While the jury is still out on Go First making a comeback, it is important for India to ensure that the crisis doesn’t dent the larger goal of the country’s aviation industry.
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The committee of creditors of troubled airline Go First recently had its first meeting and has reportedly decided to replace the team in charge of resolving the airline’s financial problems. The committee wants to have complete control over the process of finding a solution for Go First.
It appointed Shailendra Ajmera of consulting firm Ernst & Young as the new resolution professional in the airline’s insolvency case, according to a report by Press Trust of India. The committee will look into Go First’s revival plan and submit it to the Indian aviation watchdog, Directorate General of Civil Aviation after receiving approval. Earlier, Go First had submitted a six-month revival plan to the aviation regulator under which the airline proposed to resume operations with a fleet of 26 aircraft and 152 daily flights.
Lenders to the airline — Bank of Baroda, Central Bank of India, IDBI and Deutsche Bank — have an exposure of $797.38 million. Last month, Wadia Group’s Go First had filed for voluntary insolvency blaming “faulty” Pratt & Whitney engines for the grounding of about half its fleet, and was granted bankruptcy protection by Indian bankruptcy court National Company Law Tribunal.
IndiGo to Start Codeshare Flights to U.S.
Budget carrier IndiGo has announced the launch of codeshare connections to the U.S. via Istanbul in partnership with Turkish Airlines. The flights will provide connections to New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, effective June 15, the airline said in a statement. IndiGo already provides codeshare connections to 33 destinations in Europe.
Meanwhile, IndiGo has announced that its CEO Pieter Elbers has been elected as the next chief of International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) board of governors. Effective June 2024, he will be responsible for further shaping the global aviation landscape, advocating for the industry’s interests, and driving innovation and sustainability initiatives. The airline is currently preparing to take delivery of around 500 narrow-body A320-family jets from Airbus worth $50 billion.
Oyo to Onboard 300 Hill Station Hotels
Travel technology company Oyo said it will add 300 hill station hotels to its portfolio by August to capitalize on the summer vacation rush. The company is on course to open across cities such as Manali, Mussoorie, Nainital, Srinagar, Shimla, Dalhousie and Haridwar in the north; Ooty, Munnar and Kodaikanal in the south; Gangtok, Darjeeling and Shillong in the east; and Lonavala and Mahabaleshwar the west, it said in a statement. Additionally, Oyo also aims to onboard 1,800 new hotels this year as part of its ongoing bid for premiumisation. By offering high-quality accommodations in addition to the existing budget-friendly options, Oyo intends to cater to the diverse needs and preferences of its customers. Manali has emerged as the most booked hill destination, according to Oyo’s Summer Vacation Index 2023 released last month.
Air India Starts Second Mumbai-Mangaluru Direct Daily
Tata Group-owned Air India has launched a second daily flight between Mumbai and Mangaluru. Flight 1679 departs Mumbai at 12.40 p.m. and arrives in Mangaluru at 2.10 p.m. The return leg leaves Mangaluru at 2.50 p.m. and reaches Mumbai at 4.35 p.m. The other Air India flight, AI (679), departs Mumbai at 5.45 a.m. and arrives in Mangaluru at 7.20 a.m. On the return journey, flight AI (680) leaves Mangaluru at 7.55 a.m. and reaches Mumbai at 9.35 a.m. The development closely follows low-cost carrier IndiGo‘s addition of a third daily flight on the Mumbai-Mangaluru route last month. The two airlines now offer a combined total of five daily flights on this route.
Rajasthan Government to Revamp 10 Hotels
The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation is renovating 10 of its hotels to give a new lease of life to its properties facing stiff competition from private hotels. The state government agency will also be giving 34 hotels and motels to private players under the operation and management model. The hotels which are being renovated are Hotel Kesar Jhumar Bawdi of Ranthambore (Sawai Madhopur), Hotel Gokul of Nathdwara (Rajsamand), Hotel Sarovar of Pushkar (Ajmer), Hotel Lake Palace of Alwar (Silisedh), Hotel Gangaur of Jaipur, Hotel Khadim of Ajmer, Hotel Kajri of Udaipur, Hotel Forest Lodge in Bharatpur, Hotel Tiger Den in Sariska (Alwar) and Hotel Shikhar in Mount Abu (Sirohi). Around 108.7 million tourists visited the desert state in 2022, according to the state tourism department.
Luxeglamp Opens Bubble Glamps in Munnar
India-based luxury glamping startup Luxeglamp EcoResorts has launched a bubble glamping resort in the hill station of Munnar in the south Indian state of Kerala. Luxeglamp Munnar features six bubble glamps, including wooden patios, hot tubs, saunas and hammocks. The company opened its first glamping site in Kodaikanal in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. “We plan to add another five resorts across India and internationally in the coming two years,” said Antony Thomas, CEO and founder of Luxeglamp EcoResorts. Glamping or glamorous camping is for people looking for outdoor adventures with luxurious accommodation and facilities.
India Tops Asia Pacific in Airfare Surge
India experienced the highest increase in airfares among countries in the Asia Pacific region, according to a study conducted by Airports Council International (ACI) in collaboration with Flare Aviation Consulting. The ACI study attributes surge in airfares to rising fuel prices and inflation, with a 76 percent hike in fuel prices compared to 2019 and a 10 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index. In India, this surge in ticket prices can be attributed to the rebound in travel demand, capacity constraints, and the recent bankruptcy plea and flight suspension of Indian low-cost carrier Go First, an airline that recently faced bankruptcy. The ACI study that analyzed approximately 36,000 routes in the top 10 aviation markets in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, highlights the alarming trend of escalating airfares in the region.
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Photo credit: The committee will look into Go First's revival plan and submit it to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Anna Zvereva / Wikimedia Commons