Noida Airport Farms Out Food and Beverage Concession

Preet Palash

29 Mar 2024

Noida International Airport (NIA) has awarded the upcoming airport’s Food and Beverage (F&B) concession to HMSHost India Pvt. Ltd (a subsidiary of Avolta).

The concessionaire will build and operate restaurants, cafes, and other food franchises within the airport terminal.

With this new partnership, NIA aims to curate an impressive array of offerings, featuring quality food served in a hygienic environment and enhancing the overall experience at the airport, the firm said. The F&B offerings at NIA will blend local flavours with global cuisine, ensuring a comprehensive and satisfying dining experience for everyone. The outlets will provide a world-class, yet affordable dining experience to customers.

Christoph Schnellmann, Chief Executive Officer, Noida International Airport, said, “We are excited to announce our partnership with HMSHost India Pvt. Ltd. With their global expertise in the hospitality industry, we are confident that they will bring a unique and customer-friendly ambiance to the airport's dining experience. We aim to curate an impressive array of offerings that blend local flavours with global cuisine, ensuring an appropriate balance that caters to diverse appetites. This partnership reflects our commitment to providing world-class facilities and services to customers, ensuring a seamless travel experience."

Jagvir Rana, Managing Director India Subcontinent at Avolta said, "We are deeply honored and grateful for the opportunity extended to us by Noida International Airport, to play a role in this exciting new airport and operate seven brand new outlets. Our dining experience at the new airport has been meticulously crafted to fuse global excellence with a local touch; each concept promises to make every traveller happier. We look forward to realizing a successful partnership and exceeding expectations."

The first phase of the airport, featuring one runway and one terminal, will have the capacity to handle traffic of 12 million passengers annually. Upon completion of all four development phases, the airport will be able to cater to 70 million passengers per year.

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Akasa Launches International Operations With Flights to Doha

Preet Palash

29 Mar 2024

Akasa Air has launched operations to Doha, the capital of Qatar, from India’s financial capital Mumbai with four non-stop flights a week making its international debut.

The inaugural flight on 28th March 2024 departed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai at 1745hrs IST and arrived at Hamad International Airport in Doha at around 1940hrs AST.

The flight takes off from Mumbai at 17:45 hours and leaves Doha 2:45 hours (+1).

In an event held at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, to flag off the maiden flight, a ceremonial lamp was lit in the presence of members of the Akasa executive committee Neelu Khatri, Co-Founder and SVP International, Akasa Air, Ankur Goel, Chief Financial Officer, Akasa Air, Belson Coutinho, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing and Experience Officer and Bhavin Joshi, Co-Founder and Sr. Vice President – Strategy, Akasa Air. 

The event was graced by Rajeev Chawla, Head – Terminal Operations T2, Mumbai International Airport Limited, S.P Singh, CSO-Security, Mumbai International Airport Limited, Tanvir Moulvi, GM – Aero Commercial, Mumbai International Airport Limited, and Manoj Sharma, DIG – CISF, Mumbai International Airport Limited, the airline said.

A special boarding pass was presented to the first passenger on the inaugural flight. This was followed by a ceremonial ribbon cutting by the all-women operating crew of two pilots and five cabin crew.

With the conveniently timed flight schedule, travellers from other Indian cities such as Ahmedabad, Goa, Varanasi, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Kochi and Delhi will also have multiple connecting options to travel to and from Doha via Mumbai, the airline added. Travelers who wish to explore Doha can choose to plan their travel with Akasa Holidays which offers customisable and all-inclusive holiday packages at affordable prices.

Akasa Air has been granted traffic rights for three other international destinations namely, Kuwait, Jeddah, and Riyadh, and will be rapidly expanding its global footprint in the coming months.

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Vistara Starts Mumbai-Paris Service

Preet Palash

29 Mar 2024

Vistara has started five weekly flights between Mumbai and Paris, the airline said in a statement.

The inaugural flight, operated on Vistara’s 787-9 Dreamliner, commenced from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai, at 13:50 Hours (IST) on 28 March and arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 18:55 Hours (CET).

With the addition of this new route, Vistara now connects Paris to two Indian airports – Delhi and Mumbai. This is also Vistara’s sixth long-haul direct route between India and Europe. Vistara now offers flights to 15 international destinations from Mumbai.

Vinod Kannan, Chief Executive Officer, Vistara, said, “We are delighted to commence direct connectivity between Mumbai and Paris. This new route, in addition to our non-stop flights connecting Delhi and Paris, reflects the increasing preference of our customers to fly Vistara for seamless travel between India and France. This strategic expansion also enables us to aid the growing traffic between the two countries given the burgeoning cooperation across sectors including trade, investment, science, technology, and academia. We are confident that customers will appreciate the choice of flying India’s best airline on this additional route, that further solidifies our presence in Europe.”

The flight will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays taking off from Mumbai at 13:20 hours and from Paris at 21:30 hours featuring a three-class cabin configuration, offering the choice of travelling in Business, Premium Economy, and Economy cabins.

Vistara has a fleet of 70 aircraft, including 53 Airbus A320neo, 10 Airbus A321, and 7 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

Indian airlines are pushing for a higher share of the international pie. Domestic carriers registered a 22% increase in international air traffic to and from India at 7.7 million passengers between October-December 2023, with a 44.6% market share compared with 6.3 million and 43.5% same time last year.

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Biman Bangladesh Weighs Airbus vs. Boeing for Widebody Fleet Expansion

Abhishek Nayar

29 Mar 2024

In the realm of aviation, every decision takes flight on the wings of careful consideration. Biman Bangladesh Airlines finds itself at the crossroads of choice as it contemplates the expansion of its widebody fleet. With offers from both Airbus and Boeing on the table, the airline is poised for a significant decision that could shape its operations for years to come.

Setting the Stage

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has established a technical committee dedicated to scrutinizing the offers presented by aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing. While Airbus appears to be leading the race, Boeing has not relinquished its hold on the competition. The stakes are high, and the outcome of this deliberation could redefine the airline's trajectory in the global aviation market.

The Players: Airbus vs. Boeing

The Airbus camp has extended an enticing offer, proposing the acquisition of ten A350 aircraft, including two A350 freighters. This offer, backed by the support of the French Embassy, presents a compelling case for Biman Bangladesh Airlines to embrace European engineering prowess.

However, Boeing, ever tenacious, has not conceded defeat. With a pitch centered around its B787 Dreamliner series, Boeing dangles the promise of operational efficiency and cost savings. The US-based manufacturer's proposal of two General Electric-powered B787-10s underscores its determination to remain a formidable contender in Biman's considerations.

Financial Maneuvers and Lobbying Efforts

In the game of aircraft acquisition, financial backing can often tip the scales in favor of one manufacturer over another. Biman Bangladesh Airlines secured funding in May 2023, facilitated by a joint communiqué with the United Kingdom, granting access to funds through the UK Export Finance scheme. This financial maneuver initially seemed to position Airbus as the frontrunner.

However, Boeing swiftly countered, leveraging its lobbying prowess to advocate for its own offerings. With the potential purchase of various B787 variants and freighters, Boeing aims to reclaim its footing in Biman's deliberations, injecting a new layer of complexity into the decision-making process.

Analyzing the Proposals & The Path Forward

The 16-member technical committee, comprising representatives from Biman, the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, and external experts, is tasked with dissecting the intricacies of each proposal. Factors such as delivery timelines, engine specifications, operational efficiency, and long-term maintenance costs weigh heavily on the committee's deliberations.

Despite the intensity of the competition between Airbus and Boeing, Biman Bangladesh Airlines remains steadfast in its commitment to thorough analysis. Managing Director Shafiul Azim affirms that no final decision has been reached, emphasizing the importance of meticulous consideration before charting the airline's course forward.

Looking Ahead & Conclusion

As Biman Bangladesh Airlines navigates the complexities of fleet expansion, the overarching goal remains clear: to bolster revenue streams and enhance connectivity. With aspirations to grow its fleet to 45 aircraft by 2031, the airline stands at a critical juncture in its evolution. The decision between Airbus and Boeing will not only shape its immediate operations but also set the stage for its future trajectory in the dynamic aviation landscape.

In the unfolding saga of Biman Bangladesh Airlines' widebody fleet expansion, the interplay between Airbus and Boeing encapsulates the intricate dance of industry titans vying for supremacy in the skies. As the airline navigates this pivotal decision-making process, the world watches with bated breath, anticipating the outcome that will shape the next chapter in Biman's storied journey.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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PIA Privatization Push: Pakistan's Economic Pivot under IMF Pressure

Abhishek Nayar

29 Mar 2024

Under the lens of economic restructuring and amid the urgency imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan has embarked on a rapid trajectory towards the partial privatization of its national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). The recent flurry of developments, including the restructuring of PIA's board and expedited approval of the privatization plan, underscores the country's commitment to meeting IMF mandates in exchange for crucial financial aid.

IMF's Directive and Pakistan's Response

The newly elected Pakistani government, led by Shehbaz Sharif, finds itself navigating the demands of the IMF, particularly regarding the reform and divestment of state-owned enterprises. With the final tranche of a USD 3 billion IMF bailout package looming in April, Pakistan is compelled to expedite its privatization agenda to secure vital funds. Sharif's administration has reaffirmed its dedication to continuing the privatization initiatives initiated by predecessors, signaling a continuity in economic policies despite the change in leadership.

PIA Privatization Blueprint

Central to Pakistan's economic overhaul is the partial privatization of PIA, where the government aims to divest 51% ownership and management rights to a foreign entity. The strategic move is intended to alleviate the burden of PIA's staggering debt and streamline its operations to attract potential investors. Recent cabinet approvals for the establishment of a holding company to manage PIA's debt further reflect the government's commitment to bolstering the airline's appeal in the eyes of prospective buyers.

Challenges and Negotiations

However, the path to PIA's privatization is fraught with challenges. Key among them is securing no-objection certificates from local banks holding substantial portions of PIA's debt. Disputes over interest rates for servicing these debts have emerged as a significant stumbling block, with negotiations ongoing to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. The government's ambitious timeline to conclude the privatization process by June underscores the urgency amidst mounting economic pressures.

IMF Deal and Future Prospects

In parallel, Pakistan has reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF to disburse the remaining USD 1.1 billion, signaling progress in meeting the conditions set forth by the international lender. However, additional financial assistance, potentially amounting to USD 6 billion, hinges on Pakistan's continued commitment to privatizing PIA and implementing broader economic reforms.


As Pakistan navigates the intricate terrain of economic restructuring under IMF scrutiny, the partial privatization of PIA emerges as a pivotal milestone in its quest for financial stability. The government's concerted efforts to fast-track the privatization process underscore its determination to meet IMF mandates and secure crucial funding. However, navigating the complexities of debt restructuring and stakeholder negotiations presents formidable challenges on the road ahead. The outcome of Pakistan's economic pivot, intertwined with PIA's fate, will reverberate across the nation's economic landscape and global financial markets.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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Can Alaska and Hawaiian' Merger Survive Antitrust Scrutiny?

Abhishek Nayar

29 Mar 2024

In a bid to merge, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines find themselves navigating through the regulatory maze set by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The agreement reached with the DOJ entails a meticulous process, ensuring compliance with antitrust regulations. As the airlines embark on this journey, the question arises: can their merger withstand the scrutiny of antitrust authorities?

The Merger Agreement & DOJ's Role

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have announced their intention to merge, a move aimed at consolidating their positions in the competitive airline industry. However, the merger is not a simple matter of corporate paperwork. It involves intense scrutiny from regulatory bodies, particularly the Department of Justice, to ensure compliance with antitrust laws.

The Department of Justice plays a pivotal role in evaluating mergers to prevent monopolistic practices that could harm competition and consumers. In this case, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have entered into an agreement with the DOJ, outlining the terms and conditions for proceeding with the merger.

Timing Agreement Details & Antitrust Scrutiny

Central to the agreement is the timing clause, which stipulates that the airlines must refrain from consummating their merger until 90 days after both parties have certified substantial compliance with a second request for antitrust-related information. This provision reflects the DOJ's commitment to thoroughly review the merger's potential impact on competition before granting approval.

Antitrust scrutiny is a rigorous process that involves assessing the merger's potential effects on market competition. The DOJ examines various factors, including market concentration, pricing dynamics, and potential barriers to entry for new competitors. Any concerns raised during this review could prompt further investigation or even legal action to block the merger.

Challenges Ahead & Market Impact

Despite the airlines' optimism about the merger's benefits, challenges lie ahead in navigating the antitrust review process. Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines must demonstrate that their merger will not unduly restrict competition or harm consumers. This may require divesting certain assets or making other concessions to address antitrust concerns.

The outcome of the DOJ's review will have significant implications for the airline industry and consumers. A successful merger could create a stronger competitor capable of offering expanded routes and services. However, if the merger raises substantial antitrust concerns, it could be blocked or subject to stringent conditions that limit its impact on the market.


As Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines move forward with their merger plans, the scrutiny of antitrust authorities looms large. The timing agreement with the Department of Justice underscores the complexity of the regulatory process and the need to address any concerns about competition and consumer welfare. Ultimately, the fate of the merger will depend on whether it can withstand the rigorous antitrust scrutiny and emerge as a boon for both airlines and passengers alike.

With Inputs from Reuters