Category Archives: Aviation

MoCA gives a nod to Wi-Fi and calls on domestic flights

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At the recently- discussed Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Draft Passenger Charter by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation and RN Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, it was revealed that both domestic and international airlines can provide internet as well as mobile services on-board and aircraft in Indian airspace, keeping in account security requirements for the same. According to the Passenger Charter, Wi-Fi services can be provided from the moment the plane takes off  and personal electronic devices (PED) have to be put on flight mode. Also, mobile services can be allowed only when an aircraft is over an altitude of 3,000 metres. Choubey, explained that the licensing condition for Wi-Fi on board will be decided by the Telecom Ministry, and within 2 months passengers will be able to enjoy on-board internet when they travel.

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SilkAir to be merged with SIA, upgrade cabin products

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Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) regional wing, SilkAir, is to undergo a significant investment programme to upgrade its cabin products as part of a multi-year initiative that will ultimately see it merged into SIA. The programme will comprise investment of more than $100 million to upgrade the wholly owned subsidiary’s cabins with new lie-flat seats in Business Class, and the installation of seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in both Business Class and Economy Class. This will ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network. Aircraft cabin upgrades are expected to start in 2020 due to lead times required by seat suppliers, including to complete certification processes. The merger will take place only after a sufficient number of aircraft have been fitted with the new cabin products. Specific details will be announced progressively as the programme develops and timelines are finalised. Consistent with ongoing efforts to optimise the SIA Group’s network, there will also be transfers of routes and aircraft between the different airlines in the portfolio. “Singapore Airlines is one year into our three-year Transformation Programme and today’s announcement is a significant development to provide more growth opportunities and prepare the Group for an even stronger future,” said SIA CEO, Goh Choon Phong. “Importantly, it will be positive for our customers. It is another example of the major investment we are making to ensure that our products and services continue to lead the industry across short-, medium- and long-haul routes.” SilkAir is the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, operating a fleet of 11 Airbus A320-family aircraft and 22 Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 aircraft. It is currently transitioning to an all-737 fleet, and serves 49 destinations in 16 …

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In-flight Wi-Fi, game changer for business travellers: FCM-KPMG

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FCM Travel Solutions and KPMG’s recent whitepaper titled ‘The Digi-Smart Indian Business Traveller’ forecasts that Indian travellers have higher inclination towards in-flight Wi-Fi as compared to travellers from other countries, according to a survey by Inmarsat. With current nil penetration and high demand amongst Indian travellers, in-flight Wi-Fi can be a potential game changer in enhancing business traveller experience considering that fliers are potentially willing to shift travel experiences for on board Wi-Fi. For business travellers, the need for seamless connectivity makes them natural users of these services. While the use of in-flight Wi-Fi should be encouraged, it is necessary to consider various factors including aircraft upgrade requirements, connectivity speed and quality, cyber security concerns, etc.

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Lufthansa Group and MakeMyTrip strengthen partnership

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MakeMyTrip and Lufthansa Group have entered into a Direct Connect cooperation which gives customers access to innovative and even more competitive flight products.  Direct Connect is a distribution functionality that enables partners to use the Lufthansa Group’s API (application programming interface) for a direct access to the airlines’ inventories and rich content. The API software facilitates the travel partner to provide an enhanced customised offer for third parties. Wolfgang Will, Senior Director Sales South Asia for Lufthansa Group Airlines and Rajesh Magow, Co-founder & CEO India, MakeMyTrip, jointly signed the cooperation. The new agreement allows MakeMyTrip to offer Lufthansa Group Airlines’ differentiated travel content to consumers with personalised flight products. Amongst other services, passengers can use the platform to conveniently purchase flight tickets and other services from Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines without paying the 16 Euro Distribution Cost Charge applied to bookings made via traditional sales channels. “This Direct Connect Solution with MakeMyTrip is an incredible milestone in addressing the new-generation of travellers. MakeMyTrip as a Direct Connect Partner of Lufthansa Group in India is a key partner for our future developments in distribution,” Will said. “At MakeMyTrip, we are always looking to provide best content to our users to help make them best travel decisions. We are delighted to partner with Lufthansa and take another step in providing customised and more relevant offerings to better serve Indian travellers,”  said Magow.

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Jet to start 5th direct service between India and UK

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Jet Airways has announced that beginning November 5, 2018, it will launch its first non-stop service between Mumbai and Manchester, thus further strengthening its connect to the United Kingdom (UK). This new service is the first nonstop service connecting India, via its economic capital with Manchester. Jet Airways will deploy its wide body A330-200 with 254 seating for the service, which will operate for four days every week including Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.  Vinay Dube, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways, said “The new service will bring Manchester into our global network, reinforcing our footprint as well as expanding the choice of connectivity to/from the United Kingdom for our guests with the 4 day/ week, non-stop service. With the new flight, Jet Airways will have over 8000 seats on offer every week, making it increasingly convenient for both business as well as leisure travellers, travelling between India and the UK, deepening commerce as well as tourism ties between the two countries”. Manchester will become the 21st international addition to the Jet Airways network and with the introduction of this new flight – the carrier’s 5th non-stop service to/from the UK, Jet Airways will also become the largest carrier between Mumbai and the UK. The launch of this new service will provide seamless connectivity to several domestic destinations to and from India which include Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bhuj, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Indore, Aurangabad, Jaipur, Chennai, Nagpur, Rajkot, Raipur, Udaipur, via the airline’s hub Mumbai. Similarly, quick connections to beyond points on Jet Airways’ international network such as Bangkok, Colombo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dhaka and Kathmandu, will now be available. Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan, who said: “This route …

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Dubai Airports, Dubai Police, IATA and ACI sign MoU on Smart Security

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In a move to enhance customer experience and operational efficiency at security check points at Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC), Dubai Airports together with Dubai Police General Department of Dubai Security signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Dubai with the International Air Travel Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI) to become part of their joint initiative on Smart Security. The security initiative aims to bring specific and measurable improvements in security effectiveness, operational efficiency and passenger experience at airport security checkpoints through better use of technology, process innovation, and the use of risk-based security concepts. The MoU will pave way for Dubai Airports, together with airlines, control authorities, regulators and solution providers, to benefit from the knowledge and lessons gained through trials and research activities at other participating airports. “We manage the world’s busiest international airport with more than 90 million passengers passing through our facilities annually. To achieve our vision of being the best in customer experience as well as to provide the capacity to accommodate ongoing and future growth, it is imperative that we look to new technologies and processes to significantly reduce wait times and avoid queuing wherever possible. Our participation in the Smart Security initiative of IATA and ACI is a big step in that direction,” said Buti Qurwash, Vice President of Security, Dubai Airports.

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IndiGo adds two new flights on Tiruchirappalli-Chennai route

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After the recent launch of Tiruchirappalli as its 51st destination – IndiGo, country’s largest and fastest growing low cost carrier is all set to add two more sectors connecting Tiruchirappalli. The airline will soon operate a direct flight between Tiruchirappalli and Bengaluru and Tiruchirappalli and Kochi.  IndiGo with its seventh ATR will operate four direct flights from Chennai to Tiruchirappalli from June 01.  Sanjay Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer, Indigo, presented airline’s expansion plan during a travel agent meet held in Tiruchirappalli. An IndiGo organised partner meet was attended by city’s prestigious travel agents and corporates.  The new flights are designed to cater to business and leisure travellers who are constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options. The introduction of these flights will further strengthen airline’s ATR operations, and will provide enhanced connectivity between Chennai and Tiruchirappalli with all-inclusive fares starting from INR 2299. Elaborating on the new route expansion in south India, Kumar, said, “Just like Coimbatore, Madurai and Chennai – Tiruchirappalli is also a key market for IndiGo in Tamil Nadu. With rising business and tourism stemming from the southern hubs, IndiGo is determined to provide the best travel experience to all those who wish to fly to these destinations. We are looking at providing affordable fares on these new routes for 6E travellers. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on time, hassle free and always affordable flying experience.”

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Emirates to launch a daily service to Edinburgh

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Emirates has announced that it will start a daily service between Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, and Dubai, from 1 October 2018. Edinburgh will become Emirates’ second destination in Scotland after Glasgow and its 8th in the United Kingdom after the airline starts its daily service to London Stansted in June. The new service will be operated by an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER in a three class cabin configuration, with 8 private suites in First Class, 42 lie flat seats in Business Class and 304 spacious seats in Economy Class. The Scottish capital, with its Old Town and New Town both being UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is the second most visited city in the UK by tourists. “We’re increasing our capacity to Scotland to meet growing demand, and by introducing a daily flight to Edinburgh, it will complement our current double daily flights between Dubai and Glasgow. Edinburgh is a very popular leisure and business destination, and the new service will offer our customers from across our global network, particularly from key inbound markets such as Asia and Australia, a direct option to the city via our Dubai hub,” said Hubert Frach, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, West. “It will also be a more convenient point for travellers from the greater Edinburgh area, and beyond, such as Aberdeen and Dundee, to travel with Emirates to Dubai and onward to destinations across our network,” he added.

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British Airways to launch London-Durban direct on October 29, 2018

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British Airways has announced the introduction of the new direct route between London and Durban to a global audience attending Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban. This long awaited decision was announced by Sihle Zikalala, MEC–Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, KwaZulu Natal, to delegates at the event. The new route adds to the airline’s existing twice-daily flights between Johannesburg and London, and daily flights between Cape Town and London. “This new route adds to our growing number of international flights‚ connecting us to key destinations such as the Gulf region‚ the Middle East‚ the Indian subcontinent‚ Australia as well as Beijing‚ Shanghai‚ Tokyo and Seoul through the hub in Abu Dhabi. The trade opportunities presented by this direct flight between Durban and London is set to add huge value to our economy‚” Zikalala said. The route is a huge leap forward for the tourism sector, propelling foreign direct investment, improving business potential and ensuring the economic empowerment of South Africans.

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Turkish Airlines offers free layover for transit passengers in Istanbul

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Turkish Airlines has now offered a free layover service to all international transit Turkish Airlines passengers who fly through Istanbul with a six to 24 hour layover.  The national flag-carrier offers the complementary touristanbul service including transfers, access to historical sights of interest as well as a sampling of Turkey’s famed cuisine.  Passengers can catch a glimpse of the varied history and cultural fusion which has made Istanbul such a vibrant and charming city. To enjoy the benefits of touristanbul, passengers must have an international transit flight through Istanbul with Turkish Airlines and layover of 6-24 hours. Tours depart daily from the Hotel Desk at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, with a daily schedule taking place 8:30 to 11:00, from 09:00 to 15:00, from 09:00 to 18:00, from 12:00 to 18:00 and from 16:00 to 21:00. The tour programme includes a combination of some Istanbul’s highlights such as Topkapı Palace, Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Galata Tower, Dolmabahce Palace and many more.

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