Sunday, November 20, 2011

Comtel Air Amritsar to Birmingham passengers to be helped

Flights are being arranged on BMI to help passengers return home from India after the collapse of a UK-based travel agency.
Austrian airline Comtel Air cancelled all its flights between Amritsar and Birmingham on Thursday when Skyjet in Essex said it had filed for bankruptcy.
The flight cancellations have left about 180 people stranded in India.
Passengers are being offered special rates on BMI. The UK Civil Aviation Authority has agreed to refund them.
Plane grounded
Nick Stevenson from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said: "What we are doing with those people now is organising special fares on BMI flights back to England that they will be able to take and then claim money back from the Civil Aviation Authority to repay for that."
One of the passengers filmed the moment the airline asked for £23,000 to complete the journey
A Comtel Air flight travelling from Raja Sansi International Airport in Amritsar to Birmingham Airport was grounded on Tuesday when the plane stopped in Vienna to refuel.
Passengers said in order to continue their journey they were asked to raise up to £23,000 between them to help pay for the plane's fuel costs.
Lal Dadrah, who used his mobile phone to film the moment the crew asked for the money, said passengers had been "held to ransom".
He said: "It was surreal. I couldn't believe it was actually happening. It was something that would happen in a film, not in reality... forced to pay for the petrol for the aeroplane."
Comtel Air said it was owed money by Skyjet UK, one of its travel agents, and had not been able to pay its carrier for two weeks as a result.
Atol protection
The Spanish carrier Mint Lineas Aereas said on Thursday it was stopping services for Comtel Air due to "unresolved financial questions".
It emerged later on Thursday that Astonbury Ltd, trading as Skyjet UK, announced it had ceased trading.
The Essex-based company was registered with the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (Atol), which the CAA runs.
Sandwell Council's Trading Standards team has announced it is advising people concerned about cancelled flights to Amritsar.
The council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Councillor Derek Rowley, said trading standards officers would be helping to put people in touch with the CAA and giving advice on consumer rights.
He said: "It's a difficult situation. Trading Standards are receiving calls from people who are worried - either about friends or family who haven't been able to get back from India, or because they have flights booked on a Comtel flight to Amritsar in the future.
"We are putting them in touch with the Civil Aviation Authority who are now organising flights to get people home from India."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Supporting the Transportation of Relic of Don Bosco

Aerotech FMS has rendered its support in the transportation of the Relic of Don Bosco from Chennai to Colombo. The flight was oeprated by Expo Aviation Pvt Ltd. of Sri Lanka and utmost care was taken on ground in Chennai to ensure that schedule is maintained and all Government and Civil Aviation formalities are duly completed in time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chennai Province bids farewell to the Relic of DB

By Fr. Paul Raj Amal on

Chennai, Nov. 18. The entire Salesian Family in Chennai came together to bid adieu to the relic of Don Bosco at the Provincial House on 17 November, the penultimate day of the relic`s presence in the Province of Chennai. Archbishop Chinnappa of Madras-Mylapore and two State Ministers specially deputed by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu were also present on the occasion at the Provincial House.

After a solemn Mass at Lourdes Shrine, Perambur, the relic reached the Provincial House at 9.00 p.m. on Thursday. The Salesians, the sisters, co-operators, VDBs, past-pupils and other members of the Family welcomed the casket with overwhelming joy and devotion. The casket was placed in Hall of SIGA for veneration and whole night vigil. The Provincial welcomed and thanked Mr. Chella Pandiyan, Minister of Labour, Mrs. Gokula Indira, Minister for Tourism and Mr. Prabhakaran the M.L.A. for their gracious presence.In his welcome address he threw light on the significance of the relic pilgrimage and the relevance of Don Bosco and his style of holiness for today`s world. He also said that the last 22 days during which the relic criss-crossed the province, visiting numerous places were also days of grace and blessings for the province.

Speaking to the Salesian Family, Archbishop Chinnappa SDB said today we need not only Don Bosco`s hand, but also his heart - the heart that overflowed with so much love for the young and the poor. The casket was kept open for veneration for the members of the ``Salesian Family, while Fr. Anthonyraj, the Vice Provincial, animated the prayer service.
During the night vigil, the young Salesians of the province and a good number of Sisters from the Salesian Family sat around the casket praying and praising. The vigil service concluded with a Solemn Eucharistic celebration at 5.00 a.m. this morning, presided over by Fr. Jayapalan, the provincial.
Today, the relic`s final day in Chennai and India, it is scheduled to visit the Shrine at Little Mount, where St Thomas the Apostle lived, and from there to the Sacred heart Seminary, Poonamallee, and then to St Thomas Mount, the place where St Thomas was martyred, before it leaves to the airport on its way to Sri Lanka.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Zest Airways makes and emergency landing at Nagpur

Nagpur Nov 17, 2011: Zest Airways ferry flight enroute from Dublin to Manila with tech stops in Larnaca, Ahmedabad & Ho Chi Minh City had to make an emergency landing at Nagpur due to a problem with the Pressurisation systems on board. Aerotech FMS offered complete suppoort for the flights during its scheduled stop in Ahmedabad and the emergency landing at Nagpur.

The problem was quickly resolved at Nagpur by the onboard engineers and the aircraft departed directly for Manila the same day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Phase I of Navi Mumbai airport to be operational by 2015: CIDCO

Kingfisher crisis: Govt to consider FDI in aviation

Friday, November 11, 2011


Monday, November 7, 2011


The tourist visa on arrival is now being offered to nationals of 11 countries :

1.Finland 2.Japan 3.Luxembourg
4.New Zealand 5.Singapore 6. Combodia
7. Vietnam 8. Philippines 9. Laos
10.Myanmar 11.Indonesia

More information on the regulations and conditions can be found at

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Plane from U.S. lands on belly in Poland, none hurt

The Hindu : AP

A Boeing airliner from the U.S. carrying 231 people was forced to land on its belly in Warsaw after its landing gear failed to open, triggering sparks and small fires. No one was hurt, but some passengers sobbed as they prayed for a safe landing.

Capt. Tadeusz Wrona, who handled the descent on Tuesday so smoothly that many on board thought the Boeing 767 had landed on its wheels, was instantly hailed as a hero in Poland and online, where within hours he was the focus of several Facebook fan pages.
The successful landing of the Polish LOT airlines flight, which was travelling from Newark, New Jersey, also was a huge relief for a country that has suffered multiple aviation disasters in recent years, including the April 2010 crash in Russia that killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others.
“I was praying for the pilot not to lose control because we started to make circles over the airport. It was terrible,” passenger Teresa Kowalik told reporters at the airport. “We owe everything to the pilot. He really did a great job.”
LOT said the plane suffered “a central hydraulic system failure,” indicating that the hydraulics used to extend the landing gear, or undercarriage, failed. The failure of an entire undercarriage was unprecedented for a Boeing 767 and highly unusual overall, according to aviation data and experts.
The pilots discovered there was a problem about half an hour after leaving Newark, said LOT president Marcin Pirog. They circled the plane above the airport for about one hour before descending, partly to keep trying to release the landing gear, and partly to use up fuel to lessen the risk of a blaze.
The pilot told passengers four hours into the flight that the plane faced technical problems, said a passenger who gave only her first name, Malgorzata.
“The pilot addressed us a number of times and said we should follow instructions. Later, a flight attendant said there might be a fire, and at that point people began to get nervous and uncertain,” she said.
“I started to cry, and the men around me were also crying,” said another passenger, Krystyna Dabrowska, 62. “I thought that was the end of me.”
By the time the plane landed, escorted by two Polish F-16 fighter jets, its fuel tanks were nearly empty, LOT spokesman Leszek Chorzewski said.
A fire brigade laid out special flame retardant foam for the plane to land on. On landing, sparks flew from the engine and small fires erupted under the plane but were immediately put out by firefighters.
The landing itself was so smooth that “We all thought we had landed on wheels,” said Andrzej Pinno, a 68-year-old passenger.
Passengers even applauded, but then grew alarmed when sparks and black smoke rose from the plane. “This is the moment where we realized this was not a normal landing,” added Pinno.
Passengers were then evacuated using emergency slides. They were taken to a medical centre where they were kept several hours before being released to anxious relatives gathered at the airport.
“We were waiting for a crash, and we waited and waited and waited and thank God it never happened,” said Greg Cohen, a passenger from Livingston, New Jersey. “It was a very lucky flight, a very, very great pilot. We are very fortunate.”
Echoing the passengers, Polish officials and national media declared the pilots and rest of the crew heroes. LOT said there were 11 crew and 220 passengers on Flight LO 016.
LOT airlines president, Pirog, told reporters that Wrona and co-pilot Jerzy Szwartz carried out a “perfect emergency landing,” which prevented anyone from being injured. “Unfortunately it rarely ends this way,” Pirog said.
Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski congratulated and thanked the crew and emergency workers for ensuring no one was hurt. He said he planned to decorate the crew members with state honours.
“I thank everyone with my whole heart in the name of Poland,” said Komorowski, who spoke briefly by phone with the pilot.
Within hours, at least six Facebook fan pages devoted to Capt. Wrona had appeared. On Twitter, admiration was profuse. One Tweeter insisted, “Give that pilot a medal!” Others drew comparisons to Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who became a national hero in the U.S. when he landed a crippled U.S. Airways jet in the Hudson River and saved 155 lives.
LOT, Poland’s national flag carrier, said that Wrona was one of its most experienced pilots and had been flying Boeings for 20 years. He is also experienced in flying gliders, and some media reports suggested that may have helped him make such a successful emergency landing.
Andrzej Majchrzak, head of Wrona’s glider club in the southwestern city of Leszno, said that glider pilots are specially trained to make delicate landings.
“The pilot’s skills are of enormous importance ... It takes a very delicate approach to make a careful touchdown and avoid damaging the glider, which is a very delicate machine,” Majchrzak said.
He said Wrona, a club member since 2001, is a “responsible pilot, not one who would take risks that could end in tragedy.”
Officials said Warsaw’s Frederic Chopin International Airport would remain closed until Thursday. Flights which had been scheduled to land in Warsaw have been diverted to Lodz, Gdansk and Krakow. The airport has two intersecting runways. The plane landed at the intersection, leaving both unusable temporarily.
The undercarriage of the Boeing 767 is made up of three parts, one under the nose and one below each of two wings. According to data from the Aviation Safety Network, there has never been such an incident involving the failure of the entire undercarriage on a Boeing 767.
Patrick Smith, a Boston-based pilot who flies the Boeing 767 for a major U.S. airline, said something “very mysterious” must have occurred.
“Something pretty high up in the architecture of the landing system must have happened for all three gears not to come down,” Smith said. “Something that was obviously common to all three gears.”
He said, however, that he did not expect the incident to have any lasting impact on Boeing, or on LOT.
“It’s a plane with a long, proven track record and an excellent safety record. And the same applies to LOT.”
The landing occurred on All Saints’ Day, a major holiday in largely Roman Catholic Poland when people visit the graveyards of departed loved ones and national heroes. Many Poles on Tuesday also paid homage to the 96 people who were killed in the plane crash in Russia last year, including the then president, Kaczynski , and dozens of other state officials.

100 AI pilots want out, 10 overseas flights hit

HINDUSTAN TIMES : Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan TimesNew Delhi, October 31, 2011

In a move that could dent national carrier Air India's operations, more than 100 of its pilots have threatened to quit, charging the management with "cheating" and taking "discriminatory decisions".

These pilots belonged to the erstwhile Air India (AI) before the merger with Indian Airlines (IA) in August 2007. The trigger for the resignation threat is the management's decision to allot half of the 64 slots for training on Boeing 787 Dreamliners to erstwhile IA pilots. This was first reported by HT last Friday.

The pilots, affiliated to the 450-member Indian Pilots Guild, said in a letter to AI chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan, "We are deeply pained by this discriminatory attitude that the management has adopted towards us vis-à-vis pilots of erstwhile IA. We are compelled to seek a no-objection certificate so that we may consider seeking employment elsewhere."
"We feel cheated by management's unfair and discriminatory decisions leading to a complete stall of our career progression," the letter said.
An AI spokesperson said talks were on with the pilots.

Oil companies hike jet fuel prices

The Economic Times :
NEW DELHI: After a one-off reduction, state-owned oil companies today hiked jet fuel prices by a steep 3.8 per cent in line.

The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), or jet fuel, at Delhi's T3 airport was raised by Rs 2,845 per kilolitre (kl), or 3.8 per cent, to Rs 61,115 per kl with effect from midnight tonight, an official of Indian Oil Corp (IOC), said.

The hike comes on back of a marginally 0.5 per cent cut in rates to Rs 58,271 per kl effected from October 16.

Prior to that, the nation's largest fuel retailer, IOC, and other state retailers, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum, had on October 1 and September 16 and raised jet fuel prices by 2.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively, mainly because imports had become costlier due to fall in rupee against the US dollar.

ATF in Mumbai, home to the nation's busiest airport, will cost Rs 2,950 per kl more at Rs 61,984 per kl from tomorrow as against the old price of Rs 59,021 per kl.

Jet fuel makes up for 40 per cent of an airlines' operating cost and the steep hike in prices will raise burden on the cash-strapped airlines. No immediate comment was available from airlines on the impact of the price hike on passenger fares.

ATF prices vary from airport to airport, depending on the local sales tax or VAT.

The three fuel retailers revise jet fuel prices on the 1st and 16th of every month, based on the average international price in the preceding fortnight.

Helicopters in Mumbai fly half the recommended altitude

The Economic Times :
Helicopters in Mumbai fly too close to the surface for comfort. Against a recommended altitude of 1,000 ft above the tallest building in an area (obstruction level), they fly at 500-700 ft from obstruction level and sometimes come as low as the height of the buildings.

The risk of flying low, say pilots, is that when there is total engine failure, a helicopter cannot be manoeuvred to open spots and risks crashing on populated areas. The 1,000-ft altitude, a recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization ( ICAO), is for allowing helicopters a better chance of being manoeuvred to open spaces like parks or even the sea to minimise casualties on the ground.

Pilots say flying altitudes are determined by air-traffic control (ATC), which follows rules set by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). AAI officials say the 1,000-ft altitude cannot be permitted for helicopters because they will then come in the flight path of aeroplanes ascending from or descending to the airport.

How then is the ICAO's recommendation followed in cities like New York and London? "There, all flight operations are under radar monitoring . But in Mumbai, non-scheduled flights (for example, helicopters) are not covered by radar. This makes it impossible to coordinate the movement of helicopters and aeroplanes at the same altitude," said an AAI official.

"In India, the ATC radar cannot track helicopter movements. Countries like the US, Australia and the UK extend radar coverage to both scheduled and non-scheduled flights. ATCs there assign flight levels to both aircraft and helicopters, depending on air traffic. It's high time that Indian aviation monitored small aircraft and helicopters both for internal security and air safety."

ICAO's 1,000-ft recommendation "was made keeping emergency situations in mind" , said a pilot. "Just because it is only a recommendation and not a mandatory rule does not mean that we ignore it. The recommendation is followed in countries around the world."

A pilot said risk was an integral part of flying a helicopter in the Mumbai of present. In the last 10 years, many buildings in the city have come up which are more than 500 ft tall, examples being Antilia (568 ft) and the Imperial "Twin" Towers (833 ft) in Tardeo. Because of this, and particularly when visibility is low, safety solely depends on the pilot's skill and knowledge of terrain. "In times of low visibility, a helicopter pilot can only guess the presence of a building or a hill. Since ATC cannot trace the helicopter on its radar, it cannot warn the pilot about the presence of an obstruction in the path," an AAI official said.

"It was not dangerous to fly so low in the city 10-15 years ago, when there were few tall buildings," said a pilot. "But now that the height limit for buildings has been relaxed to 300 metres (beyond a radius of 9 km from the airport), the obstacles are far too many.