Archive for November, 2006

IAF reworking tender for 126 combat jets: air chief

November 30, 2006

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is reworking a tender it intends to float for purchasing 126 combat jets but the delay this will cause is not a reason for worry, said Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi Tuesday.

“No there is no cause for worry,” Tyagi told reporters on the sidelines of a conference of IAF station commanders here.

Apart from air refuelling ability and long-range capability, the IAF would also have to factor in life cycle costs as laid down in the new Defence Procurement Policy before the request for proposal (RFP) for the 126 multi-role combat jets is issued, he added.

“No, we don’t believe there is a problem (about the delay). The air force certainly is not worried,” Tyagi maintained.

The IAF has been waiting for the past two years to issue a tender for the aircraft. Four jets are said to be in the running – the US F-16 and F-18, the Russian MiG-29 and the Swedish Grippen. However, in the light of the impending India-US civilian nuclear deal, there is a growing feeling that the IAF order will be equally divided between the two US jets.

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Air Chief looks at 50 percent offsets, life cycle costs to guide RFP

November 30, 2006

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi, today said that the proposals to be floated for the 126 multi role combat aircraft will follow the new acquisition rules. 
 
Life cycle costs, air refuelling ability and long-range capability are the features that the IAF is looking at while considering the acquisition of 126 aircraft.

Air Chief Marshal Tyagi said the Air Force would look for 50 percent offsets while purchasing the new aircraft. The form in which these proposals have to be put forward are being worked out. They may take time, but there was no need to worry about the depleting fleet.

“No, there is no worry. We knew that we are going to do it before the offset policy was put into action. After all, we thought of buying this airplane in 2001. We started work on it three years ago, and we knew there will be a licensed production and it will be built in India. … The Air Force certainly is not worried and we are party to the decision that there must be 50 percent offset.”

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Indian, AI merger may get income-tax relief

November 30, 2006

In a move that will smoothen the proposed merger of Indian and Air India, the Finance Ministry has indicated that it would consider favourably the request of the Ministry of Civil Aviation to provide income-tax relief under section 72 A of the Act for the proposal.

The provision deals with carry-forward and set-off of accumulated losses and unabsorbed depreciation in amalgamation or demerger cases.

Both Air India and Indian have accumulated losses on their balance sheets.

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Kingfisher International seeking clearance for flights to India

November 30, 2006

Faced with policy constraints here of not being allowed to fly out of India, the Chairman of Kingfisher Airline, Mr Vijay Mallya, has mandated Kingfisher International Airlines — the new company floated by him in the US — to begin the process to get clearances to start operating regular flights to India.

Mr Mallya told Business Line that a well-known law firm in the US had started doing the paper work for Kingfisher Airlines to begin scheduled operations to India. He, however, refused to disclose the name of the law firm.

“The law firm would be contacting the Department of Transport and other US Government Departments so as to initiate the process of getting clearance for the airline.

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Singapore co keen to get Hyderabad airport work

November 30, 2006

Singapore Air Terminal Services (SATS), a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, is keen on securing ground-handling works at the upcoming GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL) near here.

“Yes, we are interested in the contract. We will take part in the bidding process,” a SATS spokesperson told Business Line. SATS has joined hands with Indian partners such as Air India and Taj to bag key contracts for the Bangalore international airport.

While the Air India-SATS combine bagged one of the two ground handling contracts, the Taj-SATS won part of the flight-catering contract.

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CIAL in talks with foreign airline cos for freight services

November 30, 2006

Encouraged by growing cargo and passenger traffic, Cochin International Airport (CIAL) is wooing foreign airlines to operate cargo freighters and a passenger aircraft from Europe to Kochi. CIAL is in negotiations with Luftansa and Gulf Air to bring their cargo freighters to Kochi. CIAL MD S Bharath told ET the talks are in an advance stage. The cargo traffic from the airport is projected to go up to 50,000 tonnes .

“We are planning hub and spoke method for attracting cargo. Kochi will act as a hub and collect cargo from surrounding areas like Tirupur, Coimbatore, Kannur, Alappuzha etc,” Mr Bharath said. CIAL is eyeing garment consignments from Tirupur and Kannur, light engineering goods from Coimbatore apart from spices and seafood in Kochi. Since accessibility to Kochi airport is easier than to Chennai from Tirupur and Coimbatore, Mr Bharath reckons exporters will use the cargo freighter facilities here to cut logistic costs.

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FDI may fly up to 74% in airline sub-sectors

November 30, 2006

The government is planning to raise the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit to 74% for non-scheduled airline operations, helicopter services and regional airlines using small aircraft. The current FDI ceiling for airline services is 49%.

The proposal for hike in FDI limit in these sub-sectors, mooted by civil aviation minister Praful Patel, is to catalyse growth in these key areas, a government official said. However, FDI in domestic airlines will be retained at the existing level of 49%. The move involves ushering in a different FDI ceiling for these sub-sectors while retaining the limit for the chunk of domestic scheduled operators at the current level.

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Now, airlines charge you for congestion

November 30, 2006

Kingfisher Airlines will charge a ‘congestion surcharge’ of Rs 150 per ticket on all its flights from December 1. The levy is to offset the cost of fuel burn during delays – ranging between 20 and 45 minutes – which are being experienced because of congestion at the airports. The payout would be in addition to the fuel surcharge of Rs 750.

Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya told ET the delays are no longer limited to Mumbai and Delhi airports, but are being experienced almost across the system.

“Kingfisher is in the business to make money and hence, we have decided to introduce this surcharge,” Mr Mallya said.
In airports like Bangalore, there are take-off delays for a variety of reasons. The time between the engine start-up and take-off can go up to 20 minutes. Mr Mallya said bunching up of flights during peak hours is adding to the problem.

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India could help Taiwan’s leverage

November 30, 2006

Chinese President Hu Jintao (­JÀAÀÜ) recently visited India, the first visit to India by a Chinese head of state in 10 years.

Hu hopes to more clearly establish the future direction for China and India’s strategic partnership and create a China-India free-trade zone.

As for China’s international strategic ambitions, it wants to integrate India, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries into an economic community.

The idea is to form an arc-shaped band across Asia where people, capital, technology and economic activity can flow unobstructed and to use their common prosperity to increase their importance on the world stage.

Meanwhile, the bulk of the US’ military alignment has gradually shifted toward the west Pacific.

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U.S. asks India for reforms on satellite industry, financial trade

November 30, 2006

Deputy U.S. Trade Rep. Karan Bhatia on Tuesday urged India to reform its satellite and financial industry trade policy, saying key changes could lift millions out of poverty.

Bhatia praised India’s recent efforts to reform its air transportation sector, as well as the broader trend of growing U.S.-Indian ties. But he expressed disappointment that India was not a stronger supporter of the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations, which has stalled amid entrenched disagreements over agriculture subsities.

“Whether Doha is successful in the near term or not, India’s path to success clearly lies with continued liberalization,” Bhatia said, in prepared text for a speech to the Confederation of Indian Industry in New Delhi. Bhatia is in India this week as part of a trade mission that includes hundreds of U.S. companies.

Relations between U.S. and India have warmed over the past year, in part because of a new agreement on civilian nuclear trade. The U.S. Senate recently approved the proposal, and Bhatia said he hoped the measure would clear Congress by the end of 2007.

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