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Air India

India on global hunt for top professionals to revive Air India

NEW DELHI: The Indian government is actively considering a global search to fill in top positions at the flag carrier Air India, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said in an interview, according to a Press Trust of India report carried by the Mint daily. The government has been working on a package for the beleaguered airline after plans to sell a majority stake in the state-owned company failed earlier this year due to a lack of interest from bidders. The sale was key to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to…

Qatar Airways rethinks Indian plans due to foreign ownership rules

NEW DELHI: Qatar Airways is reviewing plans for its own domestic Indian airline due to “confusing” foreign ownership rules and could opt to work with a partner in India or take a stake in IndiGo instead, its chief executive said on Tuesday. The state-owned Gulf carrier has long coveted the Indian aviation market, which is the fastest growing in the world, and in 2017 said it would set up a domestic airline, a year after India eased foreign investment rules for the sector. “We are really very interested to launch an…

India shelves Air India sale plan after failing to attract buyers

MUMBAI: India has shelved its sale of Air India after failing to attract buyers, local media quoted a government minister as saying - a decision that could exacerbate the carrier’s financial woes and representing a setback for government efforts to cut debt. Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said plans to privatize the carrier have been dropped for now due to factors such as the looming election and high oil prices, according to Times of India which cited news agency PTI. The decision to call off the sale is a…

Modi’s plan to get millions more Indians flying faces turbulence

BENGALURU: The slow pace of fitting out regional airports risks delaying Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plan to launch more flights connecting smaller towns and cities and get millions more people using air travel. The programme, flagged off by Modi last year, aims to boost economic growth by refurbishing idled colonial-era airstrips or building newer airports, and incentivising airlines to offer discounted fares to connect them with bigger cities. But work on building new airports in small towns and…

Embattled Air India seeks ‘urgent’ loan

MUMBAI: Air India has announced it is seeking an urgent multi-million-dollar loan to maintain day-to-day operations, highlighting the wretched financial predicament of the country's debt-stricken national carrier. In a statement posted on its website this week the airline said it was looking for a short-term loan of 10 billion rupees ($148 million) "to meet urgent working capital requirements". Air India has failed to pay staff their salaries on time for the past three months, according to multiple news reports. The…

‘Want a window seat?’ This Indian airline introduces seat-selection fee

MUMBAI: India’s national carrier Air India has introduced seat-selection fee for most rows on domestic and international flights. According to reports, the airline earlier charged only for the front row seats on long-haul flights. After introduction of the middle seat selection fee or “family fee” as it is known in certain countries because parents or a passenger travelling with a kid would be forced to pay it to ensure the child doesn’t end up next to a stranger. In a circular issued to travel agents, Air India…

In world first, Indian airline crosses Saudi airspace to Israel

TEL AVIV: Air India launched on Thursday the first scheduled service to Israel to be allowed to cross Saudi airspace, a sign of a behind-the-scenes improvement in ties between the Arab kingdom and the Jewish state. Flight AI 139 landed at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport about 30 minutes after its scheduled arrival time of 1945 GMT. "This is a historic moment," Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz told AFP on the tarmac as the Boeing Dreamliner rolled to a halt. "It is the first time that there is an official…

Saudi gives Air India overflight rights for its Israel routes: Netanyahu

WASHINGTON: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Saudi Arabia had granted Air India permission to fly over its territory on its new routes to and from Tel Aviv. There was no immediate confirmation from either Saudi officials or Air India. Netanyahu made the announcement during a briefing in Washington to Israeli reporters after he had met U.S. President Donald Trump. Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and lifting the 70-year-old airspace ban would reflect what appears to be thawing ties…

India bars ‘unruly’ passengers from flying for three months to over two years

NEW DELHI: India has issued new norms barring unruly passengers from flying for a minimum of three months to more than two years depending on the nature of the misdemeanour, the government said on Friday. The government has issued a no-fly list of unruly passengers after a lawmaker admitted assaulting an official from state-owned carrier Air India. The new rules will be applicable to foreign carriers as well, the government said in a statement, adding that unruly behaviour has been categorised in three levels - verbal,…

India approves plan to sell stake in state-owned Air India

NEW DELHI: India's cabinet approved Wednesday plans to sell a stake in state-run Air India as the debt-saddled carrier struggles to compete with low-cost rivals in one of the world's fastest-growing airline markets. "A civil aviation ministry proposal was received by the cabinet which was given an in principle approval for the disinvestment of Air India," finance minister Arun Jaitley said after the meeting. A separate group headed by Jaitley will decide how to move forward with the sale, including the amount of…