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Airfares soar over 100% as airlines cancel flights

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New Delhi: Air passengers face the grim prospects of high air fares and fewer flight choices as several airlines cancel operations due to a number of reasons including the grounding of 737-MAX aircraft.

According to industry insiders, some sectors have shown a rise of more than 100 per cent in last minute bookings.

“With an unprecedented number of planes now grounded due to various factors, reduction in seat capacity has led to an increase in fares overnight. Last minute airfares on Wednesday increased to more than 100 per cent on some key routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Mumbai-Kolkata and Mumbai-Bengaluru as compared to same time last year,” said Aloke Bajapi, CEO and Co-founder, ixigo.

 

“Spot fares for Mumbai-Chennai are touching Rs 26,073 as opposed to Rs 5,369 the same time last year. High airfare patterns are expected to continue in the short term with Holi and summer school holidays round the corner, resulting in an increased demand.” Operations of airlines like SpiceJet and Jet Airways have been hit due to the government’s Wednesday decision to join a global grounding of 737-MAX aircraft following a crash in Ethiopia.

In India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate 17 Boeing 737-800 MAX aircraft – Spice (12) and Jet (5). A part of Jet fleet has already been grounded due to other reasons.

The grounding led SpiceJet to cancel 14 flights on Wednesday. This number is expected to touch 32 on Thursday.

Apart from SpiceJet, Jet Airways, which faces financial challenges, has already grounded four more aircraft over non-repayment of dues to lessors, taking the total to 32.
The company in BSE filings has said that its 19 aircraft were grounded in February over non-repayment of dues to lessors, while 13 aircraft were grounded this month, taking the total to 32. The Jet Airways Group operates a fle et of 123 aircraft.

However, around 50 planes are said to be non-operational due to a host of reasons, including lack of spare parts.

IndiGo faces massive turbulence of pilot shortage, leading to truncated flight schedule. Earlier, the airline said that 30 of its flights which have been affected represent only 2 per cent of its network. It has decided to curtail its schedule till March 31, by about 30 flights a day.

“As a proactive measure, IndiGo has decided to continue its curtailment until the end of March. This measure has already been implemented and passengers informed,” the airline said in a statement.

“These medium term cancellations have been made to minimise the impact on passengers as alternative travel options have been offered well in advance. The operations will be normalised by the start of the summer schedule.” For some time now, Air India has grounded 17 aircraft due to technical reasons.

The government had advised domestic airlines not to go in for predatory air fare pricing as several 737-MAX aircraft were grounded due to safety reasons.

Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said: “We have advised the airlines… that they should not use it (grounding) as a reason to jack up their fares.”

“They have promised they will go as per normal routine. DGCA has just said that it will be monitoring all the sectors very closely.”


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Business

India second most optimistic globally about executive job market in 2019: Survey

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Mumbai: Senior management leaders in India are optimistic about growth of executive jobs in 2019, only second to Brazil. According to the 2019 BlueSteps Executive Career Outlook report, nearly 57 percent of India’s senior executives believe that there will be stellar growth in job market opportunities as compared with 2018 levels.

In Brazil, 72 percent leaders are positive of growth. India is followed by Africa at 54 percent and France at 40 percent. The results are based on a survey of over 1,400 senior executives worldwide.

Globally, optimism levels for executives about senior management jobs market dropped considerably as against their strong outlook at the beginning of 2018. “This indicates that while the decrease in optimism does reflect an overall concern in the marketplace, the change may be more of a reflection of how strong last year’s market was instead,” the report said.

 

Nearly a third of the respondents cite strong economic growth and business environment as a reason for their optimism. India topped the list with respect to economy forecast for 2019, where 57 percent respondents believed in the pace of the country’s growth.

Brazil trailed with 56 percent leaders expecting growth. Leaders of the eastern European countries, the UK and Ireland were pessimistic about their economy.

The technology sector is expected to have the strongest growth at the executive level in 2019, with 70 percent of all survey respondents believing there will be robust growth in the industry.

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Traders’ body slams Rahul’s statement on abolishing GST

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New Delhi: Traders’ body CAIT criticised Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s statement of abolishing GST if voted to power, saying he does not have a blueprint of any alternative tax structure.

The attempt of Gandhi for seeking political mileage making traders a scapegoat is deeply regretted and vehemently opposed by CAIT, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.

He said Rahul Gandhi should not do any politics using shoulders of the traders else traders are capable to give a fitting reply in forthcoming elections.

 

CAIT secretary general said Gandhi is opposing the GST “whereas he does not have a blueprint of any alternate tax structure”.

Khandelwal demanded Gandhi should speak out the plans and programmes thought by the Congress party for traders and added that there must be a blueprint of alternative tax structure before abolishing GST.

While addressing a traders’ conference in New Delhi, he said the Congress has ruled the country for a long time and in such a long tenure, the trading community was never on a priority of the government or for the Congress party.

In reference to forthcoming elections, Khandelwal claimed almost 7 crore traders across the country have now converted into a vote bank due to a two-month national campaign of the CAIT under the slogan “One Nation-One Trader-Ten Votes”.

The CAIT would shortly release a National Charter of Traders carrying core issues of the trading community and whoever political party gives a logical road map of solutions, the traders will vote for that party as one unit across the country, Khandelwal said.

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NSE eyes 350-375 tonnes of domestically refined gold market for derivatives

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Mumbai: With over 350-375 tonnes of the domestically refined gold market still away from the organised trading platforms in India, the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) has decided to accept it as good delivery on its derivatives platform. So far, only London Bullion Market Association recognised bullion is accepted as good delivery on the exchange platform.

NSE has initiated a move to decide India good delivery norms for gold including sourcing norms for gold refined and unrefined (dore). The process of finalizing new norms and implementing is expected to take two months.

These are significant as in last few years Indian bullion refineries’ business has increased and in 2018 domestically refined gold contributed from dore and recycled gold to half (350-375 tonnes) of the domestic gold demand. However, on gold futures exchanges this gold cannot be delivered. This means domestic refineries have limited access to hedge their future production on exchange platform as they can’t deliver gold the refine on exchange platform.

 

India’s domestic physical gold demand is 600 tonnes for jewellery and 160-175 tonnes of investment demand, according to the World Gold Council 2018 data. 275 tonnes of gold was supplied by Indian gold refineries and 87 tonnes of gold was derived from scrap or recycled gold. Indian metal companies also derive gold from ores of other metals during the process of refining them. This was 8.6 tonnes. All these can now be deliverable on the futures market once India goods delivery norms are in place.

At present, only MMTC-Pamps refines gold, which is LBMA standard and eligible to be delivered on Indian exchanges.

NSE’s move will help this domestically refined gold deliverable on its futures exchange where gold is already traded. At present, MCX and BSE accept gold to be delivered in futures, which is as per LBMA good gold delivery standards. NSE spokesperson said that “we are developing India good delivery standards and they will be largely in sync with LBMA and BIS norms.” 20 plus Indian bullion refineries that are registered with Bureau of India Standards have applied to NSE and six have been approved. International agency Alex Stewart, which provides inspection and analytical laboratory services, is studying the processes of these refineries and giving their score.

Even a domestic laboratory is also looking at the same and expected to give its report on processes of refineries that it has studied.

Sourcing of dore or unrefined gold is a big controversy globally and there was always a question on mines which are producing it whether the mine is using the funds for illegitimate activities or not. Globally OECD has developed norms to avoid such gold and Indian industry has been working for the same. However, NSE spokesperson said that “the exchange’s India good delivery norms for gold will accommodate norms to verify legitimate sourcing of gold dore by Indian refineries.”

The sourcing norms will also include norms for sourcing domestic gold for recycling where the gold provider will have to give an undertaking that no money laundering etc involved for the gold he is giving for recycling.

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