Big shopping for armed forces

March 2, 2007

11.6 per cent hike in the Defence Budget sees the IAF and Navy get Rs 10,200 crore and Rs 1,965 crore, respectively, to buy aircraft.

The UPA government increased its defence budget by 11.6 per cent largely because the previous year’s allocation of Rs 89,000 crore could not be spent in time.

Defence spending went up to Rs 96,000 crore from the previous year’s budgeted allocation of Rs 89,000 crore. However, documents reveal that what was actually spent was just Rs 86,000 crore. Therefore, in real terms, the increase in the current budget is 11.6 per cent or Rs 10,000 crore.
A sum of Rs 41,000 crore has been allocated for capital expenditure against last year’s budgeted figure of Rs 37,500 crore. This indicates that the Ministry of Defence had spent some, not all, of the capital outlay, as the revised estimates put the expenditure last year at Rs 34,500 crore.

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Indian announces new fares to Mumbai

March 2, 2007

Domestic carrier Indian on Wednesday announced a new fare of Rs 1575 to Mumbai from three southern cities of Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad as part of its seasonal promotional scheme.

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HC asks Jet, Sahara to move AT

March 2, 2007

In a setback to Jet Airways, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the airline to approach the arbitration tribunal for resolving the dispute over the bank guarantee given to Air Sahara for the failed takeover deal.

Jet Airways had last year submitted a bank guarantee of Rs 500 crore for a share-purchase agreement (SPA) to acquire Air Sahara, but the deal went sour. The companies had earlier approached an Arbitration Tribunal (AT) in London to resolve the matter related to the failed takeover deal, but the issue of bank guarantee was not included.

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IA employees to strike work on March 12

March 2, 2007

Flight services of national carrier Indian are likely to be hit on March 12, as a section of its employees threatened to strike work demanding higher wages among other things.

The Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU), representing 13,000 employees across the country, has served a strike notice to the Indian management and the Chief Labour Commissioner to this effect, ACEU General Secretary Arun Kumar said.

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Highlights of Economic Survey 2006

February 27, 2007

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Cholamandalam wins bid for non-aviation cover to Air India

February 27, 2007

Private sector insurance company Cholamandalam MS General Insurance has won the mandate to provide non-aviation related insurance cover to Air India for 2007-08.

“The airline has managed to bag a 25 per cent reduction in the insurance pay out while there has been an increase in the cover being provided. The cover will be to the tune of about Rs 1,800 crore,” an official said without divulging exact details of what the airline payout would be.

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South Africa Navy Chief Visiting India; Improving Naval Ties

February 27, 2007

Vice Admiral J Mudimu, Chief of the South African Navy, is on a visit to India from 26 Feb to 03 Mar 07, at the invitation of Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy. This is his maiden visit to India after taking over the reins of the South African Navy. The visit of Admiral Mudimu is part of the regular exchange of high-level visits between the two friendly countries.

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Indian Navy Validates New Maritime Warfare Doctrine

February 27, 2007

Utilising some of its newly inducted assets like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), airborne early warning helicopters and cutting edge missiles, the Indian Navy has validated its new warfare doctrine during an exercise conducted off the country’s west coast.

The just-concluded TROPEX (Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercises) 2007, the navy’s largest annual exercise, commenced on Jan 30 and saw the participation of all the force’s major combatants, as also significant elements from the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force, and the Indian Coast Guard.

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Aircraft makers vie for Indian aviation pie

February 27, 2007

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and US-based Boeing, which have already together secured orders worth Rs 45,000 crore from state-run Air-India and Indian Airlines, apart from huge orders from other Indian airline operators in the past two years, are both fine-tuning their business strategies to penetrate further into the Indian aviation market.

For one, the two companies are highlighting new innovations in their aircraft to woo customers. Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president of sales, Boeing, said, “We will be launching 747-Intercontinental, an aircraft which guarantees fuel efficiency. Our customers, especially Indian operators from whom we expect more orders, will be benefited.” He added that the aircraft, equipped with modern technology, can land even at airports devoid of modern infrastructure, as is the case with many airports in India. Airbus’ innovation pertains to lower training period and transition time. Aircraft from the A320 family are designed in such a way that a pilot transitioning from an A320 family aircraft to the larger A330 and A340 needs only eight working days for cross-crew qualification (CCQ) instead of the 25 working days for a full type rating training course. “The annual savings in training and from the reduced transition time can be up to $500,000 for each new Airbus aircraft to be added to the fleet,” Sanjay Kumar, a senior analyst with Airbus, said.

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Low-cost carriers not ruffled by rail fare cuts

February 27, 2007

The introduction of dynamic pricing for passenger fares for the first time by railway minister Lalu Prasad may have been aimed at competing with low-cost airlines, but the carriers are in no mood to accept the challenge and bring down the prices further. Low-cost airlines maintain that their fares for most of the sectors are still below the railways’ AC first-class and AC two-tier rates.

Rather than announcing an across-the-board cut in passenger fares, Prasad has brought in a dynamic pricing model, offering fare cuts according to peak and off-peak seasons. According to the proposal, there will be a 3% reduction in AC first-class fares for the peak season. For the non-peak season, it will be a 6% cut. For AC 2-tier, the peak and non-peak season reduction will be of 2% and 4%, respectively. AC 3-tier (new coaches) saw the maximum cut in fares with peak and non-peak season reductions of 4% and 8%, respectively.

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