Post Air India Express incident in Mangalore, DGCA finds safety lapses at Calicut airport

NEW DELHI: Aviation regulator DGCA Thursday issued show cause notice to the director of the Calicut international airport after it found that some critical areas were not being maintained as per the safety standards, sources said.

On July 2, an Air India Express flight coming from Dammam had a tail strike while landing at the Calicut international airport.

Under directions from the DGCA, Air India Express earlier this month suspended the pilots involved in this incident.

A source told PTI, “The DGCA observed various lapses in safety standards during its inspection of Calicut airport on July 4 and July 5. Therefore, the show cause notice has been issued to the airport director K Srinivasa Rao. He will have to respond within 15 days.”

The PTI has reviewed the show cause notice issued to Calicut airport director on Thursday.

The notice said that “cracks are observed at runway 28 TDZ (touchdown zone) and along runway C/L marking at runway 10 TDZ”.

The touchdown zone (TDZ) is the part where the aircraft first contacts the surface while landing.

The touchdown zone is ahead of the threshold area.

The notice said that “excessive rubber deposit” was observed in the area from runway C/L marking to three metres on both the sides of touchdown zone of runway 28.

ALSO READ | DGCA issues show-cause notices to Ahmedabad, Chennai airports

Similar excessive rubber deposits were also found by the DGCA along runway C/L marking of touchdown zone of runway 10, as per the notice.

“Water stagnation of about 1.5-metre length was observed on the area between runway edge and intermediate turn pad on runway 28,” the notice said.

The DGCA also found several cracks in the aircraft stand number 5.

It also observed that a “portion of Apron surface” of about 111 metres as damaged.

Apron is that area of the airport where the aircraft are parked, refuelled and boarded with passengers.

“A steep downward slope of approximately five feet depth is observed immediately after the apron behind of aircraft number 1, which needs to be levelled and graded,” the notice said.

The DGCA also observed a shortage of reserve stock of 6,630 litres of Aqueous Film Forming Foam concentrate(AFFF) and 140 kg of “DCP complementary agent” – both are used to put out fires – at Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) station of the airport.

DGCA on Tuesday had also issued show cause notices to the directors of the Chennai and Ahmedabad airports for not maintaining the safety standards.




Allie Colleen Celebrating Debut Single Release “Work In Progress”

Garth Brooks, 57, is today a happy man and a proud father!

Earlier, Garth Brooks had announced 2019 Dive Bar Tour.

Garth, the country legend, took to Instagram to share a photo of himself with his wife, Trisha Yearwood, and his youngest daughter, Allie Colleen, on the occassion of the release of Allie’s first single, “Work in Progress.”

Garth had split up with his first wife, Sandy Mahl in 2001. He shares the 22-year-old Allie and his two other daughters — August, 25, and Taylor, 27.

Garth, Allie and Trisha are all smiles in the monochrome pic, as they celebrate the milestone moment in Allie’s life heading towards a burgeoning music career. Brooks shares Colleen and her older sisters August, age 25, and Taylor, 27, with his ex-wife Sandy Mahl. To commemorate the single’s release, Brooks shared a photo online of himself, Colleen and her stepmother, Trisha Yearwood. “What a beautiful voice on your grandmother’s birthday … perfect,” says Brooks in the photo caption.

Up-and-coming singer-songwriter — and daughter of country music star Garth Brooks — Allie Colleen has finally shared her debut single, “Work in Progress.”

In a press release, Allie made the decision to share her new song on July 10 in honor of her grandmother’s birthday.

Colleen has co-written the song with Marcus Hummon, and engineer Greg Brick. Its lyrics accept that there’s always room to grow without conceding long-term goals (“I’m the best I’ve even been, but not the best I’ll ever be”). It describes a life that strives for progress, not perfection. “I go my own way, try to walk a straight line / Still trouble finds me time after time,” Colleen sings in the song’s first verse. “I flirt with disaster, and I court distress / I’m a work in progress.”

Marcus is the hit songwriter credited with Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” and Sara Evans’ “Born to Fly,”.

“When I walked in the studio that day with Marcus and Greg, Marcus already had the entire song structure minus the chorus when we all sat down,” Colleen recalls of the songwriting process. “For the first time, I wasn’t worried about how commercial the song was or what everyone else was gonna think about the song…I was just honest.”

Trisha Yearwood, Garth’s fellow country star and Colleen’s stepmother, too had a pleasant emotion to share about Colleen’s new song. “From one work in progress to another, what a beautiful song and your voice sounds amazing! I love you so much, Allie #EveryGirl,” she wrote on Instagram, incorporating the hashtag of her own newest single, “Every Girl in This Town.” Trisha supported Allie on Instagram, posting the same pic as Garth along with a sweet message.

Colleen doesn’t display her steep social connections. Her legendary dad’s name cannot be found on her Facebook biography or on her website. Garth did support her for her new single on social media. “What a beautiful voice on your grandmother’s birthday…perfect. I love you!!” he wrote on Instagram, alongside a picture of himself posing with Colleen and his wife, Trisha Yearwood.

Thus, Allie Colleen, a 23-year-old Belmont University graduate and more famously hitherto known as the youngest daughter of Garth Brooks got introduced to the mainstream with her “Work in Progress”.

If the “Work in Progress” behind the song finds solo success, it’ll come in part through the talents recognized by influential radio personality Bobby Bones and others, not just from her family and their loyal social media followers.

“Allie is a pure singer songwriter,” Hummon says. “Her inspiration moves effortlessly from her heart to her mind and out into the world, through her beautiful voice.”




Centre open to 100% stake sale in Air India – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The government may be willing to completely exit loss-making Air India during the sell-off process, although a final decision will be taken by a panel of ministers, a top official indicated on Saturday.

“A general feeling (in the government) is that if people want to have full (control), let them have it. But I will be able to tell you only when a specific decision is taken. My personal view is that I do not see any conflict for the government,” department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM) secretary Atanu Chakraborty said.

The government recently restarted the process to sell Air India after putting it on hold last year due to poor response, although volatility in crude prices was cited as the reason. While Niti Aayog had proposed the sale of entire stake, the government had offered 74% stake to a strategic investor, which was seen as one of the reasons for low interest level.

The decision on the quantum of stake to be offered will now be taken by a panel of ministers as the government looks to close the deal before the end of the current financial year. “We would now like to do it much faster, having done most of the paper work,” Chakraborty said.

Along with a “reiteration” for the Air India stake sale, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had also announced a review of the foreign direct investment ceiling for the aviation sector, a move which is expected to allow greater shareholding by foreign carriers, who can currently buy up to 49%.

“My understanding is that FDI in aviation is 100%. The cap is again on substantial ownership and effective control (SOEC) guidelines, which is 49% and certain directorships. The second cap is on Air India as a nationally owned carrier. Once it is not nationally owned it will go through 100% so that’s a signal in the budget. SOEC is much more complicated because there is some reciprocity, there are a lot of issues involved that the budget does not mention. That’s an issue which needs to be grappled with,” the secretary said.

The SOEC norms are seen as a stumbling block in the aviation sector as the 100% FDI cap is of little use given that control or the Indian carrier has to remain with Indians. Chakraborty, however, said that interest in Air India may not be missing due to the SOEC norms, given that Etihad had invested in now-defunct Jet Airways and may still return through the insolvency process.




Air India Mumbai-Newark flight makes emergency landing in London after bomb threat

An Air India flight to the US made an emergency landing in London this afternoon over a bomb threat. The flight — AI 191 service between Mumbai and Newark — has been taken to an isolated spot at the London Stansted Airport, according to the latest reports.

The flight had left Mumbai early today morning and was flying to the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, US.

The airport was briefly shut down during the Air India flight’s landing. The runway re-opened later and is now fully operational, the airport said in a statement.




Air India moves quickly on 2nd sale bid, Ashwani Lohani calls unions on Monday

Mumbai: Acting quickly on the government’s second attempt to sell the financially-crippled national carrier Air India, its chief Ashwani Lohani has called a meeting of all the 13 unions Monday to discuss the terms of privatization, according to sources.

The government Friday reiterated its intent to exit Air India with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman stating in the budget speech that the government will go ahead with privatization of the flag carrier and has just earmarked a paltry 1 lakh from the budget for the airline, that has been somehow keeping afloat.

The Narendra Modi government in its first term had also attempted to exit from the airline business but failed to get a buyer, forcing it to defer the plans.

“The government has directed the Air India chairman and managing director to meet all trade unions and discuss the privatization move,” a source close to the development told media.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitaharaman while presenting the budget said, “in view of the current macroeconomic parameters, the government would not only re-initiate the process of strategic disinvestment of Air India, but would also offer more central enterprises for strategic participation by the private sector.”

Lohani along with AI board members are expected to meet all the 13 unions Monday, the source added.

These unions are Air Corporation Employees Union, Air India Employees Union, Indian Airlines Technicians Association, All-India Aircraft Engineers Association, Indian Commercial Pilots Association, Indian Pilots Guild, Air India Aircraft Engineers Association, Air India Cabin Crew Association, Air India Engineers Association, Aviation Industry Employees Guild, All-India Service Engineers Association and United Air India Officers Association.

The meeting assumes significance considering that a number of unions among these 13 have in the past vehemently opposed the sale of the airline.

Significantly, the government has earmarked a royal outlay of 1 lakh for Air India for the current fiscal as it expects to sell the airline this time around. Against this, the aviation ministry has got a budget allocation of 4,500 crore for the year.

AI had received 3,975 crore from government as equity infusion last fiscal, as per the documents.

The AI unions have consistently been opposing any bid to sell the Maharaja claiming that privatization is not a remedy pointing to the way Kingfisher and Jet Airways went belly up.

“First it was Kingfisher which folded up, and now it’s Jet Airways. The votaries of privatization, both in the government and outside, need to understand that denationalization alone can’t bring profitability and efficiency in the airline business,” a union leader had said.

As many as six airlines, all private, including Jet, Air Pegasus, Air Odisha, and Air Costa, have shut shops between 2014 and April 2019 for various reasons.




Jet Airways’ flying rights with 5 countries temporarily allocated to Air India: Govt

Bilateral flying rights with five countries, which were previously allocated to Jet Airways, have now been temporarily given to Air India till the end of the summer schedule of this year, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said Wednesday.

As Jet Airways ran out of funds, it had shut down its operations on April 17 this year which lead to a sudden rise in domestic and international airfares.

Also ReadJet Airways: NCLT admits insolvency petition moved by SBI

As a result, the central government decided to temporarily allocate the domestic slots as well as international flying rights of Jet Airways to other airlines who could start new flights immediately and fill the supply gap.

“Bilateral rights of Jet Airways have been temporarily allocated to Air India/Air India Express till end of summer schedule 2019 for the sectors as follows – India-Dubai at 5,852 seats per week; India-Hong Kong at 1,792 seats per week; India-Qatar at 5,670 seats per week; India-Singapore at 1,620 seats per week; India-UK at 4,788 seats per week,” Puri said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

The minister said the domestic slots for 22 flights, which were vacated by Jet Airways, have been allocated to Air India.

Also Read: Jet Airways Pilots to file a plea at NCLT for non-payment of salaries

These domestic Air India flights are running on the routes such as Delhi-Bhopal, Bhopal-Pune, Delhi-Raipur, Delhi-Bengaluru, Delhi-Amritsar, Chennai-Bengaluru and Chennai-Ahmedabad, he said.

Before a country’s airline can operate international flights to another country, the two have to negotiate and sign a “bilateral air services agreement”, which decides how many total flights (or seats) per week can be allowed to fly from one nation to another.

Once such an agreement is signed, each country is free to allocate these flying rights to its respective airlines.

Even after such flying rights are allocated to an airline, it must have slots at both the airports in order to start flight operations.

Slot is a date and time at which an airline’s aircraft is permitted to depart or arrive at an airport.

The slots are allocated by a committee that consists of officials from the Civil Aviation Ministry, airport operators, airlines, Indian aviation regulator DGCA, among others.

Jet Airways evicted from Siroya Centre

Jet Airways’ employees have been shunted out of the airline’s corporate headquarters in suburban Mumbai by its owners as the airline failed to renew its lease agreement.

The move may attract legal action as the distressed airline is undergoing an insolvency resolution process directed by India’s bankruptcy court.

Siroya Centre, located in Andheri (east) in the western suburbs of the city, had been leased to Jet and been its workplace for close to a decade. The evacutation move happened last night. The property has been already put up for lease through commercial real estate services firm JLL, its website showed.

A team of insolvency professionals headed by Grant Thornton’s Ashish Chhawchharia had also been working out of Jet’s office space in addition to what remains of Jet’s management. They will now either file a complain to the police or get a court order as a remedial action to stall the evacuation, said the person cited above.

Under the insolvency proceedings, there is a complete moratorium of all claims, proceedings, cases and notices to Jet. No property, asset of the airline—either in custody or used by it—can be attached by anyone.

The insolvency resolution process started after the National Company Law Tribunal last Thursday admitted a plea by Jet’s biggest lender the State Bank of India on repeated loan repayment defaults by the airline. Jet stopped flying on April 17, running out of funds to stay afloat and faling to raise cash. Its lenders have unsuccessfully been trying to find it a new investor.

Related: Jet Airways’ Pains are Others Gains