Category Archives: Aviation

THAI Smile connects Bangkok–Mumbai five times a week

THAI Smile Airways has commenced its new flights on the Bangkok–Mumbai–Bangkok route. The airline has already been operating, since the last quarter of 2016, direct flights from Bangkok to Jaipur, Lucknow, Gaya and Varanasi. This new route will help all segments, like leisure, corporate and MICE travellers. THAI Smile operates its Bangkok-Mumbai flights five times a week under the flight no. WE335 Bangkok – Mumbai (BKK-BOM) on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 22.15-01.35 (+1), WE335 Bangkok – Mumbai (BKK-BOM) on Friday and Sunday at 23.55-03.10) and WE336 Mumbai – Bangkok (BOM-BKK) on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 02.40-08.55 and WE336 Mumbai – Bangkok (BOM-BKK) on Monday and Saturday at 04.40-10.55. All flights are served in full service of excellence with complete course of foods and beverages. The foods on board are divided into vegetarian (Vegetarian Jain Meal) and common foods (Non-Vegetarian Hindu Meal). Baggage loading is up to 40 kg for Premium Economy Class or Smile Plus and 30 kg for Economy Class passengers or Smile Class. Both classes have spacious seats that passengers can select without additional charges and can also earn mileage with Royal Orchid Plus (ROP).

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India ahead in double-digit domestic passenger traffic demand: IATA

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Global passenger traffic demand in September rose 5.7 per cent compared to the same month in 2016, according to IATA’s global passenger traffic results. This was the slowest year-on-year increase since February. Domestic passenger traffic demand climbed 4.2 per cent in September compared to September 2016. India and China continued to lead all markets with double-digit annual traffic increases while elsewhere, results were mixed. Capacity rose 4.7 per cent and load factor slipped 0.4 percentage points to 82.2 per cent. “September’s growth in passenger demand was healthy, notwithstanding the impact of extreme weather events on the Americas,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “Global economic conditions support rising passenger demand, but with higher cost inputs, the demand stimulation from lower fares has waned, suggesting a moderating trend in traffic growth.” International RPKs climbed 6.5 per cent with airlines in all regions recording growth compared to 2016. Total capacity climbed 5.6 per cent, and load factor rose 0.7 percentage points to 81.3 per cent. Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 8.7 per cent in September compared to the year-ago period, the strongest growth among regions. Capacity increased 7.8 per cent, and load factor climbed 0.6 percentage points to 78.3 per cent. A solid regional economic backdrop, helped by robust growth in China, is supporting passenger demand within the region.

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Cathay enhances its Marco Polo Club offerings for members

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Cathay Pacific has improved its offerings for its loyalty programme, the Marco Polo Club. Effective December 8, 2017, all Marco Polo Club members will earn more points on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights across all distance zones in selected fare classes. In addition, the annual requirement for Green members will be reduced from 100 to 20 club points. Members travelling short or ultra-short haul to popular destinations such as Taipei, Shanghai, Japan and India with Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will earn an additional 5 to 10 club points per sector across most fare classes in all cabins. While flights to Europe and the Americas will carry an additional 10 to 15 more club points in Economy and Premium Economy. In addition, 5 to 20 extra club points will be awarded to some discounted and promotional fares on almost all routes. Also, the threshold to maintain Green membership will be reduced, allowing members to enjoy exclusive club benefits such as priority check-in and boarding, lounge access redemption amongst other privileges. Cathay Pacific Head of Customer Loyalty, Elaine Lee, said, “We continue to improve our offerings to ensure the Marco Polo Club evolves to meet our members’ travel needs. The new club points will better reward our members so that their travel experience is enhanced and their loyalty recognised.” Cathay Pacific Regional Sales & Marketing Manager – South Asia, Rajesh Menon, said, “We have made these changes based on recent feedback and to ensure that the club evolves in a way that reflects our members’ travel needs in a changing environment, particularly for regional travel within Asia which members are flying more frequently.”

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2nd Aero Expo underway in New Delhi

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The 2nd Aero Expo organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry is underway in New Delhi. The four-day event will also feature India’s first Heli Expo on November 4 and 5. Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the mega event, which will deliberate on the key focus areas for Indian aviation to sustain and grow itself in the coming years. Also gracing the event was Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Minister of Civil Aviation, Government of India, and Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, among other industry stalwarts and key stakeholders. Speaking about the future prospect of the country’s aviation network, Naidu said, “Apart from playing a key role in promoting connectivity between various regions and creating jobs, the civil aviation sector is one of the key drivers of the economy. As such, a continued introspection of the current policies, norms and infrastructure needs to be done to ensure the sectors contribution towards the economy.” Jayant Sinha also met with the leading CEOs and CMD of the industry to discuss the future of civil aviation. With 200 million passenger trips per year currently and growing at a rate of 12 per cent, the Indian industry is looking at one billion passenger trips from across the various airports around the country and the 2nd Aero expo highlighted the investment requirements for the same

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Singapore Airlines retrofits its Airbus A380 fleet

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Singapore Airlines has unveiled new cabin products to its Airbus A380 fleet which will be initiated from next month, following an extensive four-year development programme. The new Singapore Airlines A380 will be configured with 471 seats in four classes, featuring six Singapore Airlines Suites and 78 Business Class seats on the upper deck, as well as 44 Premium Economy Class seats and 343 Economy Class seats on the main deck. With six Suites tucked spaciously within the front cabin of the upper deck, customers will experience a sense of exclusivity and intimate privacy aboard the A380. “The significant investment that we are making with the introduction of new cabin products demonstrates our commitment to continued investment in products and services, our long-term approach to ensure we retain our leadership position, and our confidence in the future of premium full-service air travel,” said SIA CEO, Goh Choon Phong. “The new cabin products are the culmination of four years of work, involving extensive customer research and close partnerships with our designers and suppliers. We are confident that the results will genuinely ‘wow’ our customers, and ensure that we continue to provide them an unparalleled travel experience,” he added.  

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Ethiopian launches Africa’s first 787-9 operation to Mumbai

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Ethiopian Airlines has announced the launch of its B787-9 Dreamliner operation to Mumbai. The aircraft made its debut flight to India’s capital and metropolitan city of Delhi on October 28, 2017. The Dreamliner fleet which is an integration of design and technology with unique features of biggest windows in the sky, high ceiling, less noise, distinctive lighting, and higher air humidity, has further redefined passengers’ travel experience on board. Tadesse Tilahun, Regional Director, Indian sub-continent, remarked, “Ethiopian was the first airline to introduce Dreamliner 787-8 to India in 2012 and Airbus A350-900 XWB in April 2017. India is a strategic market for Ethiopian that has been served for more than 46 years and in line with our expansion strategy in Indian market, we are pleased to deploy our latest fleet and adding capacity on the existing route to better serve our esteemed customers and to further strengthen the growing trade and commercial ties between the booming economies of India and Africa.”

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Vistara witnesses 83 per cent YOY growth for passenger load: DGCA

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As per the DGCA monthly report, Vistara has topped on-time performance (OTP) and passenger load factor (PLF) amongst full service carriers, as well as in consistently maintaining the lowest cancellations and customer complaint rates amongst all pan-India carriers while having zero denied boarding. Vistara’s PLF stood at 84.1 per cent and continued to be the highest amongst all full service carriers in India for the seventh consecutive month. The airline registered a year-on-year growth of 60 per cent in weekly flights from July – Sep 2017, operating close to 100 daily flights across 19 destinations. Though its fleet in the period increased just 23 per cent, Vistara has flown 1.1 million passengers, compared to 0.6 million in the same period the previous year demonstrating 83 per cent growth and resulting in a 12pp increase in its average load factor. The improved performance was driven by higher utilisation of aircraft compared to the same period last year. Vistara recently resumed service to Varanasi and also added Ranchi to its expanding network.

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Vistara introduces Vistara Corporate Flyer for coporate customers

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Vistara has launched ‘Vistara Corporate Flyer’ programme under which the airline will provide its corporate customers several benefits designed to make business travel hassle-free. The unique programme will be available to all eligible customers travelling on Vistara’s corporate fares, regardless of class of travel.   With ‘Vistara Corporate Flyer’, all eligible customers will enjoy complimentary ‘Carry On Plus’ benefits which provide increased cabin baggage allowance of 12 kg for the larger cabin bag that goes in the overhead bin (which equates to 70 per cent more allowance than the usual 7 kg limit), in addition to a smaller item such as a laptop bag that can fit under a seat in the cabin. This is by far the most generous free cabin baggage allowance for any airline in India. Corporate customers travelling in economy class will be eligible for free selection of exit-row seats that provide more legroom, ensuring greater comfort onboard. Additionally, Vistara’s top 100 corporate clients travelling in economy class will receive complimentary priority check-in, baggage handling and boarding across all destinations on Vistara’s network, and can also choose a complimentary option of taking a same-day earlier flight by arriving at the airport 45 minutes prior its departure (subject to availability) under the ‘Vistara Fly Early’ programme. All of these benefits come over and above other benefits of being a Corporate customer, which include special fares and free changes and cancellation of bookings. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, said, “We understand what a more generous cabin baggage allowance and more comfortable and hassle-free experience means for the “road warriors”, today’s frequent business travellers who travel often as much as our crew, and are routinely pressed for …

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CIDCO awards Navi Mumbai airport project to GVK Mumbai

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The GVK-led Mumbai International Airport (P) Ltd (MIAL) was handed over the Letter of Award from CIDCO, the nodal agency of the Government of Maharashtra for the Navi Mumbai International Airport. In February 2017, MIAL was declared the winning bidder for the Greenfield airport that will be built on 1,160 hectares in a PPP mode with CIDCO. MIAL will hold a 74 per cent stake while the remaining 26 per cent will be with CIDCO. Dr GVK Reddy, Executive Chairman MIAL and founder Chairman of GVK said, “We are delighted that GVK has been awarded this exciting project. In collaboration with CIDCO, the Government of Maharashtra and the Government of India, we are confident of providing yet another landmark airport for the city of Mumbai. The invaluable experience that our team gained whilst developing the Mumbai airport will be very useful and will enable us to deliver yet another world class facility. GVK is committed to develop its airport business globally and the award of the Navi Mumbai project to us is another major step in this direction.”  

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Jammu & Doda to avail Heli service from Oct 24

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The Government of Jammu and Kashmir shall unveil a chopper service between Jammu and Doda to boost connectivity during the winter. The service will commence from Tuesday, October 24. Pawan Hans helicopters would be used for this service and will operate twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays between the two districts. The one-way fare for a traveller has been fixed at Rs. 2,500. The service is likely to help promote tourism and provide an alternative means to communicate between the two districts during the winter season when parts of the region remain cut off.

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