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The 22% increase in the issuance of licenses to women pilots is a welcome step in a profession that is mainly deemed male-dominated.

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The Indian aviation watchdog, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), said Monday that it issued a decade-high of 1,622 commercial pilot licenses in 2023, up from 1,165 licenses in 2022. 

Among the new licenses, 18.1% belong to women pilots, for growth of 22.5% from 2022. An estimated 14% of the workforce employed with scheduled airlines consists of women pilots.

This is the second consecutive year where the number of licenses issued has witnessed a decade-high, the DGCA said.

The increase in licenses aligns with the ongoing recovery of the country’s civil aviation sector after the coronavirus pandemic. Major operators, such as Air India and IndiGo, have announced substantial aircraft orders during this period.

Air India has committed to at least 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing, worth an estimated $34 billion as part of the Tata Group’s effort to remake the long-ailing Indian flag carrier into a global aviation leader. Budget carrier IndiGo is preparing to take delivery of around 500 narrow-body A320-family jets from Airbus worth $50 billion, as reported by Skift. 

Recently, the ministry of civil aviation had said that there was no shortage of pilots in the country, but there was a lack of commanders for specific aircraft types. Foreign pilots are being utilized through Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorization (FATA) to address this.

Oyo Focuses on Inclusivity for Differently-Abled Individuals in 2024

Hospitality technology firm Oyo has revealed its commitment to promoting inclusivity in 2024, specifically focusing on providing equitable access to quality accommodation for differently-abled individuals.

Wheelchair-Friendly Infrastructure Initiative: An essential aspect of Oyo’s initiative is promoting wheelchair-friendly infrastructure, including ramps, wider doorways, and staff training to understand the needs of differently abled guests in partner hotels.

Strategic Partnerships: Oyo has taken significant steps by partnering with Khelo India Para Games and Divyang Kala Mela to offer specialized and accessible accommodation for differently abled players throughout India.

Accommodating Differently-Abled Artisans and Entrepreneurs: In the ongoing Divya Kala Mela, Oyo is providing accommodation for approximately 150 differently-abled artisans and entrepreneurs across various cities in India. More than 200 hotels have been identified based on specific parameters such as ramp and lift facilities.

Previous Collaboration with Khelo India Para Games 2023: Oyo recently collaborated with Khelo India Para Games 2023 in Delhi, offering accommodation to over 1,500 participants in 45 hotels nationwide.

Rating agency Moody’s Investors Service expected India’s budget hotel chain Oyo to generate between $50 million and $55 million in EBITDA — a measure of profit — this fiscal year.

The Moody’s statement comes two months after Oyo Founder and Group CEO Ritesh Agarwal told employees in an internal town hall that the company expects to clock adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of nearly $97 million in fiscal 2024.

Air India Express Introduces New Routes from Gwalior

Air India Express has announced the start of new routes from Gwalior to two major metropolitan cities: Gwalior to Delhi and Gwalior to Bengaluru, beginning January 16th. The airline will operate daily direct flights on these routes, enhancing connectivity to and from Gwalior. This development follows the airline’s recent commencement of operations from Gwalior with direct connectivity to Hyderabad less than a month ago.

In October last year, Air India Express unveiled its new look on a new Boeing 737–8 aircraft. 

The airline’s visual identity featured a bright color palette of orange and turquoise, with tangerine and ice blue as secondary colors. It has built its branding around the letter X and is trying to connect with a younger generation, as reported by Skift earlier.

About Air India Express: Air India Express was established as a subsidiary of government-run Air India in 2005. The idea was for a no-frills carrier to serve routes between South India and the Middle East.

Travel and Hospitality Sector Notes Positive Incremental Hiring  

TeamLease Services, a staffing conglomerate in India, has unveiled its latest ‘TeamLease Employment Outlook Report’ for the second half of the fiscal year 2024 (October 2023 to March 2024). The report focuses on trends within the travel and hospitality sector.

The trends stated how despite challenging circumstances in the second half of the fiscal year, the travel and hospitality sector shows robust growth in crucial hiring categories. There was a 68% incremental workforce expansion in the second half of the fiscal year. 

City-wise Analysis: Analyzing the industry city-wise reveals a deliberate hiring distribution. Mumbai leads with a 13.3% incremental workforce expansion. Other major cities like Ahmedabad and Chandigarh contribute significantly, with 11.1%. 

Demand for Specific Roles: In examining the need for roles within the sector, Human Resources (HR) takes the lead.  Engineering, Office Services, and blue-collar professions contribute substantially to the industry’s growth. 

Air India Announces FogCare Policy for Delhi IGI Airport

The residents of  Delhi-NCR and other parts of North India have been experiencing cold waves accompanied by a thick layer of fog. According to the India Meteorological Department, mercury is expected to drop further in the first week of January 2024, with temperatures ranging between 10 and 7 degrees Celsius in northern India. 

Dense fog and reduced visibility have led to delays in several flights at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, according to reports by ANI. Adverse weather conditions have disrupted the regular flight schedule, affecting arrival and departure times.

Owing to this, Air India has announced that passengers will be allowed to reschedule or cancel their bookings at no extra cost if their flight is likely to be affected by major fog delays. This initiative is part of FogCare, which was introduced last winter.

Statement from Chief Customer Experience Officer: Rajesh Dogra, chief customer experience officer at Air India, stated, “The FogCare initiative is a sincere effort to minimize inconvenience to guests whose flights are likely to get affected by fog. It will also help maintain network schedule integrity.”

Two days back, an Air India flight, AI 850 from Pune to Jaipur, originally scheduled to depart at 20:55, faced a delay with a new estimated departure time (ETA) at 22:38 due to reduced visibility owing to dense fog. Another flight, 9I 696, operating from Ahmedabad to Udaipur, was also delayed from its initial departure time of 15:55, now expected to take off at 21:05.

IHG Hotels and Resorts Taps Into The Indian Wedding Market

Indians consider weddings a grand event. According to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), 3.5 million weddings were held between November 23 and December 15, bringing an estimated business of INR 4.25 trillion ($51 billion) this wedding season.

Marriott, in 2023, launched Shaadi by Marriott Bonvoy Reimagined to cater to the needs of families seeking grandiose affairs. As per WeddingWire in a interview to Indian Express, a popular wedding technology platform, Dehradun alone saw a 50% year-on-year growth in 2023 compared to 2022, surpassing Jaipur and Goa as the preferred locations. 

Given the affinity of affluent families to host weddings in big name hotels and resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group and Resorts hosted the WeddingSutra Grand Engage from December 12-14 at InterContinental Jaipur Tonk Road. The two-day event brought together industry professionals, creating a hub for in-depth conversations, panel discussions, and networking. 

IHG recently announced signing a management agreement with XECO Media to bring a new Holiday Inn Resort to Karjat in Maharashtra. Set to open in 2027, the resort will add 150 keys to IHG’s portfolio in the state.

Signum Hotels Announces Opening of Second Property in Gujarat

Hotel management company Signum Hotels and Resorts has announced the opening of its second property in Gujarat. The company has launched Signum Cityscapes Rajkot, a 40-room hotel on the Rajkot-Morbi Highway.

Key Features of Signum Cityscapes Rajkot: This newest addition to the Signum portfolio features a multi-cuisine restaurant and provides complimentary Wi-Fi for guests’ convenience.

Earlier in September last year, the hotel announced the opening of Signum Resort Igatpuri in the western state of Maharashtra. Before that, it launched a property in Gujarat — Signum CityScapes Landmark in the port town of Dahej.

Footprint: The company has already opened 12 hotels in India and manages over 500 apartments spread across more than 40 locations.

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Tags: air india, Air India Express, airbus, dgca, ihg, indian airlines, indian weddings, oyo hotels, pilots, skift india report

Photo credit: DGCA issued a decade-high of 1,622 commercial pilot licenses in 2023. Nadir Hashmi / Indigo Nation

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