Monday, April 27, 2015

Air India shuts down few foreign, local offices to cut costs


To cut costs, Air India is pruning the number of its foreign and local offices and has already shut down 23 booking offices in different parts of the country, the government said on Monday. The decision to close booking offices has been taken with a view to control costs and reduce expenditure, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
The national carrier has closed down 23 booking offices within the country, including those in Darjeeling, Surat, Allahabad, Agra, Kanpur, Leh, Mysore, Udaipur, Trichur, Amristar and Dehradun.
Booking offices have been closed as most of the sales are done by agents and the number of walk-in passengers at these places is “negligible”. Besides, passengers can make bookings through Air India’s website, Mr. Sharma said. At present, there are 54 local booking offices of the carrier that are functional.
Air India has been grappling with tough financial conditions. In another written reply, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the carrier has closed, decided to close or downsize some of its overseas booking offices. “The booking offices at offline stations at Zurich, Chittagong and Vienna have been shut down in FY 2013-14 with a view to cut down cost. “So as to maximise revenue and promote code share flights, there is now only a small sales or representative set up at the airport at Zurich and the sales representative office at Vienna is operating from a small office space in a business centre,” he said.
A decision has been taken to close offices at Cairo and Tehran, he added.
Mr. Raju said that Air India is maintaining booking offices at Washington, Los Angeles and Amsterdam even though it does not operate any flights to these places. These offices are being maintained due to various reasons such as to “tap and cater to the Indian ethnic population, business travellers, tourists and also other segments having affinity between India and the respective countries”.

Friday, April 24, 2015

India cannot be complacent on FAA upgrade: DGCA


Indian aviation sector cannot be complacent after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) upgrade and it is essential to sustain the ratings and some safety issues needs to be addressed, Director General of Civil Aviation M. Sathiyavathy said.
“We will able to sustain our position as a leader in civil aviation, if not in the world at least as a regional player, only if we have co-operation of all the stakeholders in the industry. And that can happen only if all of us feel that safety is an important aspect as far as the aviation industry is concerned,” she said at a FICCI event in New Delhi.
Safety issues in India came to the fore after an Air India Express plane from Dubai with 160 passengers and six crew members on board crashed while landing at Mangaluru airport in May 2010, leaving 158 passengers dead. “After the Mangaluru accident, we have not had major incident in India. But that does not imply that we should become complacent. There are a few incidents which are taking place, mainly because we have compromised on some of the safety aspects,” she said.
According to her, these incidents included pilots not having their pilot proficiency certification done on a regular basis and also not undergoing the breath analyser test. “So, we in the DGCA have decided to do the oversight properly and at the same time ensure that we also play the role of facilitator for the industry to grow,” Ms. Sathiyavathy said. She also said the FAA audit focused on aspects like only few sectors of the civil aviation authority, which included aspects such as operations and the flight training organisations.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation would do a comprehensive audit in November this year. “This audit will not only be restricted to the operations, but involve entire gamut of aviation sector including airports, air navigation, air traffic control along with whatever FAA has done,” Ms. Sathiyavathy said.

Friday, April 10, 2015

SpiceJet’s Chief Commercial Officer resigns


SpiceJet’s Chief Commercial Officer Kaneswaran Avili has stepped down from the post, making him the first senior executive to leave the airline under the new promoter Ajay Singh.
Avili’s resignation is effective from Friday, SpiceJet said in a release.
He is leaving the company to pursue certain entrepreneurial opportunities, it said.
Avili had joined SpiceJet last April.
The verticals that were under Avili will now report directly to Chief Operating Officer Sanjiv Kapoor while cargo will report to the Chief Administrative Officer GP Gupta, the release said.
“Kanesh helped create the SpiceJet Effect, which through demand stimulation and the refusal to accept half-empty aircraft flying around especially in low season, had galvanized the entire Indian aviation market into high growth mode while at the same time helping improve revenue performance,” Kapoor said in the release.
He also helped drive certain cost efficiencies in terms of staffing productivity, which also contributed positively to the bottom line, he said.
“I wish to thank the board and management of SpiceJet for being open to new ideas during my tenure. I am glad that my contraposition in SpiceJet helped the airline improve revenue performance and reduce costs. Sanjiv and I worked closely together to drive demand stimulation and create the SpiceJet Effect that has driven record growth in the industry,” Avili said.