that the airline added to its fleet in about a decade, a federal aviation ministry official said.

Delivery of all 43 aircraft is expected to be completed by March 2010, he said.

The A319 which joined the fleet today is the domestic carrier's 74th aircraft.

Reports today said the government is planning to merge international carrier Air India and its domestic counterpart Indian into a mega-carrier with about 130 aircraft to take on competition from rivals such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates and British Airways.
They got a video!
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Old October 20th, 2006, 06:58 PM   #425
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Patel tells A-I, IA: Better deliver, we’re watching

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The celebratory mood at IGI Airport ended soon after Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel received Indian Airlines’ new Airbus A319. Patel then changed the subject — lambasting both Air India and Indian Airlines for sheer incompetence and falling short of the government’s expectations with a warning to reform or face the consequences.

“I am personally not very happy with the way both carriers have been performing in recent times. I want them to take my words seriously,” Patel said, with Indian (Airlines) chairman and managing director Vishwapati Trivedi sharing the dais. “The national carriers have to realise that these are changing times and the onus to be competitive lies on them. The government will not be a mute spectator to the goings-on in both carriers and will take corrective action.”

“I want to tell all employees of Air India and Indian Airlines that they have to come upto the expectations of both the government and the people.”

As first reported by The Indian Express, Indian Airlines has not only incurred huge losses in the first few months of the current financial year but the valuation of its total fleet has come down by around $200 million in the insurance finalised for this year. In a recent meeting to review the airline’s performance, Union Cabinet BK Chaturvedi also pulled up the airline officials, citing issues like grounding of at least 12 aircraft.

Patel said the Prime Minister had constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM), chaired by Finance Minister P Chidamabaram, to deliberate on the issue. The GoM would include ministers of Civil Aviation, Defence, Personnel, Tourism and Culture, Company Affairs, Law, Public Enterprise and the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission. “We must see to it that by the end of the financial year, both carriers are merged into one and ready to take on the competition. The government has been very supportive of both national carriers and wants to eventually see a stronger national carrier,” Patel said.
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 07:41 AM   #426
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International airlines - fast expanding to India

There has been a spate of recent announcements by various international airlines regarding starting of new direct SCHEDULED passenger flights to India, in their winter schedules

A few of them that i remember:

- Finnair to Delhi
- Eurofly to Delhi
- Transaero to Amritsar
- Air Slovakia to Delhi and Amritsar
- Kam air to Delhi from Kabul
- GMG air from Dhaka to Delhi
- Emirates to Bangalore (its 8 th India destination)
- Lufthansa to Kolkatta and Hyderabad (now flying from 6 Indian cities)
- Thai to Hyderabad and Bodh Gaya
- Air China to Delhi
- EVA air to Mumbai
- Condor to Goa
- Srilankan to Goa (its 12th India destination)
- Monarch to Delhi
some of these must be old news - but still -
- Austrian and Turkish expanded to Mumbai after Delhi
- Delta is starting nonstop from New York to Mumbai
- Asiana announced additional flights to Delhi
- Silkair announced additional flights to Kochi (daily) and Trivandrum (5X)
- Alitalia expanded to Delhi after Mumbai
- Air France starts flying out of Chennai

Overall, the number of Foreign airlines offering scheduled passenger services to india has almost touched 80 (Excluding cargo only airlines and scheduled charter flights)
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 10:35 AM   #427
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Note that I haven't mentioned expansion plans of a number of airlines such as South African that announced increase in frequency to Mumbai and China Airlines that has increased its Delhi - Taipei service to 5 times a week.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 12:12 AM   #428
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Hey all, the Indian aviation sector continues to impress. Small towns are being connected at an increasing pace with many regional startups planning to fill the gaps. With the planned capacity expansion in all sections, including the new airports and new aircrafts, things should only get better.

Now calling at all towns

Quote:
TAKING a train to small towns may soon become a matter of choice rather than compulsion. With private airlines flying out to a host of new destinations, regional connectivity has finally arrived.

The facts lie in the figures. Though all major airlines ran losses this year, domestic passenger traffic registered a growth of 48 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal.

Take the case of low-cost carrier Air Deccan. From operating 90 flights a day to 32 domestic destinations till March 2005, the airline had strengthened its network in just a year by taking the number to 250 flights a day to 52 destinations. The airline is currently operating 300 flights a day to 59 destinations. Air Deccan has recently added two new destinations— Kandla and Bellary — on its own network as well as on the country’s civil aviation map. It now plans to connect Pathankot shortly.

Jet Airways too increased its daily domestic flights from 275 last year to 310 this year. Other private airlines have followed suit. Kingfisher Airlines, Air Sahara and Spicejet have added about 14 destinations. In fact, according to latest figures released by the Civil Aviation ministry there has been a growth of 32.2 per cent in the total domestic aircraft movement in the first quarter of the current fiscal. Between April and June this year, a whopping 1,91,150 aircrafts movements were recorded in the domestic sector.

IT’S been no secret that breaking the ‘‘big cities-centric’’ air-traffic patterns to ensure regional connectivity has been high on civil aviation minister Praful Patel’s agenda. But even as his ministry mulls sops like free landing, parking and route navigation to encourage airlines to operate to smaller cities and towns, the fact that many private airlines have already sniffed a great business opportunity here has come as a welcome surprise to the government.

There’s been good news for other destinations as well that had air connections but very few flights in the past. Now that’s being set right (see Back in the Loop). Places like Jammu, Srinagar, Chandigarh, Varanasi, Bhopal, Gwalior, Rajkot, Aurangabad, Belgaum, Kolhapur, Calicut, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Jabalpur, Mangalore, Tirupati, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai and Port Blair too now have more flights than ever before.

THE northeast has also finally got connected. Agartala, Aizawl, Imphal, Dibrugarh and Baghdogra now have daily flights from Kolkata. Jet Airways has recently started flights to Jorhat, the first private carrier to do so. In September, Indian Airlines increased its frequency to Silchar, Imphal and Agartala to seven days a week and started 14 flights a week between Kolkata-Guwahati. The airline also resumed the Guwahati-Agartala airlink with a daily flight.

Meanwhile, in response to an increased demand for seats on some routes, many airlines have upgraded their aircrafts. Jet Airways, for instance, has upgraded from ATR to Boeing 737 on routes touching bases at Indore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Kochi and Mangalore. Places like Leh, Vadodara and Amritsar too have additional frequencies of Jet Airways flights. Coimbatore has been upgraded from ATRs to Airbus aircraft operated by Air Deccan. From June 2006, Indian Airlines has started daily Airbus flight between Delhi-Bhopal-Indore-Mumbai offering 1,000 seats per week in each direction.

‘‘Already there are talks of several new airlines contemplating region-specific operations in the north, south and the northeast. If the government provides some sops on fuel taxation, parking and landing charges and navigation charges, more airlines would be willing to go to regional centres.”

The government, meanwhile, is apparently working out a detailed policy to promote airlines interested in operating smaller aircraft, 80-seater and fewer, flying from a single metro within a region. This is being done to restart operations at airstrips that are currently not operational.
Back in the loop

• Gorakhpur now has thrice-a-week flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Indore and Allahabad
• Tuticorin gets connected to Chennai with a daily flight
• Rajahmundry has daily flights connecting it to Chennai, Hyderabad and Vijaywada
• Hubli is connected with daily flights to Bangalore and Mumbai
• Bhubaneswar is now connected to 20 cities daily with 21 Air Sahara flights
• Deccan has two flights daily to Bhubaneswar from Kolkata and six flights a week from Delhi
• Dehradun is also connected to Delhi with two flights a day
• Dibrugarh now has daily flights from Kolkata and Guwahati
• Daily flights connect Raipur to Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Ranchi
• Indore has daily flights from Delhi and Gwalior. It is also connected to Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ranchi, Lucknow and Chennai
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Old November 6th, 2006, 12:18 AM   #429
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also, there seem to be some differences in the traffic projections done for Delhi. While the airport consortium projects projects international air traffic to be 25.66 million by 2026, the Airports Authority of India projects it to be 72.30 million.

Similarly, for the domestic sector, the airport consortium projects it to be 56.94 million, while the AAI projects it to be 221.17 million.

My personal opinion, and the easy way out, is that it will probably lie in the middle somewhere.

Govt to GMR: need to up Delhi airport passenger figure to 35 m by 2010

Quote:
The masterplan for modernising and restructuring the Delhi airport has hit a roadblock with the passenger traffic growth projections made by the GMR Fraport-led consortium falling way short of government estimates, both till 2010 Commonwealth Games and over 20 years.

Having already pulled up the consortium over its passenger traffic estimates for 2010, the Civil Aviation Ministry is now seeking major “corrections” in the proposed figures before freezing the masterplan.

A top official told The Indian Express that the ministry has told the builders that their figure of 28 million passengers by 2010 is unacceptable and asked them to ensure that infrastructure by that year should be able to cater to 35 million people.

Asked by the ministry to evaluate the proposals made in the masterplan submitted on September 29, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has found huge gaps in the passenger forecasts made by the joint-venture and government during various phases of the new airport’s development.

Sources said AAI has told the ministry that in a 2026 scenario, the developer’s projection for international passenger traffic is almost a third of the government’s. The GMR-Fraport projections for domestic traffic are around a fourth of AAI’s.

While the company says international passenger traffic will grow to 25.66 million per year by 2026, AAI says the number will touch 72.30 million. Similarly, the developers see the number of domestic passengers rising to 56.94 million per year against AAI’s projection of 221.17 million by 2026.

The AAI also points to many other faults in the plan, including:

• The proposal to shift IA’s maintenance hangars near the taxi track leading to an Air Force facility may not be acceptable to IAF
• No mention of the new ramp to be constructed on the city-side
• No clarity on how passengers will be accommodated during the transition from old construction to the new
thoughts, comments?
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Old November 6th, 2006, 12:27 PM   #430
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronik View Post
also, there seem to be some differences in the traffic projections done for Delhi. While the airport consortium projects projects international air traffic to be 25.66 million by 2026, the Airports Authority of India projects it to be 72.30 million.

Similarly, for the domestic sector, the airport consortium projects it to be 56.94 million, while the AAI projects it to be 221.17 million.

My personal opinion, and the easy way out, is that it will probably lie in the middle somewhere.

Govt to GMR: need to up Delhi airport passenger figure to 35 m by 2010



thoughts, comments?
221M? cant imagine an aiport doing that kind of a figure! is the decimal point in the wrong place by any chance???
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Old November 6th, 2006, 12:43 PM   #431
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It's an amazing target but hard to achieve.

I believe it's another wild guess for the long run (year 2026). Personally I don't believe anything in the long run, the greatest Economist Keyne once said, "In the long run we're all dead"
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Old November 7th, 2006, 01:37 PM   #432
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Jet Airways to connect Port Blair & Bangkok with Kolkata

Kolkata, Nov. 6 (PTI): A Kolkata-Port Blair flight, an additional one to Delhi and daily ones to Bangkok from the metropolis were today announced by private carrier Jet Airways as part of a major expansion plan in eastern India.

"Jet Airways will operate a daily flight to Port Blair from November 11, an early evening flight to Delhi from December 1 and a daily flight to Bangkok from January 18, 2007 from Kolkata," Jet Chief Executive Officer, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, told a press conference here.

The Kolkata-Port Blait flight had been fully booked for the next three months, he said.

Prock-Schauer said the Centre had allowed Jet to operate a flight from Kolkata to Bangkok, which would be the first ever foreign flight from the metropolis by a private airline.

It would also operate a Delhi-Bangkok flight from the same date, he said.

With the introduction of its Kolkata-Port Blair flight, Jet would have four aircraft based in Kolkata.

The opening offer for the Kolkata-Bangkok-Kolkata in economic class would Rs 6,000 and an additional Rs 3,200 as taxes, totalling Rs 9,200 approximately.

With its fleet strength going up to 90 from the existing 58 by the end of 2008-09, several new destinations in North America, Europe, South Africa, Kenya, China and Asean countries would be connected. The airlines aimed at making the revenue ratio in international and domestic sectors 50:50 from the present 17:83 basis, he said.

The airline has also entered into tie-ups with several foreign airlines like United Airlines and Qantas for improved global operations, he said.

Noting that the airline's domestic market share was 32 per cent at present, the CEO said that this would also go up with the airline touching several new destinations, besides increasing capacity in the existing routes in the country.

"However, our expansion will be purely on market requirement," he said, adding that the airline had no intention to consider itself a low-cost subsidiary in future.

Jet Airways operates over 330 daily flights to 49 destinations spanning the length and breadth of India and beyond including London, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo and Kathmandu at present.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 05:18 PM   #433
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some US related news....

India, US sign pact to boost aviation ties

Quote:
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) of the United States and the ministry of civil aviation signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on Monday paving the way for technical assistance from US on a host of aviation related matters. But officials said the pact did not cover security aspects, and mainly concerned logistics and administration.

Besides technical and managerial expertise, the FAA will provide training for Indian civil aviation personnel. It will also provide assistance in inspection and calibration of civil aviation equipment and air navigation facility in India.

The MoA is an umbrella agreement and would have many subordinate agreements as and when signed with different agencies such as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel said that India would receive guidance and expertise of the FAA which would be helpful to manage the volume of aviation traffic in the coming years.
------------------------------------------------

Jet Airways ready for flights to US

Quote:

Jet Airways is all set to begin flights from India to the US and Canada. The private sector airline has applied to the Centre for slots for its aircraft to operate flights from here to the US, sources told Business Line. Initially, the airline plans to operate from Delhi and Mumbai to three US cities — New York, Chicago and either San Francisco or Los Angeles.

However, the airline will also have to await clearance from the US Government before it can start operating regular commercial flights from India.

Sources indicated that the routes being considered by the airline include operating Mumbai-Brussels-New York and Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco.

If the airline decides to operate to Los Angeles, then that flight too will be operated through Shanghai, sources said, and added that the airline was also examining the option of operating on the Delhi-Dusseldrof-Toronto sector. The airline, however, may have to wait till April or May next year before it is in a position to operate these flights, as it is scheduled to take delivery of the Boeing 777 aircraft by then.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 02:18 PM   #434
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Jet Airways receives clearance from US.

http://inhome.rediff.com/money/2006/nov/16jet.htm

Quote:

The US State Department has given security clearance to India's Jet Airways, enabling the private carrier to launch flights to America.

The clearance was formally granted to the premier private carrier by the Department of Transportation after the State Department said the airline had passed security, sources said.

The authority of exemption was granted by hte US Department of Transportation in favour of Jet Airways, they said. Jet's plans to launch operations to the US a year ago were upset after an American company of the same name alleged that the Indian carrier had links with terrorist masterminds like Dawood Ibrahim and outfits like Al Qaeda.

Jet Airways had then indicated that it would take legal action against the United States-based Jet Airways Inc whose president and chief executive officer had alleged that the Indian carrier had links with terrorist organisation Al Qaeda.

It is understood that the US authorities have informed the airline about the clearance granted to it. Following allegations levelled by US-based Jet Airways Inc about the Indian carrier's underworld links, the US Department of Transportation had investigated the matter and also sought information from the Indian government.

The Union home ministry had last year given clearance after a fresh inquiry.

The airline had then planned to launch flights to New York via Brussels, which did not materialise.

Jet Airways has now sought Union civil aviation ministry clearance to operate to New York and San Francisco from the summer of 2007.

It has also sought permission to fly to Toronto, via Hong Kong and via Dusseldorf, from next year, besides China.

Other destinations it plans to fly to in the near future are South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Rome, Zurich, Munich and Frankfurt.

The private carrier had last year signed $2.5 billion worth purchase agreements with aircraft manufacturers Airbus Industrie and Boeing for ten A 330-200s and ten B 777-300 ERs. Their deliveries are expected to start from the first quarter of next year.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel himself had been annoyed at the delay in security clearance to Jet, but he had said that all required procedures have to be followed before the airline was granted permission to operate to the US.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 05:08 PM   #435
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I want Jet to sue them for every penny they've got. Nice to see 'globalization' go the other way.
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Old November 23rd, 2006, 06:19 AM   #436
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where will gonna be the location of the new terminal?

New Delhi Airport


Mumbai Airport
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Old December 1st, 2006, 07:28 PM   #437
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there is some discussion in the Aviation thread in the Indian forum about the possible location, I'll try to search for it too.

meanwhile....

Air-India Express gets first delivery from Boeing

Quote:
Flag carrier Air-India on Friday took delivery of a brand new Boeing 737-800, the first of the 68 aircraft it has ordered from the US manufacturer, which would be used by its subsidiary Air-India Express.

Last year, Air-India had placed an order for 68 aircraft from Boeing worth more than 11 bilion dollars. It includes 27 787-8 Dreamliners, eight 777-200LR (Long Range) Worldliners and 15 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes for Air-India and 18 Next Generation 737-800s for Air India Express.

The 737-800 can seat 162 to 189 passenger, can fly 260 nautical miles farther and carry 12 more passengers than the competition, a Boeing statement said.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 09:38 PM   #438
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latest construction updates for Hyderabad International Airport



More here....

http://www.newhyderabadairport.com/i...e_footage.html

http://www.newhyderabadairport.com/i..._footage1.html
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 02:39 PM   #439
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Air traffic growth in India continues unabated

Latest official traffic figures for the first 15 busiest Indian airports

Airport Apr- Aug 06 Apr- Aug 05 % increase Projected traffic for the year in Millions
Mumbai 8811419 7015534 25.6 21.02
Delhi 7799868 6056165 28.8 18.61
Chennai 3574642 2620449 36.4 8.53
Bangalore2997388 1920654 56.1 7.15
Kolkatta 2305866 1607524 43.4 5.5
Hyderabad 2231305 1429546 56.1 5.32
Cochin 1029124 744645 38.2 2.46
Ahmedabad 945446 633197 49.3 2.26
Trivandrum 716997 542000 32.3 1.71
Goa 693522 457822 51.5 1.65
Pune 600549 305419 96.6 1.43
Calicut 490469 401309 22.2 1.17
Guwahati 393945 292128 34.9 0.94
Coimbatore 344114 203704 68.9 0.82
Srinagar 307613 205732 49.5 0.73
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Old December 6th, 2006, 07:30 PM   #440
kronik
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bmi halts India-UK flight

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Cut-throat competition in the India-UK route has taken its toll on the UK’s second largest full service scheduled airline bmi (British Midland). The airliner, which was initially planning to strengthen its network in India, has indefinitely suspended its daily service to London Heathrow from Mumbai.

A member of Star Alliance, bmi had deployed Airbus A330 aircraft in this route.

A bmi executive confirmed the development. “We have taken necessary arrangements for accommodating passengers in other airlines operating in this route,” the official said.

Sources said the increasing competition and pressures on the margin have forced the airline to withdraw its services from one of the profitable international route from India.

Jet Airways, Air-India, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are the leading airlines operating direct flights to the UK destinations.

“The A330 aircraft deployed in this route had reported a major technical problem in its landing gear, which was first in the history of Airbus,” the bmi executive said.

Sources in bmi airline pointed out that there was no spare aircraft and efforts to lease an aircraft did not work out.

“Moreover, we have more expensive network in the UK and Europe, apart from long-haul routes in the Caribbean routes. So it was impossible to replace an aircraft from those routes,” the source said. The suspension, however, has an immediate and positive impact on Jet Airways.

A Jet Airways executive said the load factor in the India-UK flights, that was hovering around 65 per cent, has increased to 85 per cent following the exit of bmi.

A study by the UK-based independent specialist aviation regulator Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the number of people travelling directly between the UK and India had doubled from just over one million in 2004 to over two million for the twelve months up to July 2006.

“This is due to the greater choice and capacity available, combined with cheaper fares. Between October 2004 and October 2006, the number of direct services between India and the UK more than tripled from 34 to 112 services per week. A combination of factors such as pre-existing carriers offering more flights and arrival of new carriers in the market has been the reason,” CAA study said.
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