The government today said it would take into consideration suggestions and views received from time to time before deciding on the contours of Air India disinvestment. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the Lok Sabha that IndiGo has submitted an expression of interest with respect to disinvestment of Air India. "Suggestions and views are received from time to time, including the articles published in media, regarding disinvestment of Air India. These would be kept in mind while arriving at the final decision regarding contours of the disinvestment," Sinha said in a written reply. On June 28, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval for considering strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries. An Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) has been constituted to guide the process on the strategic disinvestment and its meeting is "yet to commence", Sinha said. Noting that IndiGo has submitted an expression of interest, the minister said the "disinvestment of any CPSE (Central Public Sector Enterprise) is done in accordance with the laid down procedure and no response needs to be communicated at this stage to IndiGo". While replying to questions from various members on Air India disinvestment, Sinha said the airline has been facing losses for the past many years not only on account of merger with Indian Airlines but also due to multitude of other factors. These include high fuel prices, interest burden, debt- equity ratio, airport user charges and increasing competition, especially from low-cost carriers, he added. Citing per provisional estimates, the minister said Air India is expected to post a net loss of Rs 3,643 crore in 2016-17 period. At the end of March this year, the airline's total debt stood at Rs 48,876.81 crore as per provisional figures, he noted. According to Sinha, in comparison to the total insurance premium paid, the premium paid on grounded aircraft by Air India is negligible and is reducing year by year. "Also, in the case of grounded aircraft, Air India is required to pay only 30 per cent of the flying premium rate," he added.
Bajaj Auto on Thursday reported 19.51 per cent decline in consolidated net profit to Rs 836.79 crore for the June quarter of current fiscal, on account of lower sales. It had posted net profit of Rs 1,039.70 crore in the April-June quarter of last fiscal. Bajaj Auto said in a BSE filing that its total income from operations during the quarter under review stood at Rs 6,177.66 crore as against Rs 6,355.84 crore in the April-June quarter of 2016-17. The domestic industry, it said, was impacted during the June quarter of 2017-18 due to changeover from BS-III to BS-IV vehicles and transition to the new Goods and Services Tax. Total vehicles sales during the quarter declined 10.68 per cent to 8,88,434 units as against 9,94,733 units in the corresponding period of last fiscal. The company said its total exports, however, went up by 10.48 per cent to 4,09,525 units as against 3,70,649 units in the same quarter last fiscal. With regard to GST, Bajaj Auto said: "For dealers holding stocks as on June 30, estimated loss per motorcycle was around Rs 1,400 as CST, auto cess, entry tax in certain states and LBT would not be eligible for set-off under rules for transition to GST." The company said it provided for Rs 32 crore towards compensation to the dealers for transition to GST. Competition continued to build stocks at the dealerships and hence in June, performance measured on wholesale numbers was negative for the company and reflected a lower market share, it added. Shares of Bajaj Auto were trading 0.38 per cent down at Rs 2,814.15 on BSE in the afternoon.
Delhi has been losing Rs 60,000 crore annually due to increasing congestion, pollution in the city and this could go up to Rs 98,000 crore by 2030 if immediate steps are not taken to address the situation, says a report released by cab aggregator Uber on Wednesday. The report, which was released by the company to mark the launch of its 'Decongest India' campaign in Delhi, also says that the average time spent on the roads in Delhi has doubled over the last six years, as the speed of traffic has gone down by half. "As of 2016, people living in Delhi spent 3.43 hours on the road for a distance of 40 km, in comparison to 1.36 hours in 2011," the report adds. Uber's campaign, 'Decongest India', is a nationwide effort to identify and curb causes of congestion, starting with New Delhi. As a part of this campaign the company will be focusing on driving data-backed conversations on solving congestion across Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore in the coming days. The campaign's inaugural leg in New Delhi was announced in the presence of Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister, Delhi and Manoj Tiwari, MP, North East Delhi with the launch of the report "Moving Delhi Forward: The Case for Decongestion" "With the launch of Decongest India, we are hoping to draw the attention of policymakers on how cars can be part of the solution - rather than the problem. The first leg of the campaign is focused on Delhi, clearly one of the most polluted and congested cities," said Uber's Head of Public Policy for Uber India & South Asia Shweta Rajpal Kohli. The company informed that through targeted conversations and data sharing with relevant stakeholders across government, media and civil society, 'Decongest India' aims to draw attention to incentivising car pooling, reducing dependency on parking, developing credible, affordable alternatives to private car ownership and complementing public transport by providing affordable and reliable mobility options that help cover the last mile. The company also revealed some interesting data points related to its ride-sharing service UberPOOL. Here are some of them.
- More than 30 per cent of total trips in Delhi are POOL trips.
- Over time, UberPOOL riders in Delhi have contributed to save over 19 million kilometres driven, which equals to saving of 936 kilo-litres of fuel and cut over 22 lakh kgs of CO2 emissions.
Air India is drawing up a proposal to offer voluntary buyouts to just over a third of its 40,000 employees, two government officials said, in what would be one of the largest such offers in India's state sector, as the airline slashes costs ahead of a 2018 sale. The state-owned airline has also put fleet expansion on hold, scrapping a proposal to lease eight Boeing 787 wide-body aircraft, said one of the officials, a senior Air India employee who requested anonymity as the plans are not public. Air India's board approved that proposal in April but nothing further had been done. "Nothing has been finalised but our aim is to make the strategic sale as simple as we can," the company official said, adding that any fresh investment would also be put on hold. Air India spokesman Dhananjay Kumar said the company had not offered employees voluntary buyouts. India's flag carrier is on the block after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet last month approved plans to privatize the loss-making airline by selling part or all of the company and ending decades of state support. Founded in the 1930s and known to generations of Indians for its Maharajah mascot, Air India has a complex fleet, too many staff relative to rivals and $8.5 billion in debt. Since 2012, New Delhi has injected $3.6 billion to keep it afloat. An official in Modi's office said the prime minister, under pressure to cut spending and boost basic infrastructure such as ports and roads, was in "no mood" to provide fresh monetary assistance to any loss-making public sector company. The two government sources, who are familiar with Air India's plans, said top officials in the civil aviation ministry and at Air India had been asked to present a report on how a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) could be offered to some 15,000 of Air India's 40,000 staff, including contractors. Many of the contractors, including office staff and ground handlers, have worked for the airline for years, and would need to be given buyout offers to prevent protests from them, said the senior company official, who is involved in the airline's daily operations. Previous attempts to offload the airline have failed mainly because of the scale and complexity of Air India's problems, as well as its influential unions. If Modi can pull the privatization off it will buttress his credentials as a reformer brave enough to wade into some of the country's most intractable problems. Separately on Tuesday, Air India Chairman Ashwani Lohani sent a letter to employees assuring them the government and the airline management "would like to safeguard your genuine and valid interests", according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters. Kumar, the company spokesman, confirmed the letter. The government will need to convince seven trade unions to accept the plan to make the airline attractive to potential buyers, including buyouts and other efforts to slash costs. Their initial response was not positive. "The government will propose a VRS scheme and we will throw their proposal in the dustbin," said J.B. Kadian, leader of a union that represents 8,000 non-technical Air India staff. Kadian said a joint forum of unions representing Air India employees would launch an "agitation" in August if the government pursues its privatization plans. On Tuesday, dozens of members of the Air Corporations Employees' Union gathered near Delhi airport holding placards and shouting slogans opposing the privatization and demanding the airline's debt be written off, marking the first protest against the government's plan. A committee of five senior federal ministers, led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is expected to meet this month and begin ironing out the finer details of the privatization plan. In the meantime, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said he wanted Air India to begin cutting at all levels. Earlier this month, the airline decided to stop serving non-vegetarian meals in economy class on domestic flights in a bid to save up to 100 million rupees ($1.6 million) over 10 months. The action provoked uproar on social media and was belittled by aviation experts, who argue that Air India's management needs a massive structural overhaul, tackling thornier issues such as its fleet and staff, rather than meals. The airline is also working to reduce the time its planes spend on the ground and launching direct flights to new international destinations. In July, Air India started a direct flight to Washington and will start flying to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Los Angeles later this year. "Keeping planes in the hangar makes no sense when Air India is trying to find new sources of income. We should optimize the use of all possible resources," Raju said. "The idea is to present a robust company to potential buyers."
Launch Update: Dealers have started accepting bookings for Verna 2017 which is to be launched next month
Hyundai, the South Korean automobile giant will launch its much awaited 2017 Verna next month. Although, Hyundai has not officially started accepted booking, a few dealers have started accepting bookings for the new car. While the unofficial booking amount is just Rs 25,000, the dealers currently have no clue about the pricing or the different variants of the car. The Hyundai Verna was the first 'Fluidic' model that was introduced in India. The new car will be based on the same Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design. In styling, the new car has more similarities to Hyundai's Elantra and it will be fully loaded with technology. The Fluidic design that the Verna first introduced is still present. Hyundai Verna will compete with the brands like Honda City and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. Verna 2017 is expected to have the current engine options - 1.4-litre petrol, 1.6-litre petrol, 1.4-litre U2 CRDi diesel and 1.6-litre CRDi diesel. Hyundai has also released a teaser image of the new 2017 Verna's interior.
Volkswagen in 2016, launched the Polo GTI in India at a price of Rs 25.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). However, the delearships have now reduced its price by Rs 6 lakh. A report in the Financial Express confirming the news, stated that the prices of the Polo GTI have been reduced, making it available for Rs 19.99 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi. Last year, Volkswagen launched its GTI badge to India with the Polo. The GTI came with a 1.8-litre TSI engine that made 189bhp of peak power and 250Nm of peak torque. India got a single gearbox with a 7-speed DSG with the new Polo. There were small design cues that differentiate it from its plebian GT variants. A new set of LED headlamps, a new honeycomb GTI grille with red accents and a different set of bumpers was what the new GTI got. The GTI also got an integrated spoiler, 17-inch wheels and a dual tip exhaust setup. Inside the cabin, the car featured a different racer-like, flat-bottom steering wheel. The car was being produced and assembled in Germany and hence came with a hefty price-tag of Rs 25.65 lakhs (ex-showroom, Thane). Recently, Volkswagen revealed the sixth generation of Polo in Berlin and it will make its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor show, reported Team
Swedish auto major Volvo launched V90 Cross Country in India on Wednesday. Available in single trim option, the estate wagon has been priced at Rs 60 lakh (ex-showroom). The car has been positioned between the existing S90 and the XC90 models and follows the signature Volvo design concept. It is based on the same SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform that is shared across the 90 series cars. However, new 20-inch wheels provide it with 60mm larger ground clearance as compared to the standard S90. Tom von Bonsdorff, managing director of Volvo India, told Timesofindia.com at the launch that he believes it is this highlight that will enable the car to take on SUVs. "We are creating a new segment and are sure people looking for a perfect blend of office drive and adventure touring will fancy," he said. "The V90 Cross Country stands tall to help it tackle rough terrain as well as it can move on smooth city and highway conditions." He also added that there are enough safety and power options to keep the enthusiasts interested. The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country is powered by a new D5 engine that is a 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel motor. Retaining the same eight-speed automatic gearbox from the older D4 mill, the new motor churns out 235PS and 480Nm of torque.
Posted by samantha on 10 July
National carrier Air India will only serve vegetarian meals to passengers on flights lasting up to 90 minutes, according to a report in The Hindu. The airline’s move is aimed at cutting costs and avoiding a mix-up of meals. “We have decided to serve vegetarian meals in our economy-class seats on domestic flights,” said Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani in the report. The airline will continue to serve non-vegetarian meals in its business class and executive class seats on all domestic and international flights. It will also continue to give vegetarian and non-vegetarian meal options to economy fliers on flights of over 90-minute duration. The airline has changed meal options for economy class fliers earlier as well. Last year, it took tea and coffee off the menu and decided to serve only hot vegetarian meals in flights from 61-90 minutes. The flights with shorter durations served vegetarian refreshments and sandwiches (vegetarian and non-vegetarian). The non-vegetarian option has been retracted now. The flight has had past incidents of mixing up meals leading to unpleasant situations. In a Shanghai-Delhi-Mumbai flight of the airline, a few vegetarian passengers were served non-vegetarian food. Another point to note is that many passengers choose to select meal options on flight, which, the airline says, leads to a lot of wastage of non-vegetarian meals and hence monetary loss. A senior Air India official told indianexpress.com: “The move was decided early December last year. However, the consensus for the implementation was reached recently.” The airline is in a debt of over Rs 50,000 crore and has been marred with years of inefficient handling of finances and acquisition/merger decisions. The airline expects to save around Rs 6-7 crore annually with the move but it appears to be part of a larger plan to manage finances efficiently. “The amount of debt that Air India has on itself, it is important to remove inefficiencies in each mode of operation. Though this will not do much to reduce the debt on the airline, we are trying to handle each operation individually and save as much as possible,” the official said. The estimated spending on catering last year was around Rs 400 crore. “If we save even 2 per cent of the cost just from cutting wastage, I think it is good.”
Posted by samantha on 07 July
Under the GST or Goods and Services Tax regime that is due to roll out from July 1, economy class air travel is set to become cheaper. The tax slab for economy air travel has been fixed at 5 per cent against the existing 6 per cent. Low cost airline IndiGo is the latest addition to the list of air carriers offering attractive air fares this season. It has now dropped fares as part of a promotional offer on select flights and is selling all-inclusive tickets from Rs. 777. IndiGo's offer closes on Friday and is applicable for travel between 21 July 2017 and 20 September 2017. However, the airline did not disclose the number of seats available under the promotional offer and said that seats are subject to availability, adding that it is valid on bookings made 15 days prior to travel. As is the norm in case of most promotional offers by airlines, the lowest fare of Rs 777 offer is applicable on relatively shorter routes like Jammu-Srinagar. IndiGo on its website said that the promotional offer is valid only on select non-stop flights from Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jammu, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Port Blair, Pune and Srinagar. Ahmedabad-Delhi (Rs. 1881), Bhubaneswar-Delhi (Rs. 2600), Delhi-Bengaluru (Rs. 2,599), Delhi-Goa (Rs. 2,848), Delhi-Guwahati (Rs. 2,899) and Delhi-Mumbai (Rs. 1,999) are some of the other routes which come under the promotional sale. The website showed tickets available on Delhi-Mumbai route available for Rs. 1,999 for journey later this month.
Indian skies have been locked in a pitched fare battle for the last couple of years as airlines try to woo customers with discounted fares on a regular basis. Analysts believe the stiff competition among airlines amid robust growth in the number of passengers is leading to lower fares. Domestic air passenger traffic rose 15.15 per cent to 91.34 lakh in April, according to data from aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
However, business class tickets are expected to become more expensive it's been put under the tax bracket of 12 per cent compared to the existing nine per cent.
Posted by RP
Chennai: US auto major Ford on Tuesday announced the setting up of its new research and development centre at a cost of Rs 1,300 crore. Ford's Executive Chairman Bill Ford made an official announcement regarding the investment plan in Chennai. The automaker will invest $195 million (around Rs 1300 crore) and hire 3,000 skilled people for the new centre over the next 5 years. It will serve as a hub for product development, mobility solutions and business services in India and other markets across the world. Ford will also consolidate 9000 employees from its six existing facilities, spread over a campus area of 28 acres, in Chennai.