Category Archives: Aviation

Thai Smile to Kolkata, five times a week from Mar 31

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Thai Smile is all set to start operating from Kolkata to Bangkok, five times a week, from March 31, 2019. The aircraft used for the operations on this route is Airbus 320. The starting fare for the flight is Rs. 8993 all included. The direct flight will also place TG-coded flight numbers on this route. The flight from Kolkata would take off at 01:00 hrs and would arrive in Bangkok at 05:30 hrs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. From Bangkok it will fly every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 22:05 hrs and would land in Kolkata at 23:30 hrs.

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SpiceJet to launch operations on Hyderabad-Colombo route from April 15

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SpiceJet has announced that it will be connecting Hyderabad with Colombo along with the launch of 11 other new direct flights on domestic routes from March 31 onwards. The Hyderabad-Colombo route, the first by any domestic carrier, will commence from April 15 and operate on all days except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, said the budget carrier in a statement. “Our new flight to Colombo reinforces our commitment to strengthening the network between India and Sri Lanka. We see tremendous potential in this sector for both leisure and business travelers,” said Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet. Expanding its footprint on the UDAN routes, SpiceJet will launch services on six new flights on the Kishangarh-Ahmedabad, Lakhimpur-Guwahati and Jaipur-Amritsar routes. With this announcement, the budget carrier became the first operate to fly between Hyderabad and Colombo and between Chennai and Patna. With the launch of its services between Hyderabad and Colombo, SpiceJet will connect the Sri Lankan capital with three direct flights from India, the release said. It currently connects the city with single daily frequencies from Chennai and Madurai each.

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ANA invests in Philippine Airlines as PAL expands to New Delhi, Hanoi and Phnom Penh

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Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning rapid expansion of its international operation over the next few months as it launches services to Hanoi, New Delhi and Phnom Penh, and adds frequencies to 12 of its 39 existing international destinations. PAL’s international seat capacity will increase by nearly 10 per cent this summer, pressuring yields and profitability as the airline tries to increase sixth freedom traffic. PAL is growing capacity to continental North America by nearly 50 per cent this summer, supported by the delivery of A350-900s. As PAL introduces 17 additional weekly frequencies to North America, it is trying to attract more transit traffic in the highly competitive North America-Southeast Asia market, leading to the decision to add Hanoi, New Delhi and Phnom Penh. PAL’s expansion this summer will result in more competition with several North Asian airlines, including its new strategic partner All Nippon Airways (ANA). On January 29, 2019, ANA Holdings announced the acquisition of a 9.5 per cent stake in PAL Holdings, the parent company for PAL and the full-service regional subsidiary PAL Express. While the deal is strategically significant for PAL, which has been trying to secure a foreign airline investor for years, the stake is small and the $95 million investment is pocket change for ANA. The fact that the transaction values PAL at only $1 billion, despite group revenues of over $2.5 billion and an extremely attractive slot portfolio at congested Manila, reflects the challenges PAL faces. (Source: CAPA)

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Japan Airlines and Vistara enter codeshare; to operate from 7 Indian cities

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Japan Airlines and Vistara have entered a codeshare agreement that will open up more routes between India and Tokyo. With the signing of this agreement, Vistara becomes the only codeshare partner for Japan Airlines in India. The sale of tickets opens on February 26, 2019, on all channels and major GDS systems, for travel from February 28, 2019. As part of the agreement, Japan Airlines will add its ‘JL’ designator code to approximately 32 Vistara-operated flights each day across India, covering seven Indian cities – Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune. JAL and Vistara already have an interline/through check-in partnership and the two airlines had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2017 to pursue commercial opportunities together. Commenting on this key partnership, Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, said, “We’re delighted to further strengthen our partnership with Japan Airlines with this codeshare agreement, which is a step that underlines our commitment of partnering with some of the leading airlines in the world and of putting Vistara on the global map. This partnership helps us offer greater convenience and variety of choice to customers with a comprehensive network, as well as the opportunity of welcoming travellers from Japan and beyond to experience Vistara’s award-winning hospitality and service. We’re confident that our respective customers will truly enjoy the shared benefits of this partnership between two airlines committed to being amongst the best service providers on the ground and in the sky.”

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Metro cities to have multiple airports: MoCA

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Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, revealed that Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi will add a fourth runway along with two more passenger terminals. Apart from that, Hindon Airport, which is on the outskirts of Delhi, will be operational by March. He further revealed that Jewar airport will be another airport near Delhi that will be operational by 2022. In fact, with the speed of work going on at Navi Mumbai airport, it is likely to be operational from 2022 too. Bengaluru airport will also be adding a second runway and a second terminal. A new terminal has been commissioned in Chennai too, he shared.

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Govt relaxes e-visa regime with increase in duration of e-tourist and e-business visa

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The government has recently made a series of amendments in the e-visa regime to make it more tourist-friendly. The duration of stay in India of e-tourist and e-business visas is maximum up to one year with multiple entry subject to the stay stipulations. Also, the existing restriction of allowing foreigners for a maximum of three times has also been removed. On e-tourist visa, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 90 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa except nationals of USA, UK, Canada and Japan. In case of nationals of USA, UK, Canada and Japan, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days. In all cases, no registration will be required. On the Changes in e-business visa, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa. No registration will be required if the stay is for a period of less than 180 days. The e-visa is valid for entry through two more designated airports (Bhubaneswar and Port Blair), raising the total number of such airports to 28.

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UDAN goes international by launching flights from Guwahati to Bangkok and Dhaka

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The Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme is set to fly international. The results for UDAN 3 were announced recently, and Suresh Prabhu revealed that for the first time, international routes have been introduced under UDAN by launching flights from Guwahati to Bangkok and Dhaka. Both these routes will be served by SpiceJet. Prabhu said, “It’s going to be a major game changer as these connections would bring North East closer to the rest of the world. As a result, there will be a tremendous scope for tourism and economic development in the region.” Rajiv Nayan Choubey, Secretary, Civil Aviation, revealed, “The state government of Assam had asked us to conduct bids for connecting Guwahati to the neighbouring countries and we are happy to announce that Guwahati is now going to be connected with Bangkok and Dhaka, which are the international UDAN routes which have been awarded.” It was revealed that SpiceJet has taken a very competitive underwriting of the seats. The per annum VGF would be Rs 11 crore, which would be borne by the state. Having set the service frequency at seven-times-a-week, the government has given a flexible template of starting with thrice-a-week service, which will then be increased and finalised within six months.

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Fly direct Delhi – Manila on Philippine Airlines from April 2019

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Philippine Airlines has launched direct flights between Delhi and Manila, effective April 17, 2019. The flight will be four times in a week and the fares are as low as Rs 23, 000, roundtrip, economy base fare. The airline’s flight PR 727 will depart from Terminal 3 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport at 1.45 am (all local times) and will arrive in Manila at 10:45 am the following day and the return flight PR 726 will depart at 20:45 pm and reach Delhi at 1:00 am. Airbus A321neo will be deployed for the new route from India to Philippines.

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Port Blair becomes an international airport

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Foreign tourists can now directly fly to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as the government has designated Port Blair airport as an authorised immigration check post for entry into and exit from India with valid travel documents. The decision came more than a month after the killing of an American national by members of a highly protected tribe in one of the islands of the Union Territory. “In pursuance of sub-rule (b) of rule 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, the central government hereby designates Port Blair airport of Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as an authorised immigration check post for entry into/exit from India with valid travel documents for all classes of passengers,” a home ministry notification said. In another notification, the home ministry appointed the Superintendent of Police, CID, the Andaman and Nicobar Police, as the “civil authority” for the immigration check post at Port Blair airport with effect from December 31, 2018. The Andamans, under global spotlight after the killing of an American national, has emerged as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the country receiving on an average four lakh tourists, including several thousand foreigners, annually. According to data available with the home ministry, the archipelago has received 4,02,393 tourists, including 11,818 foreigners, till October, 2018 while it received 4,87,229 tourists, including 15,310 foreigners in 2017. In 2016, as many as 4,00,019 tourists, including 15,467 foreigners, had visited the Andamans and in 2015, a total of 3,11,358 tourists, including 14,674 foreigners, had gone to the union territory, the data revealed. Source: PTI

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SpiceJet begins direct flight between Kolkata and Lilabari in Assam under UDAN scheme

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SpiceJet has announced a daily direct flight on the Kolkata-Lilabari route under the regional connectivity scheme, UDAN. Reiterating its focus on regional connectivity, the airline also announced a new direct flight connecting Kolkata with Jabalpur and an additional frequency on Hyderabad-Jabalpur route. All new flights and frequencies are scheduled to commence from January 15. According to a statement released by the airline, “SpiceJet is celebrating the launch by announcing an introductory promotional fare starting at Rs 3,700 on Kolkata-Lilabari and Lilabari-Kolkata routes, Rs 3,969 on Kolkata-Jabalpur and Rs 3,949 on Jabalpur-Kolkata, routes.” The primary objective of (UDAN) scheme is to connect small cities of the country at affordable fares. Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet, said, “Lilabari is our first destination in Assam under the UDAN scheme and we are confident that the new flight will provide impetus to the tourism potential of the state.”

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