Hyderabad International Airport on Sunday said it has achieved the Airport Council International’s Airport Health Accreditation for safe travel.
Airport operator GMR said this recognition comes when passenger safety is the topmost priority of airport operators due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hyderabad is among the first airports in the Asia Pacific region to have received this coveted accreditation.
The Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) programme was launched by the ACI in July to assess the new health measures and procedures adopted by airports as a result of the pandemic.
In accordance with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force, the programme assesses procedures like cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing, staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications and passenger facilities.
The ACI assessment covered the health and safety measures undertaken by the Hyderabad International Airport for passengers and staff in all the terminal areas including departures, arrivals and transfers, transportation services, food and beverage services, escalators and elevators, lounges, facilities, baggage claim area etc.
The assessment also captured the initiatives that the airport took for safety and well-being of employees and stakeholders.
According to the airport operator, with the growing passenger confidence, the airport is steadily seeing an increase in passenger traffic. The airport handles an average 16,000 domestic passengers and over 170 domestic air traffic movements daily.
The airport also regained its 50 domestic destinations till August 31 out of 55 pre-Covid destinations.
The top five destinations in terms of passenger footfall are Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai.
“ACI Airport Health Accreditation emboldens our commitment and consistent drive towards the safety of passengers and the entire airport community. This has been a collaborative effort and we thank everyone at the airport who have put in their heart and soul throughout this period of global pandemic,” GHIAL CEO Pradeep Panicker said.
He said during the extraordinary times, Hyderabad Airport has been agile and adaptive to the latest government regulations and norms to ensure airport operations are running even during the lockdown, keeping essential services active with utmost level of health and hygiene for everyone with consistency and quality assurance.
“We congratulate the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport for being accredited through ACI’s Airport Health Accreditation programme which demonstrates that they are focused on the health and welfare of travellers, staff, and the public. Public confidence in air travel will be crucial as our industry prepares to sustain continuing operations, and the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is leading the way by providing to passengers and employees high globally-recognized standards on health and hygiene,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.
Equity indices in red, healthcare stocks plunge
The key Indian equity indices traded in the red on Thursday morning with the BSE Sensex trading over 130 points lower.
Heavy selling pressure was witnessed in the healthcare stocks. Auto and banking stocks also were largely on a negative note.
Around 10.35 a.m. Sensex was trading at 40,572.83, lower by 134.48 points or 0.33 per cent from the previous close of 40,707.31.
It opened at 40,531.31 and has so far recorded an intra-day high of 40,721.57 and a low of 40,413.65 points.
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was at 11,888.50, lower by 49.15 points or 0.41 per cent from its previous close.
Government may sweeten deal further for Air India sale bid
The government may further extend the date for submission of bids for Air India sale date beyond October 30 to give investors more time to make an offer while sweetening the deal terms further, finance minister officials privy to the development said.
The submission of initial bid or expression of interest (EoI) may be extended by 45 days to two months to December. Also, officials said that bidders would be given the option to decide on the quantum of debt in Air India books that they will like to absorb rather than freezing the debt amount and seeking investors bids.
As per the Air India EoI floated by DIPAM in January, of the airline’s total debt of Rs 60,074 crore as of March 31, 2019, the buyer would be required to absorb Rs 23,286.5 crore, while the rest would be transferred to Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), a special purpose vehicle.
With the proposed changes, buyers will decide on the level of debt that they will take and the one taking the largest debt may be considered favourable to be declared winner.
Disinvestment secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey has also hinted at changes in the current structure of Air India transaction process in an interaction with journalists last week.
For the government, Air India has now become a test case on how to get investor interest in adversarial market conditions. While the airlines financials are already under severe pressure, the Covid -19 pandemic had further dented the prospects of the aviation industry putting the sale process under further problems. The bidding process for the debt-ridden airline has been postponed four times earlier and of October 30 deadline is changed now, it would be fifth such extension.
Sources said that changes in the structure of the sale process to facilitate investors would go by the principle of letting buyers decide the enterprise value of Air India rather than its market cap or using other valuation methodology. The enterprise valuation determines the value of an entity based on its market capitalisation and also debt in books and cash balances.
Sources said that changes in the valuation method has be approved by a CGD (Core Group on Disinvestment) headed by the cabinet secretary at its meeting last week and now it would be has placed before AISAM (Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism).
For Air India, the government is finding it tough to get investors on board. A Tata Group led consortium was considered favourite to take over the airline earlier but its interest in the airline lately has been subdued. With foreign airlines bleeding over fall in air travel during the pandemic, getting investors would be difficult. But Air India, with vast pool of international flying slots and a running overseas operation under the Vande Bharat scheme, is expected to get some investor interest.
Air India has been been unprofitable since its 2007 merger with state-owned domestic operator Indian Airlines Ltd., and since then is flying on government budgetary support adding pressure to central resources.
Air India disinvestment will be a key component of this years sell target of Rs 2.1 lakh crore. The government has so far mobilised a mere Rs 5,500 crore as disinvestment receipt.
KVIC launches khadi footwear, eyes Rs 1,000 cr market share
Eyeing the Rs 50,000 crore footwear market in India, Khadi Village Industries Corporation (KVIC) on Wednesday launched a range of footwear made of khadi fabric and said that it targets a Rs 1,000-crore market share in the first year.
The footwear range for both men and women was launched by MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari, Minister of State for MSME Pratap Chandra Sarangi, and KVIC Chairman Vinai Saxena.
Speaking at the launch, Gadkari said: “Global footwear industry is valued at Rs 1.45 lakh crore. KVIC will generate immense demand for khadi footwear with its range of products.”
“Khadi footwear is a unique product. International quality and use of fine fabric like Patola silk, Banarasi silk, cotton, and denim will attract youngsters who can purchase it online. These footwear are cost-effective,” Gadkari said.
He said that Khadi India needs to also tap the accessories items like women’s purses, wallets and women’s bags made of khadi, which have high global demand, particularly in the European countries.
Sarangi said that khadi footwear were not only environment- and skin-friendly but also reflected the hard work of artisans put in to make fabric for these footwear.
The KVIC Chairman said of the footwear market worth Rs 50,000 crore in India, it planned to bag a market share of at least Rs 1,000 crore in the first year.
He said these footwear will be sold online through KVIC website.
Saxena pointed out that KVIC was hopeful of good demand for its non-leather footwear globally, including 15 designs for ladies and 10 designs for men.
The KVIC said that exquisite khadi products like Patola silk of Gujarat, Banarasi silk, Madhubani-printed silk of Bihar, khadi denim, Tussar silk, Matka-Katia silk, cotton, tweed and khadi polycloth were used to make these footwear unique and trendy.
The khadi footwear price ranges from Rs 1,100 to Rs 3,300 per pair.
Earlier, KVIC had successfully launched its khadi wrist watch in association with Titan which has been a trendsetter.
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