Praise Is All Green At Mumbai International Airport

Mumbai International Airport saw quite a flourishing month of August 2021. After witnessing a surge in air passenger traffic over the Raksha Bandhan festival period, the airport was recognised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and received the Energy Efficient Unit award. The award was presented to the airport during the virtual awards ceremony of the 2021 edition of the National Award for Excellence in Energy Management.

The airport has in recent times witnessed clear and structured initiatives in implementing green energy across its site, such as having a carbon management system working towards the goal of being carbon neutral, recycling waste-water systems, and using renewable energy sources. The results of these initiatives can be measured by a 35% reduction in energy usage, thereby saving approximately 38.5 million kWh of energy. Due to the general decrease in air travel during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has allowed the airport to reassess its energy conservation capabilities.

Energy Efficiency Shining Bright At Mumbai International Airport | © Times Of India

Solar Panels Hit The Rooftops

The implementation of solar energy has been at the epicentre of the airport’s initiatives towards renewable energy. The airport has installed solar panels on the rooftops, contributing to approximately 5% of the airport’s total energy consumption. The success of solar energy can be measured by the fact that during the 2019-20 financial year, the solar energy generated was 5,350,000 kWh compared to just 1,620,00 kWh during the 2016-17 financial year.

Overall, the airport has increased its renewable energy consumption by 44% and intends to continue improving upon this milestone. As an ISO 50001:2018 (Energy Management System) certified organisation, the airport’s operators will undoubtedly target future Energy Efficient awards. 

Mumbai Airport Reaps The Benefits Of Raksha Bandhan

The Indian city of Mumbai has experienced a recent surge in air passenger traffic at its main airport, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, courtesy of the Indian festival the Raksha Bandhan, which took place between the 16th and 22nd of August 2021.

Data provided by the airport indicates that more than 315,000 passengers were recorded as passing the airport’s security area during the festival dates. The passenger volume is nearly six times the air passenger traffic recorded during Raksha Bandhan in 2020 (between 31st of July and 6th of August). Suffice to say that the upward trends from 2020 to 2021 can be attributed to relaxed lockdown restrictions, including air travel, both within the city and indeed the wider region.

Mumbai Airport is building towards pre-pandemic air passenger traffic levels | © Alexander Savin

Air Passenger Traffic Rising In And Out of Mumbai Airport

The statistics of air passenger traffic indicate that a total of 142,321 passengers were travelling either in or out of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport between the period of the 20th to the 22nd of August this year. A spokesperson for Mumbai Airport said, “This weekend saw the highest arriving passengers from Delhi with 12,118, followed by Bengaluru with 6,674 and Goa with 5,484 passengers. The top three destinations were Delhi with 12,389 passengers, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad with 5,199 and 3,770 respectively.”

A combination of major festivals with relaxed travel restrictions has resulted in huge optimism for the airport’s recovery to pre-pandemic levels. The spokesperson went on to say,  “With major festivities approaching and government extending flying capacity to 65%, CSMIA is expected to witness a surge in travel to destinations across India during the festive period.”

An aviation consulting firm, CAPA India, has also indicated that India’s aviation industry could recover to 47.8% of pre-pandemic travel levels by as early as March 2022.

Zurich And Lucknow Join Forces To Enhance Noida International Airport

Earlier today, Zurich International Airport put pen to paper on an agreement with Noida International Airport Limited, the airport operators of Noida International Airport, to develop the airport in the city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. In doing so, it managed to fight off competition from Delhi International Airport Limited, Adani Enterprises and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holdings Limited, in what is a 40-year concession agreement.

Indeed, the CEO of Noida International Airport Limited, Arun Vir Singh, and CEO of Yamuna International Airport Pvt Ltd (a subsidiary of Zurich International Airport) both signed the agreement, with the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath overseeing the signing ceremony. One on the conditions of the agreement is that Noida International Airport Limited will have the authority to nominate two directors to the board. As such, Arun Vir Singh and the Director of Civil Aviation for Uttar Pradesh, Vishak Iyer, have taken their positions on the board.

The Promising Horizons That Lie Ahead | © Financial Express

Significant Regional Growth Foreseen

The signing of the agreement should pave the way for improved local infrastructure, including enhanced airport security and sanitation and improved rail connectivity in the state, thereby leading to a boom in tourism and the creation of new job opportunities.

The CEO of Zurich International Airport, Daniel Bircher said, “We are pleased to sign the shareholder agreement, which strengthens the partnership between ZAIA and NIAL. The Noida International Airport will be an engine of economic growth for India and Uttar Pradesh, stimulating residential and industrial activities in the catchment area as well as the development of cargo and logistics cluster in the NCR region.”

The cost of the overall project is expected to be in the region of Rs 29,560 (Approximately US $3,428,000,000), and once completed, the airport will have the capability to accommodate 12 million passengers per year.

A Position On The Podium For Cochin International Airport

Cochin International Airport in the State of Kerala, India, has become the country’s third busiest Airport (after Delhi and Mumbai) for International Passenger Traffic, for the five month period from January 2021 to May 2021. This is despite the fact that India is currently experiencing its most aggressive outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the aforementioned five month period, the Airport handled 589,460 International Passengers, and for the month of April, it was the second busiest Airport in india for International Traffic, with 138,625 Passengers.

Furthermore, Cochin International Airport Limited, who operate the Airport, have stated that the surge in Passenger Traffic has also been witnessed in Domestic Traffic, with levels in June alone doubling to that of previous months. Indeed, overall Cochin International Airport has climbed from the country’s fourth busiest Airport to the Podium.

In summary, Cochin International Airport handled a total of 1,556,366 Passengers during the first five months of 2021. Pre Covid-19 pandemic, the Airport handled ten million passengers, so if the upward trajectory of recent months continues, then the recovery outlook for India’s Aviation sector appears positive.

Very Much Lights On At Cochin International Airport | © AAM News Network

Kerala A Safer Haven From The Covid-19 Pandemic

Cochin International Airport Limited have since rolled out a comprehensive Covid-19 Testing Program, which has been at the epicentre of their Air Passenger Traffic growth in recent months. The initiative has been strongly backed by the State Government of Kerala. Cochin International Airport Managing Director, Shri. S.Suhas IAS, said, “The Kerala government installed free RT-PCR testing facilities at all Airports for International Arrival Passengers. An integrated travel facilitation strategy was launched at the Airport whereby officials of District administration, health, revenue, police departments have been working round the clock for increasing the comfort level of the Passengers.”

Low Cost Fares To India ‘Popup’ via FlyPop

FlyPop has become the latest low-cost Air Carrier to have finalised a UK Airport base to operate out of, in this case, London Stansted Airport. Indeed, the UK startup Air Carrier has aspirations to fly long haul, with initial focus on routes to secondary Airports in India.

Consequently, FlyPop believe that the demand for direct flights to such Indian cities will be the epicentre of their customer travel demands. These sentiments are echoed by FlyPop’s CEO, Navdip Singh Judge. He said, “London Stansted Airport has a history of being the base for low-cost carriers and we feel it is the perfect fit for our passengers. FlyPop is focused on serving the Indian and South Asian diaspora communities living in the UK and their visiting friends and relatives, for whom London Stansted is the most convenient Airport location.”

FlyPop To India In The Future | © Business Traveller

FlyPop Keen To Pop Open Its Aircraft Doors ASAP

FlyPop intends to offer return fares from London Stansted to Indian Cities for as low as £99! Navdip Singh Judge explained the mechanics of how offering two-figure fares can still be profitable and challenged other competitors to see if they can match it.

He said, “Yields are funny terms, aren’t they? Yields are the difference between CASK [cost per available seat kilometre] and RASK [revenue per available seat kilometre]. So, we want to have our CASK so low that the yield will end up being quite healthy. That’s the art of yield management. We are going to start flights at £99, so if anybody wants to beat us with that, let them try it.”

FlyPop intends to use the double decker Airbus (A330-300) Aircraft to operate flights between the UK and India. The launch date of flights between the destinations is to be confirmed and very much subject to Covid-19 restrictions relaxing. Indeed, India remains on the UK’s red list of countries, thereby meaning tourists from the UK cannot travel to India, and any UK citizens returning from India are subject to strict quarantine rules. Furthermore, on FlyPop’s website, under the FAQs section, it reflects such uncertainty, stating that “Subject to Covid-19 restrictions, we look forward to welcoming you onboard later this year.”

As and when they can launch operations, FlyPop is expected to fly routes from London Stansted to Amritsar and Ahmedabad, with Kolkata and Goa to follow shortly thereafter.

FlyPop is continuing to negotiate deals with other secondary Airports in India, with the anticipation of hopefully starting operations before the end of the year.

The Majestic, Astounding And Jaw Dropping Iguazu Falls – Part Two

The following captures further illustrate the vast panoramic scenery of the Iguazu Falls, complemented by vibrant wildlife:

Capturing Devil’s Throat From The Argentinian Side
The Rainbow Striker!
Are You Green With Envy….???
Overview Of The Iguazu Falls – Brazilian Side
Ooops!! Don’t Fall In!
Careful – I Bite! DON’T FEED ME

The Majestic, Astounding And Jaw Dropping Iguazu Falls

No words can ever encapsulate the magnificent, dramatic  landscape of this natural wonder that is the heartbeat of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The Iguazu is nature’s gift that is breathtaking as it evolves and envelopes you. It is captivating and your senses literally drown, as you witness the roaring impounding of the Devil’s Throat falls. 

Devil’s Throat Waterfall From The Brazilian Side

As you walk the giddy heights of the walkways the spray of the waterfall skim past your face, and your heart skips a beat when you see the tourist boat navigating the furious whirlpools under the Three Musketeer Falls. Only the attached photos can do true justice to the wonder of Iguzau.  So feast your eyes on this visual wonder that we must treasure for an eternity.

The Joys Of A Boat Ride Under The Three Musketeers Waterfall!
The Rainbow Effect Spreading Across The Falls

The Birds, Flora and Fauna of the Iguazu are truly remarkable and the alluring Parrots are fascinating and enthralling, as they display their bewitching multicoloured feathers and crowns.

Birds Formation Tweeting In Synch
The Vibrancy Of Birds Is Endless

May Day: Air India Resumes UK Flights

Air India will be resuming flights to and from United Kingdom (UK) starting 1 May 2021. The news comes after the Airline suspended travel between India and the UK during 24 to 30 April. This was because of the huge surge in COVID-19 cases across India, that is on average over 300,000 a day, leading the UK government to tighten restrictions on travel between the two countries and adding India to the ‘red-list’.

Air India will start by conducting flights between Mumbai and London Heathrow on 1 May, with a return flight occurring on the same day. Thereafter, flights between Delhi and London Heathrow will resume on 2 May, which will then be followed by Bengaluru and London Heathrow on 5 May. This will enable thousands of Indians in the UK to be able to return home. Previously, this was rather challenging due to the limited services offered by other Air Carriers between the countries.

Ready for May Day Take-Off | © Trak.in

Requirement to Rebook & Revalidate

It is important to note that Air India will require passengers who have already booked the aforementioned flights to rebook or revalidate their flight tickets by contacting Air India. For those booking fresh flights anew, booking and validating can be done via the Air India App, website, or other third-party vendors offering flights.

Travel from India to the UK now comes with caveats, and Air India has reiterated the need for passengers to factor in the UK’s travel guidelines in relation to COVID-19. The Airline said, “It will be the sole responsibility of the passengers to ensure his/her eligibility to enter the destination country. Air India will accept no liability if non compliance results in denied boarding.”

Airport Passengers Go Astray In Assam

Just as India is in the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, experiencing record number of cases, passengers landing at Silchar Airport in Assam have aggravated the pandemic, by somehow bypassing mandatory Rapid Antigen Test & RT-PCR Test on arrival at the Airport. Furthermore, local authorities are unaware of how these passengers managed to slip under the radar.

“On Wednesday, 690 people landed at Silchar,” said Sumit Sattawan, ADC, Health, Cachar district, “Some were exempt since they were transit passengers travelling to other northeast states. A total of 189 took the test — out of which six were positive. Around 300 went away, skipping the test. Regarding how they ran away and other details, we are still investigating what exactly happened”. However, he remained adamant that every effort would be made to trace the perpetrators.

Conforming to Covid-19 Compliance Not Commonplace in recent times | © News18

Skipping Tests Over 500 Rupees

Passengers should undertake the necessary Covid-19 Tests at Tikol Model Hospital in the vicinity of Silchar Airport. This is due to the Airport lacking capacity to cater for mass testing. Public transport is provided to passengers from the Airport to the Hospital, or they can take private transport, subject to providing vehicle & driver details. The RT-PCR Test costs 500 INR (US $7), which appeared to be a key driver behind many passengers failing to take test.

Sumit Sattawan added, “The police are currently tracing the passengers who fled, following which legal action will be taken. Cases will be registered under relevant sections”. The need for enforcement is further heightened by the state of Assam currently having 9,048 active Covid-19 cases. As such, the State Government is currently ordering all public spaces and places to close by 6 PM each day.

Horse Whispers In The Pampas

Estancia El Ombú de Areco radiates the aura of an epic, vast and panoramic landscape of lush greenery. Nestling in this Pampas grasslands are the farm livestock and the handsome Criolo Horses that are a sight to behold.

Criolo Horses Lazing In The Sun
Angus Cattle Nestling In The Pampas Grasslands

The Estancia consists of a magnificent 1880 Farmhouse that has belonged to the Boelcke family since 1934. Visitors are treated to a gastronomic feast of Empanadas, Wood Roasted Chicken, Lamb and Steak, followed by delectable home made Pasta with limitless Malbec Wine.  

Wood Fire Roast Chicken & Steak
Hospitality Galore At Estancia El Ombú de Areco
In Conversation With The Resident Parrot

The most unforgettable experience of the day is the demonstration of the Doma India, which is the special Horse Whispering. The video below displays true justice to this art form.

Magic At Work: Horse Whispering
An Innovative Pillow?

The dance with the Gauchos and a Horseback Ride around the Estancia are treats not to be missed, as you absorb the scenic flavours of this idyllic countryside.