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At a time when most Indian airlines and airport operators are eyeing growth and announcing expansion plans, the country’s pilots and cabin crew fraternity are still struggling to negotiate salaries and flight duty timings.

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IndiGo is developing a wrist device designed to gauge pilot fatigue and alertness levels before and after flights, according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters The budget carrier will work in partnership with the French aerospace conglomerate, Thales Group, and also intends to appoint a consultant to improve its fatigue risk management procedures. 

Additionally, Tata Group-owned Air India said it would introduce two digital tools — the Pilot Sector Report (PSR) app and DocuNet — to address flight operations and pilot satisfaction. 

The moves come after an IndiGo pilot fell unconscious and died before his scheduled flight. The incident sparked complaints from some pilots, who expressed concerns about work conditions.

How Will the Devices Work? Calling it a “proof-of-concept trial,” IndiGo in a statement said the fatigue detection model will offer detailed insights into data, including routes, pairings, crew profiles, and more, going beyond traditional scheduling-focused models. 

Air India’s PSR app streamlines post-flight reporting, and DocuNet simplifies document distribution, ensuring up-to-date and synchronized information. 

Monitoring Fatigue Data: Meanwhile, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation is conducting a review of pilot fatigue data collected through spot checks and airline surveillance to determine if changes are needed in flight duty time regulations or fatigue management protocols. 

West Bengal’s Santiniketan Finds a Place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Santiniketan, a town located in the eastern state of West Bengal set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, made it to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List

When? The international agency made the announcement in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee is being held till September 25.

Other UNESCO Sites: Santiniketan becomes the 41st UNESCO World Heritage Site in India and the third in West Bengal, after the Sundarbans National Park and the Darjeeling Mountain Railways. Last year, the state’s Durga Puja got space in “Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity” under UNESCO.

History of the Town: Santiniketan, a university town over 100 miles from Kolkata, is home to the prestigious Visva-Bharati University, offering degree courses in humanities, social science, science, fine arts, music, performing arts, education, agricultural science and rural reconstruction.

Indian Hotels Company Signs a Taj Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany

Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company said it has signed a Taj Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany under an operating lease arrangement. 

Opening: The company said the Taj Hotel Hessischer Hof will re-open in 2025 after refurbishment with a new design. 

Location: The 134-room Taj Hotel Hessischer Hof is centrally located in close proximity to the Frankfurt trade fair grounds – one of the largest conventions and meeting spaces in Germany.

New Openings: The company recently opened a 125-room WOW Crest, an IHCL SeleQtions hotel in Indore in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. Additionally, Indian Hotels Company’s homestay portfolio Amã Stays & Trails also opened its 75th bungalow at Anjanagiri Estate in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

MakeMyTrip’s myBiz Partners With Darwinbox to Streamline Corporate Travel Booking

MakeMyTrip’s corporate travel platform, MyBiz has collaborated with human resources (HR) tech start-up Darwinbox to integrate travel solutions and HR processes for corporates. 

What the Partnership Entails: This will streamline travel reservations, HR protocol compliance, expense management, and goods and services tax resolution on a single self-serve platform.

Enterprises can also look forward to operational efficiency, consumable data, and the convenience of consolidated expense reports under the partnership, MakeMyTrip said in a statement. 

User base: With a high level of automation and transparency, MyBiz recently crossed the 50,000-client user base within just four years of its launch.

Other Highlights: MyBiz aims to automate the entire booking process for corporate travelers’ domestic and international flights. The platform also offers a gamut of services including booking hotels in India and overseas, trains, cabs, bus, among other offerings. 

Vistara to Fly Delhi-Hong Kong Direct from October 29

Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, will start direct flights between the national capital of Delhi and Hong Kong from October 29.

Aircraft: The airline will operate A321 neo aircraft featuring a three-class configuration on the route, it said in a statement.

Fleet: Vistara currently has a fleet of 61 aircraft, including 46 Airbus A320neo, 10 Airbus A321 and five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Merger: Earlier this month, antitrust watchdog Competition Commission of India approved Tata group’s plan to merge its full-service carriers Air India and Vistara. The nod clears the decks for the merger – the combined entity will retain the Air India brand and the Vistara brand will be retired. 

The merger is expected to conclude by March 2024.  

Mahindra Holidays to Invest $120 Million to Build Resorts in Uttarakhand

Hospitality firm Mahindra Holidays & Resorts signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uttarakhand government to build resorts in the north Indian state. The company, under the flagship brand Club Mahindra, will build four to five resorts for which the firm will invest $120 million, it said in a release.

Expansion Plans: The company said that this is the biggest investment by MHRIL in any state in the country. With this investment, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts will more than double its footprint in Uttarakhand, with Club Mahindra already operating resorts in Jim Corbett, Mussoorie, Kanatal, and Binsar.

It added that it is part of the company’s robust plan of expansion from 5,000 to 10,000 keys by 2030

Current Portfolio: Mahindra Holidays & Resorts operates 143 resorts across the globe, of which 82 are in India.

U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt Reserves Visa Appointments for Indians

In a push to process maximum Indian visa applications, the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt has set aside non-immigrant visa interview appointments specifically for Indian applicants, according to a report published by The Times of India. 

Interview Wait Times: The interview wait times for visitor B1 (business) and B2 (tourist) visas in India vary from 15 to 20 months. In Kolkata, the wait time is 607 days, while in Mumbai, it stands at 571 days, followed by 486 days in Chennai and 441 days in Hyderabad. For Frankfurt, the wait time is just three days. 

Indians were last year permitted to apply at U.S. consulates abroad, such as Bangkok, as part of initiatives to reduce the backlog. 

Other Details: Since the start of the fiscal year, the U.S. Mission in India has granted over 330,000 petition-based temporary employment visas, which is 71% more than it did during the same period in 2019.

Lemon Tree Hotels Launches Sixth Property in Bengaluru and Signs 2 New Hotels 

Lemon Tree Hotels has announced the opening of its latest property in Bengaluru with 101-room Peninsula Suites. 

Location: The property is 23 miles from Bengaluru airport and 14 miles from the nearest railway station.

New Signings: The company has also signed licence agreements for two new properties — Lemon Tree Hotel, Junagadh in Gujarat and Tigerland Safari – A Lemon Tree Resort, Chitwan in Nepal. 

Opening: While the 64-room Junagadh hotel is expected to be operational by 2025, the 35-key Nepal property will open doors in 2024.

Carnation Hotels, a subsidiary of Lemon Tree Hotels, will manage the properties. 

“We are pleased to partner with M/S Trimurti Inn for our latest signing in Junagadh and with Tigerland Safari Resort in Nepal. The two additions under two diverse brands aligns with our asset-light policy,” said Mahesh Aiyer, CEO of Carnation Hotels.


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Tags: air india, delhi, frankfurt, heritage, hong kong, india, Indian Hotels Company, indigo, makemytrip, skift india report, u.s. visa, unesco, vistara

Photo credit: Airlines are introducing new tools to monitor pilots' alertness and fatigue. Kelly / Pexels

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