Dutta's mantra for success
By Sushma Arora
Sept 24: The CEO of Air Sahara, Mr Rono Dutta, has said that network;
city share; product; yield management; loyalty programme; and alliances
are the key to success of any airline.
his keynote address titled "Struggle for profits" at the
53rd TAAI annual convention here, Mr Dutta, said network is the
backbone and key flow area of any airlines. Access is most important
to create financial center hubs. India must create aviation hubs
outside India to get out of the black hole. Every other successful
airline has done it, be it British Airways or Lufthansa or Singapore
reminded that every aviation hub creates a financial center that
creates US $ 35 million to the local economy.
Dutta stressed that privatization and more access to foreign carriers
were important, but the Government must take a balanced view otherwise
it could lose to India becoming a financial hub like Dubai or Singapore.
his address, he said City Share was important to be clear on your
points of strengths. On the Product, he said failure points here
are the human contacts. It is important to upgrade technology or
be at par with tech and innovate product.
Yield management, he mentioned that "Time value to Money"
was important to stimulate demand. He said airlines have to be price
sensitive, capture customer behavior at different price points,
and have seven to eight different price structures for attracting
informed that Loyalty Programme such as frequent flyers contributes
to 15 per cent of loyalty. Price of course alone contributes 45
per cent, schedules are 20 per cent and product commands another
20 per cent in terms of loyalty programs.
on Alliances, Mr Dutta said we must learn what the British always
did. Never fight a battle alone. We need to learn from Lufthansa,
Singapore and all others what alliances can mean to the revenue
of an airline. He said that it has proven that airlines and customers
Dutta warned that the current competition through airfares between
airlines would lead to closure of some carriers. To succeed in this
tough environment, he said that two carrier hubs would not work.
Instead, the airlines should focus and specialize on few cities.
takes private carriers by the horn
big boss Indian Airlines has also sounded the fare war bugle and
has decided to take the private players by the horn on this. Though
some of the private airlines are talking of Rs 500 a ticket, Indian
Airlines announced that it would match any fare offered by any airline.
Of course there will be no compromise on our service standards
and safety, said Mr Anil Goyal, Commercial Director of the
public sector Indian Airlines.
Goyal announced better discounts and deals than the 30-day Apex
fares introduced recently by Jet Airways and Air Sahara recently.
The state-owned Indian Airlines announcing a near 60 per cent cut
in its air tickets booked 28 days in advance. Under the scheme (D-28),
a 28-day Apex (advance purchase) Delhi-Mumbai ticket will now be
available for Rs 2,500.
how IAs scheme is better than the rivals, Mr Goyal said the
main advantage is that our scheme is available for one-way flights
as well. The other scoring point is that we offer the least number
of days for advance purchase of tickets as compared to 30-day offer
by other private players.
new fares are available on metro sectors and has been introduced
to match the increased competition in the market as also to attract
AC 2-tier train passengers, he said. The Apex D-28 fares would be
available with immediate effect and would be valid for sale upto
Manjira Khurana, Director in-flight services and Coordinator Marketing
Services, said any change in booking from D-7 and D-21 (the two
other schemes already being offered) to D-28 would be permitted
without application of any cancellation charge. She said the passenger
could also be allowed to convert from Apex D-28 to normal fare without
applicable of cancellation charge till August 15.
Goyal said Indian Airlines had introduced the Smart Apex fares which
offered advance purchase options on 7-day and 21-day basis. It was
now felt that that there was a market for similar fare on an advance
purchase beyond three weeks prior to the date of travel.
D-28 is being offered on eight sectors. These include with one way
ticket price Delhi-Mumbai (Rs 2,500); Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Hyderabad
(Rs 3,000 each); and Delhi-Bangalore, Delhi Chennai, Kolkata-Mumbai,
Kolkata-Bangalore and Chennai-Kolkatta (all for Rs 3,500 each).
these new discounts, Indian Airlines has shown that it continues
to set the agenda in the aviation market, particularly on fares.
Way back in May 2001, the airline introduced the international practice
of juxtaposing the fares on market requirement and yields, with
the concept of Flexi-Fares. The underlying philosophy being that
once the place has taken off, vacant seats are an opportunity lost
the flexi-fare concept, the fares were restructured sector-to-sector,
season-to-season, peak time to non-peak time. The market had not
seen anything like this and before long, this concept had caught
up with the others in the field too. The air traveler looked forward
to something exciting coming his way all the time.
Goyal said Indian Airlines took a conscious decision that instead
of having a static and stagnant fare policy, it would have to keep
a fluid and dynamic fare structure which was both cost driven and
market driven. The various schemes and promotions that followed
were only variants of the flexi-fare module.
Apex (Advance Purchase Excursion Fares) which was a corollary to
the flexi-fare strategy module, followed soon in December 2001.
They aimed at attracting more passengers especially the top end
of rail traffic. The response to Apex fares, which have been periodically
reviewed and improvised upon, has been overwhelming, with as many
as 1,000 to 1,500 more passengers traveling Indian Airlines every
Smart Apex fare introduced in June last year, offered advance purchase
options of seven days and 21 days on as many as 56 sectors. Presently,
it is available on 67 domestic sectors. The longer period of 21
days found favour with vacationers and travelers without deadlines.
Super Saver and Super Saver Golden Edge schemes introduced last
August were a bonanza for regular travelers. While the former offered
four economy class domestic sectors for Rs 25,000, the later offered
eight economy class domestic sectors for Rs 50,000.
came positioning flight fares from April this year. Fares were cheaper
by as much as 50 per cent to 60 per cent on the domestic leg of
IAs international flights. Like on Ahmedabad-Hyderabad sector
IC 563/ 564 and IC981/ 982, the fare was Rs 3,500 as against the
normal fare of Rs 5,975.
fare for flights from Mumbai to destinations to Gujarat called the
Common Promotional Fare of Rs 2,000 was introduced in May this year
and has been a hit with the locals. A flat fare of Rs 2,000 was
charged on sectors Mumbai-Vadodara, Mumbai-Bhavnagar and Mumbai-Rajkot,
as against the normal fare of Rs 2,830, Rs 2,725 and Rs 3,130 respectively.
Mr Goyal said the airline saw a record carriage of passengers from
April to June this year. The average daily carriage was over 25,000
passengers, which the airline had not witnessed since December 2000.
The spurt in carriage can be attributed to a large part on the various
marketing initiatives of Indian Airlines including the discounted
recent offering this time to boost air travel to and from smaller
cities and mini metros is the IA Metro Non-Metro Fares from July
16 to October 15. Under this scheme, a passenger traveling on non-metro
sector in conjunction with a metro sector has to just pay Rs 1,000
for the non-metro sector. For instance, from Bangalore-Delhi-Patna,
the fare under this scheme is Rs 11,630 as against the normal Rs
15,985. Or from Udaipur-Mumbai-Chennai the metro non-metro fare
is Rs 7,030 against the normal fare of 10,645.
the fares initiative stands out for its tremendous impact on the
domestic aviation market, several other marketing initiatives taken
by Indian Airlines have simultaneously helped in boosting air travel.
The marketing initiatives along with the attractive fares and other
product upgrades aimed at giving value addition to the corporate
travelers, frequent fliers and leisure travelers.
service to Kedarnath relaunched
By Deepak Arora
DELHI: Sept 12: Though Uttaranchal is one of the youngest States,
it is one of the fastest growing States as far as tourism is concerned.
The State under the leadership of Chief Minister, Mr N D Tiwari
and under the able guidance of the Tourism Minister, Lt Gen T P
S Rawat, and Tourism Secretary, Dr N N Prasad, is doing everything
possible to make Uttaranchal a world class tourism destination.
the importance of tourism as a key GDP driver, the State has accorded
industry status to tourism. Uttaranchal, cradled in the Himalayas,
has unparallel natural beauty. It is home to famous pilgrimage and
spiritual centers for all religions like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Hemkunt
Sahib and Pirankaliyar, source of the mighty Ganga and Yamuna and
land of hundreds of lakes.
also has world centre for yoga and meditation at Rishikesh and provides
and practices concepts of wellness based on Indian system of medicine
- Ayurveda, herbal treatment and naturopathy. Its 90 per cent of
land mass is under mountains and 70 per cent under forests. It has
rich and diverse flora and fauna. It is also a paradise for adventure
tourism, white water rafting and skiing, and trekking, mountaineering
and aero sports. The world famous "Valley of Flowers",
the world heritage site of Naina Devi, and Corbett National Park
are all located in Uttaranchal.
USP of the state is that it is 150 km from the national capital
of Delhi, has high literacy rate and is completely safe and secure
destination. It has a tourist friendly environment where people
follow the motto "Atithi Devo Bhava" (Guest is God).
State Government is doing all to improve its connectivity by rail,
road and air to develop Uttranchal as an all year round tourist
that direction Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd has resumed helicopter
services to the holy shrine of Kedarnath by a five-seater Bell 407
helicopter from Augustmuni in collaboration with Garhwal Mandal
Vikas Nigam and the State Government. The fare is Rs 8,501 per passenger
for the round trip (Agustmuni-Kedarnath-Augustmuni) inclusive of
priority darshan, according to Mr Nagar V Sridhar, Chairman and
Managing Director of Pawan Hans.
Uttaranchal Tourism Secretary, Mr N N Prasad, informed that the
helicopter service would help the devotees who for various constrains
such as time, health and age cannot visit the holy shrine. "This
would ease the journey of pilgrims and save their precious time,"
Hans has signed a memorandum of understanding with Garhwal Mandal
Vikas Nigam Ltd (GMVN), a Government of Uttranchal undertaking,
for promoting pilgrimage tourism, eco tourism, adventure tourism
in the State on August 18 this year.
per the MOU, Pawan Hans would connect the important places such
as Shree Kedarnath Dham, Badrinath Dham, Ghangaria, Hemund Sahib
from Gauchar airport near Rudraprayag from the next year onwards
Nagar Sridhar said Pawan Hans along with GMVN would make efforts
to provide the basic framework for working together in future on
a long term basis for growth and business development.
Hans is one of India's leading helicopter company is known for its
its reliable helicopter operations. The company was incorporated
in 1985 with the objective of providing helicopter services to the
petroleum sector, linking inaccessible areas of the country and
operating charters for promotion of tourism.
Sridhar said last year Pawan Hans had carried 750 passengers to
Kedarnath and the weather gods had also played truants and curtailed
service during the season. "However, the company had made cash
profit. But in real sense it did not because of depreciation etc.
However, this year the company should do much better."
year, he said, we have placed one Bell 407 helicopter on service
with four flights a day. "Next year, we plan to press two helicopters
in service from summer somewhere in April/ May," added Mr Sridhar.
realize the full tourism potential, Mr Prasad informed that the
State Government has developed three airstrips at Gaucher, Chinyalisaur
and Pithoragarh. "These are ready to be operationalised,"
he added. He informed that a master plan for airstrips has also
Hans CMD said Gauchar is a beautiful airstrip. "We plan to
develop it as our base where we plan to build helicopter hangers
and build a passenger terminal that can be used to bring passengers
from Delhi and transported further by helicopters to religious and
tourist places," said Mr Sridhar. "It is for this reason
we have signed an MOU with the State agency," he added.
Prasad said that Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun is to be expanded
and operationalised. Similarly, Pantnagar and Haridwar airstrips
are to be expanded and operationalised. He said the State Government
is exploring the possibility of commencing an airline called Mountain
airline is a vision and we are looking at its viability. The Government
of India has given us Rs 15 lakhs to conduct a feasibility study.
We plan to purchase about six helicopters to commence this airline
that would take tourist to mountain and Himalayan rides," added
expanding the air connectivity, the State is also focusing on train
connectivity. Dehradun has recently been connected with a new Jan
Shatabdi train from New Delhi and a new train to Chennai. A Sampurna
Kranti train between Delhi and Kathgodam would also commence shorty,
informed Mr Prasad. He said National Highway (NH 58) was also being
upgraded to a four-lane expressway. "We also plan to develop
commences flights from Amritsar
NEW DELHI, Oct 4: Singapore Airlines (SIA) has commenced
direct flights between Amritsar and Singapore, three times a week
from Monday. Amritsar is the tenth Indian destination to be served
by SIA and its subsidiary, Silk Air. These direct flights designated
as SQ 471 (Amritsar - Singapore) and SQ 472 (Singapore -Amritsar)
will operate on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday every week.
pitches for IA, AI
DELHI, Sept 5: With the reports of the two national carriers having
a relook at its fleet acquisition plans, the US aircraft giant,
Boeing, has launched a fresh pitch with Air India and Indian Airlines.
the rapid changes in domestic travel market and global aviation
industry, the Indian carriers would have competitive advantages
if they go in for Boeing aircraft, said Dr Dinesh Keskar, senior
vice president (Sales), Boeing.
Keskar said that in the past few years, the aviation industry has
gone through tremendous changes. "After a few years of downturn
in the aviation industry, air traffic is back on track, and is growing
especially in India and Asia. However, now we are faced with new
challenges such as rising price of jet fuel and appreciation of
the Euro, but also opportunities for traffic growth."
jet fuel price, combined with consistent newly introduced non-stop,
point-to-point routes to India by major international carriers and
introduction of low cost carriers throughout the region, requires
established Indian carriers to reduce cost while enhancing its product
and service offerings, he added.
Keskar said "it is encouraging that Air India and Indian Airlines
are now considering lease airplanes for their fleet expansion plans.
Leased airplanes will allow the national carriers to induct much
needed capacity immediately while required thorough evaluations
of long-term fleets are being conducted."
said that Boeing has offered to replace the aircraft leased by Air-India
from South Korea with new generation ones at a "great price"
and said Indian Airlines would save over Rs 700 crore if it bought
planes from it.
have made a proposal to Air India to replace the aircraft it has
leased from South Korea with new generation planes. It will be a
great solution at a great price," he said.
said B-747s would be replaced by similar aircraft with "new
interiors of B-777s and private televisions on each economy class
seats". The lease of the Korean Boeings expires in 2006-07.
compete with current eight international airlines that use Boeing
777s to fly 160 flights per week into various Indian destinations,
the national flagship carrier will need the competitive advantages
of superior economics, revenue potential and passenger comfort.
777-200ER/LR is the right choice for Air India to increase its market
share, enhance passengers' flying experience, and maximize profitability,"
said Dr Keskar. He said that Air India has a mission to be one of
the top airlines in the world and one airplane that can help Air
India reach this goal is Boeing 777.
reevaluations are complete, there will be no doubt that Boeing airplane
families are the most suitable for Indian carriers as they begin
to dramatically expand to connect India to the rest of the world,
777-200ER (extended range) can carry 31 more passengers, with four
tonnes more cargo than the A340-300. The airplane also burns 10
percent less fuel and costs 23 percent less to maintain per passenger
than the A340-300. In addition to greater profit potential and lower
operating costs, the 777-200ER also has a higher resale value than
compared to its rival, he said the 777-200ER has a 65 per cent market
share. Over the past five years, the 777-200ER has outsold the A340-30
by 3 to 1. On the passenger preference, he said 3 out of 4 passengers
prefer 777 because of its wider cabin, wider seats, wider aisles,
more headroom and more comfort.
Keskar said due to overall schedule reliability, significant fuel
savings, lower maintenance cost and lower operating costs, the 777-200ER
provides US $ 3.13 million more profit per year.
737-800's economic advantages are the result of its ability to generate
more revenue by carrying up to 12 more passengers and one-half tonne
more cargo than the A320. Industry data also reveals that the 737-800
costs 15 to 20 percent less to maintain than its competitor and
it can fly farther than the A320.
the offer to Indian Airlines whose proposal to acquire 43 Airbus
319s, 320s and 321s is currently being vetted by the Government,
Dr Keskar said: "our offer of Rs 700 crore rebate continues
are reports that the Government has asked Indian Airlines in have
a relook at its proposal to purchase new aircraft in the new aviation
scenario. Boeing has been making this offer for the past few years
to woo Indian Airlines into buying its planes.
back on 777, Dr Keskar said Singapore Airlines has signed a letter
of intent to purchase up to 31 Boeing B777-300ER aircraft. Eighteen
of the 31 aircraft are firm orders for delivery between 2006 to
2010, while the remaining 13 are subject to exercise of purchase
rights. At list prices, the order is worth approximately US $ 7.35
billion, including cost of spares and spare engines.
Electric GE90-115 engines will power the twin-engine aircraft. The
order reinforces SIA's standing as the biggest customer for the
Boeing 777s and has another four B777s on firm order. With the latest
order, the number of B777s in the SIA's fleet will eventually reach
B777-300ER, seating about 350 passengers and with a range of 7,000
nm, will be deployed on SIA's long-haul and medium-haul routes.
The new order will allow SIA to achieve fleet as one of the industry's
youngest, as the B747-400 is progressively retired.
revamps frequent flyer programme
By Deepak Arora
DELHI: India's private carrier, Jet Airways, has radically revamped
its Frequent Flyer Programme called Jet Privilege (JP) and has added
new global firsts to it. The new programme is more appealing, innovative,
accessible and truly world-class for over 400,000 members. It has
been created to recognise the longstanding relationship Jet Airways
shares with all its members.
new programme is a radical departure from existing frequent flyer
programme models followed by airlines around the world," said
Mr Peter Luethi, Chief Operating Officer of the airline. He added
"Jet Airways has always set the benchmark for loyalty programmes
in India. With the new Jet Privilege, we have taken a major step
forward in the way we acquire, recognise and reward our frequent
Luethi said "the new programme is not only more rewarding but
has many innovative benefits including a Global first. JP members
can now access their membership account, transact online and enjoy
a personalised web experience too."
internationally acclaimed airline loyalty programme guru, Mr. Randy
Petersen, has described the new programme as "Traditionally
Frequent Flier programmes have focussed on mileage accrual/ redemption
and fixed window for tier assessment. Jet Airways will be the first
airline to build their Frequent Flier Programme based on 'Dynamic
Tier Review' mechanism, which offers flexibility and truly understands
the customers behaviour to build profitable customer relationships."
new JP now offer two additional membership levels, thereby replacing
the earlier three tier levels with five membership levels: JP Blue,
JP Blue Plus, JP Silver, JP Gold and the elite JP Platinum. JP Members
can now access, programme details online by logging on to www.jetairways.com
The site also offers Jet Privilege members access to their own personalised
online Jet Privilege accounts. The accounts are secured with member-specified
an online JP account, members are can not only access, but also
update their JP information, purchase tickets, access customized
offers based on their preferences, verify their JPMiles and activities,
claim missing JPMiles, redeem their JPMiles for Jet Airways flights
and request any other information from the Jet Privilege Service
Center. A full-fledged dedicated Service Centre is always available
to handle any member enquiries or requirements.
the new programme Jet Airways takes a lead in the introduction of
a range of new benefits and unique privileges such as mileage earning
capabilities globally in the Hyatt/Hilton chain of hotels. It also
offers well-established features such as automatic mileage accrual,
multiple mileage earning opportunities and global redemptions. Features
that reinforce the new programme as it takes a giant leap forward.
feature that makes the new Jet Privilege programme stand apart is
the unique Dynamic Tier Review (DTR) system, a world first, pioneered
by Jet Airways. A multiple criteria based tier assessment system,
the DTR will offer JP Members quicker tier upgrades as well as enhanced
opportunities to retain their tier membership level.
JP members were required to complete or earn a fixed number of Jet
Airways flights or JPMiles within the pre-determined time frame
of one financial year, i.e., April 01 to March 31 of next year.
By automatically reviewing tier activities in the preceding 12 months,
on a daily basis, the DTR will ensure that with each calendar date,
the time frame slides a day ahead. If a member meets the applicable
criteria within a shorter period of time due to regular frequency
of travel, the DTR System will upgrade the member to a higher tier
within six months.
the end of a member's tier validity, the DTR will review the member's
activity in the preceding 12-month period and as long as he achieves
the requisite Jet Airways flights or JP Miles, the tier will be
retained for an additional 12 month period.
the system will provide for flexible time frame evaluations for
the preceding 18 and 24 months in appreciation of the member's loyalty
by allowing slight reduction in the tier requirement on the longer
criteria period. For instance, if a member needs 60 flights in 12
months to retain his Platinum status, in 18 months he will technically
require 90. However, DTR will enable him to do this at only 84.
global in nature, the JP card is accepted across 400 cities in six
continents wherever Jet Airways' international partners KLM Royal
Dutch Airline and Northwest Airlines fly to. It has more partners
and offers more benefits than any other Frequent Flyer Programme
in the Indian Subcontinent.
member starts earning JPMiles from the time he takes his first flight.
JPMiles can also be earned when a passenger flies on Jet Airways'
international partner airlines namely KLM Royal Dutch Airline and
Northwest Airlines. A Jet Airways frequent flier member can also
earn JPMiles through other programme partners that include 2500
hotels in, The Hilton Hhonors global network, 200 hotels in the
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts global chain, The Leela Palaces &
Resorts, ITC-Welcomgroup, The Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, The Park
Hotels, Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Avis Rent a Car and The Economist
benefits offered to a JP member include membership level bonuses,
access to Club Premiere lounges at airports, tele check-in, extra
baggage allowance over and above normal allowance, guaranteed reservations
upto 24 hours before departure, check-in at Club Premiere desks
and access to select KLM Lounges worldwide.
from the above Jet Airways offers its members an opportunity to
earn free flights even faster with Jet Airways Citibank Credit Cards.
In association with Citibank N.A. and MasterCard International,
this is the country's most innovative and rewarding airline co-branded
credit card which is available in both Gold and Silver variants.
Patna, the capital of Bihar, will be the next new station on Jet
Airways network. The airline will link Patna with Delhi by a daily
evening flight operated by Next Generation Boeing 737-700 aircraft
effective Monday (August 16). Patna will be the 44th destination
on Jet Airways route network including the two international stations
Colombo and Kathmandu.
Airways operates a fleet comprising of 33 Classic and Next-Generation
Boeing 737-400/700/800/900 aircraft and eight modern ATR 72-500
turbo-prop aircraft. With an average aircraft age of only four years
the airline has one of the youngest aircraft fleet in Asia. Since
inception on May 05, 1993 till end June 2004 Jet Airways has flown
over 44.8 million passengers.
comes to infant's rescue
DELHI, July 29: The public sector Indian Airlines is know for its
humane touch. In its past several decades of existence, the airline
has come to rescue of people in areas affected by the floods or
earthquake or cyclone hit. It has also rescued Indians from abroad
during contingencies like the Gulf War. During such contingencies,
it has provided medicines and relief material free of cost.
humane face of Indian Airlines was once again visible on Thursday
night when the Commander of a flight IC 904 to Bangalore from New
Delhi diverted the plane to save the life of an infant. Mrs Asma
Khan and her 10-day-old baby Muhammed Ahmed, who was born with a
critical heart ailment, accompanied by the baby's uncle Mr.Zahoor
Ahmed Khan, who arrived by a PIA flight PK-270 from Lahore to Delhi
at 1610 hrs of July 28 boarded Indian Airlines flight IC 904 to
Bangalore where the infant was to undergo heart surgery.
plane took off at 2000 hrs and on way the infant's condition deteriorated.
The crew made an announcement calling for a doctor on board. A passenger
Dr. G.Jayadevappa came forward and examined the infant with the
help of the first aid equipment available on board and opined that
the infant was in critical condition and needed to be shifted to
Capt. Sanjeev Marwah, popularly known as 'Bunty' Marwah, took on
the spot decision, alerted Hyderabad and made an unscheduled landing
at Hyderabad at 2205 hrs. The infant, with the help of Indian Airlines
officials was rushed to Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, in
an ambulance of Airports Authority of India. The oxygen cylinder
from the aircraft supported the infant till he reached the hospital.
IC 904 finally landed in Bangalore at 2335 hrs instead of the scheduled
arrival of 2220 hrs. Capt. Marwah's decision to land at Hyderabad
was lauded by all the 142 passengers on board despite the inconvenience
caused due the delay in reaching Bangalore.
infant's condition is now stable, and he has been declared fit to
travel under medical supervision to Bangalore on Thursday for surgery.
He travelle by IC 961 leaving Hyderabad at 1830 hrs on Thursday,
accompanied by a doctor and a nurse from the hospital and an IA
Indian Airlines Airport Manager at Hyderabad and other officials
called on the family and assured them of all assistance for their
travel to Bangalore. In an interview to a television channel, Muhammad's
mother and uncle have expressed deep sense of gratitude to Indian
Airlines for going out of the way and arranging timely assistance.
to infust funds into AI, IA
DELHI, July 27: Keeping in view the long-pending demand of Indian
Airlines and Air India, government has agreed in-principle to infuse
funds to expand the equity base of the two public sector carriers
for their fleet acquisition plans. It also agreed to "look
into" the demand for reconsidering the 48 per cent Withholding
Tax (WHT), a budget proposal, imposed on leasing of aircraft by
any Indian company from a foreign firm.
out of a 30-minute meeting with Finance Minister P Chidambaram here,
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told newsmen "the Finance
Minister has agreed in-principle for equity infusion." The
Kelkar Committee had recommended infusion of Rs 325 crore into Indian
Airlines to enable it acquire aircraft.
the IA has decided to buy 43 Airbus 319s, 320s and 321s, the Air
India plans to acquire 18 aircraft and another 14 for its low-cost
carrier, Air India Express.
said he wanted equity in Air India to be enhanced from Rs 105 crore
and in Indian Airlines from Rs 153 crore as part of efforts to expand
the fleet of the two airlines since low equity base was coming in
the way of acquiring more aircraft. "The final arrangement
of equity infusion has to be worked out," he said, adding both
the airlines would continue to lease ultra long range and medium
capacity long-range aircraft.
sets up control room to monitor strike
By Deepak Arora
DELHI, July 19: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman,
Mr K Ramalingam, has set up a control room to monitor the strike
called by the employees unions in protest against "privatisation"
of Delhi and Mumbai airports.
Ramalingam has also stated the AAI would evoke contingency plans
depending on the situation. The Chairman has also appealed to the
AAI Employees Joint Forum (AAIEJF) not to pursue the relay hunger
strike and resume work in the interest of the organisation.
unions are opposing the government move to modernise and restructure
the Delhi and Mumbai airports.
On Monday, the Chairman also held a meeting of Heads of the Departments
and appreciated efforts being put by them in dealing with the situation
and called for confident building measures to thwart the strike.
on Saturday, the Member (Finance), AAI, Mr VDV Prasad Rao, held
meeting with the recognised union and reportedly the ATC Guild had
assured him not to disrupt air traffic services, according to Mr
Premnath, General Manager, Communications, AAI.
fight for pie in the sky
By Deepak Arora
passengers never had it so good. Only a month after the domestic
carriers had increased fares, the airlines - Jet, Sahara and Indian
Airlines have slashed fares on certain routes by whopping 30 per
cent. The fares have now come down to Second AC sleeper train prices.
Those who can now plan a month in advance can enjoy a plane ride
with kids in tow, save on long train journey time and utilize the
extra time with friends and family and for tourism.
you read further. Hold your breath. A host of no-frills carriers
are waiting in the wings to offer you still cheaper tickets. Air
Deccan promises journey between metros like Delhi and Bangalore
for an unbelievable price of Rs 500 only. The catch is that you
have to book your flight three months in advance and you have to
be among first five lucky ones. However, the next five lucky ones
can pay Rs 100 extra to get the tickets and so on.
airline Air Sahara has reduced the airfares on the busy revenue-earning
metro routes linking Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore. A
return airfare between Delhi and Mumbai, two of India's largest
cities, has been brought down to Rs 4,444 -- compared to Rs 4,420
for air-conditioned rail travel along the same route. The rock-bottom
prices are subject to the tickets being purchased at least 30 days
in advance. The other catch is that the passenger has to stay minimum
one Sunday stay at a destination, cannot travel on Sunday and tickets
are applicable for 90 days.
the occasion of the launch of the new initiative called "SurPrices",
the Air Sahara President and CEO, Mr Rono Joy Dutta said, "In
the continuous endevour to expand the customer base, we at Air Sahara
are ensuring that air travel is made extremely attractive and affordable
for different segments of travelers." He further added,"
This initiative would give an opportunity to the train traveler
to opt for air travel". He
added the airline was planning to launch a "dynamic fare"
model that would fix fares between various domestic destinations
based on daily market demand.
Airways has also announced the launch of its 30-day "monsoon
super apex fares'' on some metro routes with immediate effect. They
will be valid till September 15. It also announced special point-to-point
fares; return excursion fares and promotional fares to Patna and
new "monsoon super apex fares" are stated to be even lower
than the "super apex fares" but are governed by the same
terms and conditions. Passengers holding the super apex fare tickets
may have these reissued to the monsoon super apex fares scheme to
avail themselves of the additional benefits, provided the 30-day
advance purchase requirement is fulfilled.
Airways said that it would offer attractive travel deals that entail
substantial savings over normal fares under its special monsoon
point-to-point and return excursion fares in economy class valid
from July 26 until October 15. Available on 56 and 26 sectors respectively,
these would involve combination of travel to non-metro sectors via
metro sectors or vice versa.
an inaugural offer on Jet Airways' Delhi-Patna-Delhi flights, slated
to start operations on August 16, passengers buying a return economy
class ticket at Rs. 11,110 for this sector will be allowed to take
a companion free of charge. On the Delhi-Lucknow-Delhi sectors,
a special one-way economy class fare of Rs. 1,999 will be introduced
from July 26, which will be valid till October 15. The existing
normal economy class fare is Rs. 3,790.
the new scheme, an economy class ticket for Delhi-Mumbai will cost
Rs. 2,500. For Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Hyderabad sectors, the fare
will be Rs. 3,000 and for other sectors - Delhi-Bangalore, Delhi-Chennai,
Kolkata-Mumbai, Kolkata-Bangalore and Kolkata-Chennai - Rs. 3,500.
Under the special monsoon economy class return excursion fares,
Delhi-Chennai-Madurai and vice versa a return ticket will come for
Rs. 22,100, Delhi-Chennai-Port Blair for Rs. 22,100, Chennai-Delhi-Lucknow
and vice versa also for Rs. 22,100.
Airlines said that its 30-day and 21-day apex fares were comparable
to that of Jet Airways and the special monsoon point-to-point economy
class fare was comparable to IA's metro-non-metro concept. For example,
it said, that on the Chennai-Kolkata-Guwahati sector the Jet Airways
point-to-point economy class fare was Rs. 10,900, which was comparable
to IA's normal metro-non-metro fare of Rs. 10,475 and D-7 apex metro-non-metro
economy class fare of Rs. 6,955.
steep drop came after leading domestic carrier, state-run Indian
Airlines, announced that a passenger flying between two metros need
pay only an extra Rs 1,000 to take a connecting flight to a smaller
city. The scheme aims at tapping air travel demand among those living
in smaller towns and cities who usually opt for road or railway
travel. The scheme will extend to 224 destinations in India and
will be valid until October 15 -- before the onset of the popular
winter tourist season.
Airways, Sahara and Indian Airlines command the largest share of
the domestic aviation market, but upstart budget carrier Air Deccan
has been snipping away at their share in the past year. Industry
officials say Air Deccan has spooked the big three with ticket prices
that are around 30 per cent lower than market rates. So far most
of the airline's operations are restricted to flights between big
metros and smaller cities, but the carrier plans to take on the
major players soon with new aircraft on the main routes connecting
big metros. The company has already announced a "Dynafare"
scheme that will bring air tickets down to as low as Rs 500 to 700
on flights between major metros.
airline has recently taken three Airbus 320 planes on lease to compliment
its fleet of seven French-made ATR 48-seater aircraft with which
it plans to start operations on metros. Air Deccan chief GR Gopinath
has said he plans to keep cutting fares as the number of passengers
for his airline rises.
as many as nine low cost carriers have applied for licences and
are readying for take off. These include India's reputed industrial
groups United Breweries (UB), Wadias and garment manufacturer Bombay
Dyeing. On Wednesday, UB signed a deal with European aircraft maker
Airbus for the purchase of four planes and an option on eight more
to boost its Kingfisher airline fleet.
news is welcome for Indian travellers as flights to destinations
abroad are often cheaper on foreign carriers than those within the
country on domestic airlines. High fuel costs and other operating
fees such as landing and parking charges, which account for up to
15 per cent on an airline's expenditure, have kept air fares high
and grounded most carriers which have entered the domestic aviation
sector when it opened up nearly a decade ago. The no-frills carriers
plan to keep their overhead costs low by employing skeletal staff,
serving sparse meals of sandwiches and apples and packing more seats
inside an aircraft.
strike off at Delhi airport
DELHI, July 20: Airports Authority of India (AAI) has resolved the
strike at the Cargo terminal in the Indira Gandhi International
Airport (IGIA). The strike had paralysed the work at the terminal
and had held up export consignments of about 1000 tonne of cargo
worth Rs 400 crore. The strike was called off following intervention
of the AAI Chairman, Mr K Ramalingam, and senior officials of Ministry
of Civil Aviation.
Air Custom House Agent Employees Association has called off the
strike on Tuesday, according to Mr Premnath, General Manager, PR,
Airports Authority of India (AAI). The cargo clearing agents had
commenced their four-day-old strike on July 16. The issue of non-association
of CHA Employees in the process of X-ray screening by the Delhi
Air CHA Employees was resolved at the highest-level meetings between
the AAI and Delhi Air CHA Employees Association and in consultation
with the other trade associations.
large number export and import consignments had been held at the
cargo terminal because of the strike. The consignments were also
held up due to no post budget updations. However, General Manager
(Cargo), AAI, has assured that all assistance would be given and
working hours would be extended to clear the rush of export and
strike had held up export consignments of about 1000 tonne of cargo
worth Rs 400 crore. "The strike has hit the exporters hard
as they are not able to meet the delivery schedule," Garment
Exporters Association president HKL Magu said in a statement. He
said the international market is highly sensitive and competitive
and if the consignments do not reach within the stipulated time,
orders can be cancelled and the exporters will suffer substantial
parties oppose 'privatisation' of airports
DELHI, July 23: Opposing "privatisation" of Delhi and
Mumbai airports, Left MPs have asked the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan
Singh, to "stall" the move and consider the "alternative
proposal" for the purpose submitted by airport employees. "Such
a move, in our position, is in violation of CMP", which stipulated
that generally profit-making companies would not be privatised,
the MPs, led by CPI(M) leader Nilotpal Basu, who heads the Parliamentary
Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, said in a
letter to Dr Singh.
that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) was consistently making
profits and had a reserve of over Rs 2,300 crore, they said "lack
of transparency of purpose, as evident from contradictory statements
of the Civil Aviation Ministry on the issue, has shrouded the whole
process with mystery and suspicion".
Prime Minister to start discussion on the "alternate proposal"
submitted to him by AAI employees, they said "the sudden decision"
to involve private domestic airlines as equity participants in the
proposed joint venture "is a glaring instance of such non-transparency".
other signatories were Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc), Manoj Bhattacharya
and Abani Roy (RSP) and Dipankar Mukherjee (CPI-M). Meanwhile, the
AAI Employees Joint Forum has submitted an "alternate plan"
to the Prime Minister stating that AAI had in 1996 presented a feasibility
report for development of Delhi and Mumbai airports to the Vajpayee
government, which decided to privatise them instead.