Category Archives: Aviation

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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NokScoot launches 4-times-a-week Delhi-Bangkok direct

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Thailand-based NokScoot has launched its non-stop flight from New Delhi to Bangkok at inaugural fare of Rs 7200 one way (inclusive of taxes). It is a joint venture between Scoot, which is 100 per cent owned by Singapore Airlines and Thailand’s Nok Air. Giam Ming Toh, Deputy CEO, NokScoot; HE ChutintornGongsakdi, Ambassdor of Thailand to India and IsraStapanaseth, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), addressed the media and shared how the new airline would offer new connection to Bangkok at very competitive fares.

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IndiGo to connect Kannur to Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru & Hubli from January 2019

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IndiGo is all set to operate daily direct flights connecting Kannur to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Hubli and Chennai with effect from January 2019. The introduction of these flights will further strengthen the airline’s operations andwill provide connectivity between Kannur and other key cities with all-inclusive fares starting from Rs 1799. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo, said, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to fly out of the new airport in Kannur starting January 2019. Kannur will be the 67th destination on our growing network and starting operations will further strengthen the air connectivity from Northern Kerala. IndiGo will operate daily non-stop return flights from Kannur to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Hubli. These new services will benefit our customers with more flying options and will also boost tourism stemming from nearby regional destinations, including Kasaragod and Wayanad in Kerala, and Coorg in Karnataka.”

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Priority Pass introduces 800+ offers for its members

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Priority Pass, the airport experiences program, has introduced offers, which give members access to discounts at airports across the world through its app and website. In addition to accessing world-renowned lounges and dining options, members can now enrich their pre-flight experience through specially negotiated offers at hundreds of dining, spa, retail and airport services.   This launch comes in response to consumers’ increased desire for more meaningful experiences and rewards at the airport and is in line with Priority Pass’ strategy to add greater value to Members right across the airport ecosystem. According to Collinson research, travellers would arrive earlier to the airport if they received discounts on food and beverage (41%) and shopping (39%), with almost half (47%) stating they’d spend more if they received deals in advance of traveling.   The launch of offers gives all Priority Pass Members access to over 800 discounts, upgrades and free gifts with certain purchases, in 146 airports across 32 countries in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, India and Asia Pacific, with plans to add more in the coming months. Priority Pass has worked with merchants in all of these airports to craft special offers which bring benefits for Priority Pass Members while also helping drive additional footfall for airport partners, which include Spa Express by Heaven on Earth, O2 Spa, as well as Porsche Design Boutique in India. Further afield, partners include Duty Free Americas, InMotion Entertainment and many more.   All Members can access offers directly from the Priority Pass app on their mobile devices or via the website. The process couldn’t be easier: all they need to do is simply log in and search for their departure / …

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Air India Express launches new route from Kannur to Abu Dhabi

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Air India Express has launched its inaugural flight from Kannur International Airport in Kerala, India, to Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). With this, it commences three weekly flights connecting the two airports. The three weekly non-stop flights from Kannur will arrive at AUH at 11:30am and depart at 12:30pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Speaking after the inauguration, Maarten De Groof, Chief Commercial Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “We are excited to be Air India Express’ first choice for their inaugural route. India has been one of our top generators of traffic, and we are always eager to expand the airport’s connectivity to this region in response to our passengers’ needs.” The carrier provides convenient connectivity to short/medium-haul international routes in the Gulf and South East Asia at affordable fares. PA Umadevi, Airport Manager, Air India Express, said, “We are excited to bring our inaugural flight to the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi. This new destination will attract the traffic not only from the northern side of Kerala, but also from the neighbouring states of Karnataka as the airport is located at the northern part of the state and has easy access to Mysore and other states of Karnataka. Abu Dhabi Airports has provided us all support, as always, to ensure our customers’ satisfaction and meet the rising demand in the Abu Dhabi market.”

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1st Global Aviation Summit to be held in Mumbai from January 15-16, 2019

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In its endeavour to recognise the fast growth of the aviation sector, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), has announced the Global Aviation Summit, with an overarching theme of ‘Flying for all – especially for the next 6 billion’. Supported by ICAO, IATA, ACI and CANSO, the Summit will be held on January 15 and 16, 2019 at The Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. It aims to focus on the celebration of ‘Flying for All’ and to provide a platform to the aviation fraternity to highlight the challenges of the sector in the newly-developing growth spots. The Summit provides a platform to the stakeholders to brainstorm over the future of the aviation industry and identify the growth areas. Speaking at the announcement of the Global Aviation Summit, Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Civil Aviation and Commerce & Industry said, “The reason behind hosting the Global Aviation Summit here is because India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world. This Summit will provide a platform to the global aviation fraternity to display the challenges of the sector in the newly-developing growth spots and understand how technology-driven innovation will shape the air travel industry in India.” More than 1,000 delegates, 80 plus speakers, 50 plus CEOs of airports and airlines, 30 plus exhibitors, transport ministers from 35 countries and 35 regulators (DGCAs/Civil aviation authorities from different countries) from the global aviation fraternity are going to participate.

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