Relief for Indian carriers as European Union freezes carbon tax
Brussels, November 16, 2012 The European Union will freeze for a year its rule that all
airlines must pay for their carbon emissions for flights into and out of
EU airports, the EU executive said, following threats of international
retaliation. This comes as a big relief for Indian carriers. In fact, India and 22
other countries, including Russia, China and the US, had in February this year decided to retaliate with a series of measures, including
imposition of heavy costs on European airlines and plane manufacturers.
Indian carriers that fly to Europe - Air India, Jet Airways and
Kingfisher - may have ended up paying millions of dollars annually on this count as it required them to pay 15 per cent of the cost of
compensating for the CO2 (carbon dioxide) emitted during landings or take-offs from Europe.
However, flights within the European Union will still have to pay for their carbon emissions.
The year-long exemption will apply to flights linking EU airports to countries outside the bloc, a move welcomed by US and Asian officials.
Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she had agreed "to stop the
clock" to create a positive atmosphere for international talks on an alternative global plan to tackle airline emissions.
Some airline associations welcomed Monday's announcement, but said the
moratorium meant EU carriers operating flights within the bloc could be
at a competitive disadvantage.
Environment campaigners said the European Union was giving up too much,
too soon. But they said opponents could no longer blame the European Union for any lack of progress at the U.N.'s International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is seeking an alternative global deal. Source: NDTV
Kingfisher employees accept deal, resume work: CEO
New Delhi, October 25, 2012:
Employees of grounded Kingfisher Airlines have agreed to return to work,
the embattled carrier's chief executive said on Thursday after a meeting
with staff, who have not received their salaries since March. "All employees have agreed to resume duty right now. They are on duty as we
speak ... We are all in this together and looking forward to getting the
airline going in the next few weeks," CEO Sanjay Aggarwal told reporters.
The airline, which has been grounded since the start of the month, still
must convince the aviation regulator to reinstate its licence, which has been suspended.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said this morning the airline's
problems were not limited to salaries. "Salary is a big issue and the employees should be paid. But the bigger issue than that is their fiscal
assurance to the DGCA (the aviation regulator). They have lot of outstandings to the Airports Authority (of India), to companies, to
lessors, so its not just a question of salaries to the employees," he said .
The cash-strapped airline had stopped selling tickets on its website through October 20 as it tried to persuade pilots and engineers to
return to work. Source: Agencies
Kingfisher Airlines' licence suspended by DGCA
October 20, 2012 (Reuters): Kingfisher Airline's(KING.NS) licence to
operate was suspended on Saturday after the debt-laden carrier failed to satisfy the aviation regulator's concerns about its
operations.Struggling to pay bills, Kingfisher is seven months behind
on salary payments, and its fleet has been grounded since the start of
the month after a staff protest turned violent. Its has been suspended
until further notice, Arun Mishra, director general of Civil Aviation
told Reuters. The regulator had asked the carrier why its licence to
fly should not be cancelled for failing to provide a "safe,
efficient and reliable service".
IBM to help Jet Airways go green
September 11, 2012: Jet Airways has can now accurately calculate,
track and report aircraft emissions, thanks to IBM. The airlines can
now map each carrier's carbon emissions, optimise its fuel usage by a
detailed analysis of each flight. Significantly, this project is being
done under the strategic 10-year business transformation agreement
with the IT major to streamline and consolidate its IT operations.
A part of IBMs Integrated Emission Management System, it
provides Jet Airways a process to analyse and calculate individual
aircraft emissions, which is a complex process involving comparison of
flight records and fuel usage data contained in multiple systems
ranging from internal aircraft systems to regional navigation data and
flight records. The solution ensures that all flight emissions are
properly calculated, and reporting is accurate and timely. With more
than 50 years experience in aviation, IBM uses its software, hardware
and services expertise to help top airlines and airports across the
globe deliver more highly differentiated customer experiences and
improve their operational efficiency.
Airfare up on higher surcharge
New Delhi, September 5, 2012 (PTI):
Air travel became costlier today with major arriers hiking fuel surcharge on tickets, ranging from Rs 150 to Rs 250
for domestic travel and $15 (Rs 825) for a one-way international ticket,
following an almost eight per cent increase in jet fuel prices. While Air India introduced the increased surcharge today itself, Jet
Airways and its subsidiary JetKonnect will raise it from tomorrow, officials of both airlines said.
Under the new regime, an increase of Rs 150 in the surcharge will be
applicable on all sectors less than 1,000km and Rs 250 for those beyond
that distance. A blanket hike of $15 will be effected on all one-way international tickets.
The domestic fuel surcharge for a distance of over 1,000km so far was Rs
3,250, which will now go up to Rs 3,500. The surcharge so far was Rs 1,600 on a ticket for less than 1,000km distance.
A Jet Airways spokesperson said the hike in fuel surcharge would come
into effect from tomorrow, while an Air India official said the increase
had been effected on all bookings from today. Officials of no-frill airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet remained
tight-lipped about when they would hike surcharge but were of the opinion that this steep rise in jet fuel prices would hit their
financial bottomline. "We are studying the impact of a steep hike of aviation turbine fuel
prices on our operational costs which are high in any case. We are studying the situation and may take a decision soon," one of the airline
officials said, requesting anonymity.
The increase in fuel surcharge was necessitated by the steep rise in the
price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) by 7.6 per cent last week. In the
fourth straight increase in rates since July, oil marketing companies last week hiked ATF price to an all-time high of Rs 72,282 per kilolitre.
Jet fuel constitutes almost 50 per cent of an Indian carrier's operating
costs against 20-25 per cent globally. This is primarily because of the
high taxes on ATF by the states - ranging from four per cent to 30 percent.
Though international airlines operating to India are exempted from state-level taxes, they also pay nearly 16 per cent more than the global
average when their aircraft fill in their tanks here.
Two Air Force choppers collide mid-air, 8 dead
Jamnagar, August 30, 2012 Eight Indian Air Force personnel were killed after two Air Force MI-17
helicopters crashed near Sarmat village in Jamnagar in Gujarat after a
mid-air collision on Thursday. There were four people on board each MI-17 helicopter and all of them died in the tragic crash.
One of the helicopters caught fire after the collision, which took place
almost 20 kms from the Jamnagar Air Force Station. The helicopters had
taken off from the Jamnagar Air Force Base on a routine training sortie.
The villagers, who witnessed the accident, said the two helicopters
collided soon after take off and crashed near the village. They added that one of the helicopters turned into a ball of fire after the collision.
Air Force personnel and police have reached the crash site. Jamnagar municipal corporation fire brigade also reached the spot and brought the
fire under control. "The helicopters left at 12 noon and we got to know at 12:05 pm that
both the sorties have crashed. Eight personnel have died in total, there
were four in each chopper. The crash happened in the Air Force land, not
a residential area," Defence PRO, Gujarat, Captain MG Mehta said. An IAF spokesperson in New Delhi said that a court of inquiry has been
ordered to determine the reasons behind the crash.
India to get first Dreamliner this month
August 8, 2012: India’s most awaited aircraft, the Dreamliner, will
most likely arrive this month, after a delay of nearly four years.
State-run Air India had placed orders for 27 such aircraft six years
ago, and the first batch was supposed to be delivered in September
2008. However, the delivery was delayed due to design and production
issues at Boeing, the maker of the aircraft.
This led to a compensation battle between the government and
the plane maker, and was resolved only last week, when the cabinet
committee on economic affairs approved the compensation package for
the delay. Here are a few facts about the Dreamliner:
Japanese airline All Nippon Airways was the first airline to
have taken delivery of the aircraft and use it for a commercial
flight. The airline has placed an order for 50 aircraft. On October
26, 2011, the 787 Dreamliner made its maiden commercial flight from
Tokyo’s Narita airport to Hong Kong. There were 240 passengers on
board. The long-range, twin-engine aircraft is Boeing’s most
fuel-efficient aircraft. Boeing says the plane consumes 20 per cent
less fuel compared with the similar-sized 767. Better fuel efficiency
means lower flying costs. The 787 comes in four variants, with the
longest-range variant capable of flying over 15,000 km non-stop.
In India, the Dreamliner will cost around $210 million, cheaper
than the widely-used 777, which costs $260 million. According to the
company’s website, as many as 47 airlines across the world have
ordered nearly 900 Dreamliners.Source: NDTV
Air India pilots call off strike after court order
NEW DELHI, July 04, 2012 (Reuters): A group of pilots at ailing national carrier Air
India demanding exclusive rights to fly new Boeing Dreamliners called off a 58-day strike late on Tuesday, bowing to pressure from the
government and a Delhi court order. About 500 Air India pilots who fly international routes have been
demanding that colleagues from the former Indian Airlines not be trained
to fly Dreamliners because they worried it could hurt their career prospects.
The Air India strike added to the chaos in an industry where the one-time No.2 carrier by domestic market share,
Kingfisher Airlines, has slashed its operating fleet to 18 from 64 and has not paid staff since January.
The strike also forced Air India to cut back on its international
schedule and combine flights, which further strengthened the hold on international routes by market leader Jet Airways
"We, the pilots of Air India and members of the Indian Pilots Guild, on
the intervention of Honourable Justice Ms. Reva Khetrapal of the Honourable Delhi High
Court have started the procedure to resume work," the Indian Pilots Guild said in a statement late on Tuesday.
Some of the pilots are expected to return to work as soon as Wednesday
and Air India will look at reinstating the striking pilots "sympathetically," said an Air India official, who did not wish to be named.
The airline has also sacked more than 100 striking pilots and said
previously said it would consider rehiring those pilots on a case-by-case basis once they unconditionally report to work.
Tauseef Mukadam, the joint secretary of the Indian Pilots Guild, the union of the striking pilots, did not respond to calls for comment. K.
Swaminathan, an Air India spokesman, declined to comment. Indian aviation minister Ajit Singh earlier said the strike was illegal
and the government will not enter into discussions with pilots until they report to work.
The Delhi High Court, which also previously called the strike illegal,
on Tuesday ordered the pilots to return to work immediately and asked Air India's management to look into their demands.
300 Air India pilots on strike in Mumbai
MUMBAI, June 25, 2012: More than 300 Air India (AI) pilots started
a hunger protest on Monday in Mumbai. Of these, 10 pilots are on an indefinite hunger strike and will go on protesting till the airline
relents and calls them for a talk. The pilots have been on a general strike from work since May 8. The strike entered its 48th day on Monday.
More than 100 pilots are already on hunger strike in the national capital since Sunday morning.
The pilots on strike belong to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) of the
erstwhile AI. They mostly operate only long haul international flights. In May, more than 400
pilots had declared a strike in protest against the airline management's
decision to train the erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots for the Dreamliner Boeing-787. The pilots said that this would affect their
career progression. Around that time, the IPG was derecognised and around 100 pilots were sacked by the airline.
With neither the ministry of civil aviation nor the airline blinking, the pilots have resorted to a hunger protest, asking to lift the
derecognition of the union and call for talks. They are also demanding a
reinstatement of their sacked colleagues. Source: The Times of India
Air India may not survive if strike continues
New Delhi, June 4, 2012: Air India chief Rohit Nandan Saturday warned that the airline may not be able to survive in the long run if
its pilots don't end their 26-day-old strike. "If the airline has to survive in the long run, achieve the turnaround, it is essential
for the pilots to come back," Nandan told agency. "They (pilots) should think about the long-term impact this strike will have on the airline and their future."
Nandan's outspoken comments came even as the strike continued
for the 26th day, pushing up the airline's revenue losses to more than Rs.350 crore. The losses, according to a senior Air India official in
Mumbai, are among the biggest suffered by the airline due to any strike. "Current load factor (passenger traffic) is at an
all-time low for the international segment. Being the peak travel season, the overall losses will be far above the predicted revenue
drain of Rs.400 crore," the official in the operations arm of the airline said.
The airline expects to stabilise its international operations through the interim plan which it implemented Friday and cut its
losses to less than Rs.5 crore a day from the present Rs.10 crore. The interim plan has axed seven international destinations including Hong
Kong, Osaka, Seoul and Toronto. The Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), representing aviators of the erstwhile Air India, went on strike May 8
against the move to train their counterparts from Indian Airlines on the soon-to-be-inducted Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh Friday again asked the
agitating pilots to resume work so that negotiations could held. The pilots, when contacted by the reporter, reiterated their demand for
reinstatement of 101 sacked aviators and said none of their major issues were resolved by the announcement. Source: SME Times News
worst hit as Air India pilots strike enters day two
New Delhi/Mumbai, May 9, 2012 (ANI): The strike called by
protesting Air India pilots entered its second day on Wednesday with three international flights being cancelled from New Delhi and
Mumbai.Around 160 Air India pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) had reported sick yesterday, resulting in the
cancellation of at least 13 international flights.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had termed the strike by Air
India pilots as illegal, saying the national carrier's management would take appropriate action against those involved in the stir.
Singh noted that Air India is currently undergoing a turbulent period and crores of public money is being infused to run the carrier. He
stressed that the pilots should come to the negotiating table and resolve their issues through dialogue, but not launch any strike.
Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) President Jitendra Awhad on Tuesday blamed the management for turning a deaf year to their demands, and added
that this had led the pilots to strike work. Awhad said the pilots'demands have been sidelined and described the Air India management as
being stubborn. "The management is responsible for today's scenario, we have been talking to the management on certain demands
for the last four days, we chalked out a final formula with the executive director industrial relations and executive director
operations and general manager training and that formula, that draft was thrown in the waste paper basket by the chairman managing director
asking who gave the right to these officers to talk," said Awhad.
"Now, the question arises is that what were you doing for the last four days when you were talking to us, and they just made us
roam door to door," he added. Awhad further said the six-month delay in the salaries of the pilots was adding to their woes.
Passengers are the worst hit by the pilots' agitation. They allege that they are not being informed about the cancellation of their
respective flights in advance. Air India had on Tuesday sacked ten agitating pilots, de-recognised their union and sealed its offices, as
around 160 of them failed to join duty. A concerned Air India management had earlier met the pilots in New Delhi in a bid to defuse
the crisis. (ANI)
Rs.18,000-crore Air India restructuring plan approved
Mumbai, April 4, 2012 (IANS): The long-awaited Rs.18,000 crore financial
restructuring plan for cash-strapped Air India has finally been approved
by a consortium of 19 banks led by State Bank of India, an official said
here Tuesday. The plan includes a debt restructuring of Rs.18,000 crore by the banks
and a committed equity infusion by the government, the official said in a statement here.
The high-cost working capital debt of the national carrier stands at
Rs.22,000 crore, of which the banks will restructure Rs.18,000 crore. From this (Rs.18,000 crore), Rs.10,500 crore will be converted into
long-term debt with a repayment period of 10-15 years. The remaining Rs.7,400 croe will be repaid to banks through a
government- guaranteed bond issue.
The proposed restructuring - which will now go for cabinet approval -
will help AI reduce its interest outlay substantially. As part of the airline's restructuring plans, the government had
announced an infusion of Rs.4,000 crore during the current fiscal, raising the airlines' equity base to Rs.7,345 crore, in the union budget for 2012-13.
Airlines may get funds from banks to stay afloat
New Delhi, February 22, 2012, (PTI): As cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines is battling to stay afloat, a consortium of
lenders is believed to be considering fund support to the beleaguered
carrier. A 13-bank consortium, led by State Bank of India, is considering providing short-term funding to the airline but the
quantum of support is yet to be decided, sources said. Each member
bank has to get approval from its board and the process would take some time, the sources said.
There was no official word either from the bankers or Kingfisher on the reports that State Bank of India has agreed to give
about Rs 1,500 crore. When contacted, SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri
declined to comment on the issue, saying client confidentiality prevents him from talking about a particular company.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said that the
recent action taken by the ministry like allowing fuel import and
relaxing FDI cap make airline business plan more viable. At the same
time, Central Board of Excise and Customs Chairman S K Goel said,
"Kingfisher had an outstanding tax due of Rs 70 crore and he had
promised to pay in installments." The company has paid Rs 10
crore in December, Rs 20 crore in January and they have to pay Rs 20 crore in February, he said.
"Still few more days left in February, they will pay I am
sure and in March they will pay the remaining Rs 20 crore. So, they
will pay all the arrears by March 31...I hope so," Goel said.
Kingfisher has suffered a loss of Rs 1,027 crore in 2010-11 and has a
debt of Rs 7,057.08 crore, latest figures show. The company's net loss
widened to Rs 444.26 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2011, due to high fuel costs and weaker rupee from Rs
253.69 crore in the October-December quarter in the last fiscal.