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Hyderabad Airport leads post-lockdown revival of aviation sector




Witnessing a steady increase in the number of passengers and air traffic, Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) is leading the revival of the aviation sector in India post the Covid-induced lockdown.

The daily passenger footfall at RGIA has gone up by over six times and the Air traffic Movement (ATM) by over five times since the recommencement of domestic operations from May 15.

With the central and state governments relaxing the quarantine norms under Unlock 4.0 and Unlock 5.0, there has been a significant jump in the passenger footfall, sources at the airport said.

The RGIA has handled over 1.2 million domestic passengers from the day of recommencement till September 30. Over 13,500 domestic flights were handled during the same period.

Sources say the growth rate of Hyderabad Airport post recommencement has been impressive compared to other airports in the country.

Billed as the world’s third fastest-growing airport in the category of 15 million passengers in the world, it is one of the busiest airports in the country and the best-connected in south and central India.

In the first few weeks post recommencement of domestic operations after a gap of two months, the daily passenger footfall was 3,000 but the same surged to over 20,000 in September.

Hyderabad Airport has also seen an uptick in the ATMs from about 40 daily ATMs in the first few weeks of the restart, to over 230 domestic flights daily.

The RGIA regained its 52 destinations out of 55 destinations before Covid, thus restoring about 95 per cent domestic connectivity till August.

The airport was handling 550 air traffic movements and about 60,000 passengers daily before the Covid-induced lockdown came into effect in March.

With a new domestic destination – Jagdalpur in Chhatisgarh from September 21, RGIA is now connected to 53 destinations in the domestic sector. Nagpur, Mangalore, Kozhidode/Calicut and Jabalpur are the latest destinations which recommenced in the last four weeks.

Metro cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai remain the top five destinations.

The top three airlines who are serving the domestic traffic from Hyderabad International Airport are IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India.

Though all commercial operations were suspended in March with the imposition of lockdown, RGIA continued to handle evacuation flights operated by various countries for their citizens.

It subsequently handled evacuation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission and the Air Transport Bubble agreements initiated among various countries.

Under the Air Transport Bubble arrangement, Hyderabad International Airport is now connected with the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah), Qatar and Bahrain.

Apart from these, many charters from various countries are also operating on a regular basis.

The airport witnessed on an average over 11 international air traffic movements daily in September. The numbers are expected to increase further, once the outreach of the Air Transport Bubble agreement gets further enhanced covering other countries as well.

This week, the airport extended its indigenously developed digital solution of E-boarding services to international flights, becoming the first airport in India to do so.

To meet the new challenges posed by the pandemic, airport operator GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) overhauled the entire passenger processing modes to follow the government directives.

The airport kept raising the bar to innovate across various operational processes using the technology which included the contact-less replication of keyboards at self-check in kiosks onto one’s smart phones to help aid printing of boarding card and luggage tags in a contactless way.

Recently, RGIA achieved Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation’ for its measures strengthening safe travel.


Sensex down over 100 points after opening in green




The Indian equity indices traded on a negative note on Thursday morning after opening in the green.

Banking, auto, oil and gas stocks witnessed selling pressure so far.

Around 10 a.m., Sensex was trading at 43,698.64, lower by 129.46 points or 0.30 per cent from its previous close of 43,828.10.

It opened at 43,967.59 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 44,023.26 and a low of 43,655.60 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 12,822.25, lower by 36.15 points or 0.28 per cent from its previous close.

Manish Hathiramani, technical analyst with Deen Dayal Investments said: “After a long time traders were struck by nervousness yesterday when the Nifty broke down over 200 points from the high. The support of 12,800 has still not been violated and hence traders can continue holding their positions with a trailing stop loss.”

“If we break 12,800, we could drop further to 12,500. If we resume the existing uptrend from the current level, we can head to 13,200,” he said.

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VW to face action for cheat devices, Supreme Court junks plea on quashing FIR




The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a special leave petition (SLP) filed by German car manufacturer Skoda-Volkswagen (VW) seeking to quash an FIR registered over alleged installation of cheat emissions devices in its vehicles.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde dismissed the SLP filed by the German car manufacturer.

Skoda-Volkswagen will have to face prosecution in case registered in Uttar Pradesh under charges of allegedly cheating and conspiracy, after the top court junked its petition to quash an FIR in Noida.

The FIR, has named the car manufacturer’s top officials, for over installing cheat devices to misrepresent emission levels.

On November 4, the Supreme Court had queried Skoda Volkswagen (VW) India Pvt Ltd, why shouldn’t the trial against it go on in an FIR registered in Uttar Pradesh over alleged cheat emission devices installed in its cars.

Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing the German car-maker VW, submitted that in March, 2019, a penalty was imposed on VW by NGT (National Green Tribunal), which was stayed by the top court. Chief Justice S.A. Bobde replied: “I know, I was party to that order. But what that has to do with the criminal prosecution?”

Singhvi replied that vehicle was bought in 2018, and for nearly two and a half years there were no complaints. “While the NGT matter was pending, this FIR was lodged where the allegations are same as the application before the NGT,” argued Singhvi.

The Chief Justice replied, “But, why should the trial not go on? NGT will not determine the correctness of your action.”

Singhvi cited there are two allegations, installation of cheat device and environmental damage caused and citing stay on NGT order queried, “How can a new complaint start?”

The bench also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian noted that a criminal complaint is filed as the citizen says I have been cheated and the NGT is a general order on cheat devices. “I( a citizen says) was told that there is no device in the car but it was there”, observed Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice told Singhvi that prima facie the court does not agree with him. Singhvi insisted is criminal prosecution fair at this stage? They have also accused officers outside India, he added.

After a detailed hearing in the matter, the top court had reserved its verdict on quashing of FIR against VW for installing cheat devices in their cars.

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IKEA to begin work on biggest outlet in Noida




Swedish flat-pack furniture giant IKEA will soon begin work at its Noida outlet, touted to be its biggest store in India.

The company had signed an MoU with the Uttar Pradesh government in December 2018 for Rs 5,000-crore investment in Noida and other cities in the state. It has committed to completing the project by 2025.

State Industries Minister Satish Mahana said 47,833 square metre land had been allotted to the company, but work did not take off due to pending payments.

“All issues have been cleared and the company has committed to finishing the project by 2025. I have issued directions to ensure the company gets quick possession of land,” he said on Thursday.

IKEA, which opened its first outlet in India in Hyderabad in 2018, has proposed to set up an integrated commercial project in Noida giving direct employment to 1,000 and indirect jobs to another 1,000.

The company intends to expand to 40 cities by 2030.

Officials said, IKEA initially signed an MoU with the previous government in 2015 to set up three stores in Lucknow, Agra and Noida with an investment of Rs 500-crore in each city.

However, its plans evolved over the years and a fresh MoU was signed in 2018.

Sources said, a typical IKEA store has an average size of 4,00,000 square feet. Since it is difficult to find such a large space within a city, the company is looking to change its model and develop smaller stores, either standalone or even within malls.

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