Archive for August 22nd, 2006

Lalu’s lessons for low-cost airlines

August 22, 2006

You have to hand it to the low cost airlines — they have truly democratised air travel and in the bargain, generated hundreds of jobs, directly and indirectly.

But there’s still a trick or two the low cost carriers could learn from the Indian Railways. Here’s one that could help them move into a new orbit in terms of customer relationship management. What’s more, it will help the airlines make some extra money, too.

As it exists, the dynamic air fare on any sector starts low. For these low fares, you need to book quite early, say, a month before the flight, and that means a well-planned itinerary. Gradually, as a particular flight begins to fill up, the fare moves up. For those who have to travel at the last minute, the fare can end up being double or even more than the fare paid by the early birds.

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Booming aviation industry attracts global players

August 22, 2006

Indian civil aviation industry, which is forecast to log robust double-digit growth for the next five years, has emerged as a hotspot for global players – thanks to the entry of a host of low-cost carriers, mega mergers, orders for over 400 new aircraft by airlines and grand airport modernisation plans.

From global aircraft manufacturers to airport managements, and training academies to in-flight entertainment companies, there has been a beeline to grab a share of the opportunities that are being thrown by the exploding Indian skies.

“Two years ago it was impossible to even conceive that India could be such a big player in the aviation market,” said Kapil Kaul, the India head of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, a leading think tank for the industry.

“But over a span of one year, lots of baggage has been unlocked in India and the civil aviation industry is booming. Come to think of it, Indian carriers placed orders for over 400 aircraft worth a whopping $30bn,” Kaul said.

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Commercial Aviation in India – The HR Challenge

August 22, 2006

India’s airlines are growing fast. They are facing large-scale people problems – a critical shortage of skilled people to run highly complex businesses. The public sector is of little help in improving matters.

The Indian airline sector is experiencing a shortage of flying talent. Most of Indian airlines are hiring pilots from abroad. Cabin crew finishing schools are mushrooming, but training quality remains a concern because demand is rushing training. New airline entrants are poaching talent from existing airlines, and retention is becoming a problem. It is not just pilots or cabin crew, even ex-pat management attrition is an issue.

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Project to define futuristic nuclear reactor

August 22, 2006

Baldev Raj, Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, has been elected chairman of a seven-country international project to define a future fast reactor with closed nuclear fuel cycle (FR with CNFC) that will contribute to the generation of 300 GWe to 500 GWe of nuclear power by 2050. This futuristic reactor will meet seven specific requirements: safety, economy, non-proliferation, technology, environmental concerns, waste management and infrastructure.

The seven countries are India, Russia, China, France, Japan, South Korea and Ukraine.

They represent half of the world’s population. The U.S. and Canada are likely to join the project. The initiative is under the auspices of the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycle, called INPRO, of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This reactor will have a capacity of 1000 MWe. The fuel that the reactor will use will be identified soon.

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“Vellore airport will be expanded if there is a request”

August 22, 2006

The small airport here, maintained by the Airports Authority of India, will be expanded if there is request from the Government or private airlines for operating passenger flights, K. Ramalingam, Executive Director, AAI, Southern Region, said on Monday.

Talking to presspersons at the civil aerodrome at Anpoondi where he took part in the inauguration of the training activities of the Madras Flying Club on Monday, Mr. Ramalingam said that the 2,400-foot runway was suitable only for training.

The AAI requires another 50 acres for expanding the airport with a runway of 5,000 feet, necessary for operating medium aircraft, such as ATR-42, which can carry 42 persons. The request for operating passenger flights should come from the airlines operators. “If there is traffic potential, we will expand the airport.”

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Gulf airfare hike unethical, say MPs

August 22, 2006

Members of Parliament from Kerala on Monday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a reduction in airfare to the Gulf by Air-India and Indian, speedy construction of the Vallarpadam Transhipment Container Terminal and clearance for the Vizhinjam project.

The MPs, including Union Ministers Vayalar Ravi and E. Ahamed, told Dr. Singh that frequent fare hike affected Kerala-bound passengers. The practice of the national carriers raising the fare during peak seasons such as Onam reflected an “unethical attitude” to make unreasonable profits.

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Airlines ride non-fuel cost efficiencies

August 22, 2006

The airline industry across the world is making progress in delivering non-fuel cost efficiencies, International Air Transport Association (IATA) airline business confidence index for June has stated.

This is despite the confidence in airline business shrinking considerably since March this year in the wake of 25% increase in the fuel prices over the period.
 
Amidst soaring prices, nearly 45% of the players have managed to reduce total input costs over the past three months and nearly 60% expect to witness no change or lower total input costs over the next year.

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IA back in business

August 22, 2006

Indian Airlines is back as the second largest domestic carrier in the country, overtaking low-cost carrier Air Deccan, by just about a whisker.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) figures for July, Indian Airlines’ market share dipped 0.3% in that month to 20.5% from 20.8% in June. Air Deccan, however, lost 1% to land at 20.2% in July. The Jet Airways share, too, fell 0.6%, but it maintained its leadership with a market share of 31.7% in July.

Industry midgets have started to bite slices off the Indian aviation pie. The market share of Kingfisher Airlines and Go Air increased from 7.9% and 2.4%, respectively, in June to 8.2% and 2.8%, in July.

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Shahrukh boards Jet

August 22, 2006

Donning a new role, Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan will now hold forth in the boardroom of Jet Airways, the country’s number one airline. 
 
For Jet Chairman Naresh Goyal, it means adding some glamour to his airline, which, if its results are anything to go by, is flying through turbulence. 
 
Incidentally, Shahrukh will be the third film personality to be associated with Jet Airways, the other two being producer and director Yash Chopra, and lyricist and screenplay writer Javed Akhtar. 
 
With the induction of “King Khan” (Shahrukh’s nickname in Bollywood), and former IATA director-general Pierre J Jeanniot, the strength of the Jet board has gone up to 14. 

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Malaysia Airlines offers cheap online fares

August 22, 2006

 Malaysia Airlines on Monday announced a limited online return fare offer to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Australia to mark the Malaysian Independence Day on August 31.

The online return fares would be valid for travel from August 31 to October 31 for Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and for Australian destinations, the scheme would be valid till November 15, the airline said in a release.

The return fare for the Malaysian capital would start at Rs 8,300 and, with an additional charge of Rs 500 only, one can book tickets online for Singapore, it said.

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