The Indian Aviation Crisis

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Indian Aviation in Crisis

It’s the irony of Indian aviation that despite a market growing at 18 per cent for last 11 months, five out of six Indian airlines are bleeding. If Air India was in the news for the last few months over the CAG report, aircraft purchases, and merger issues, Kingfisher Airlines has been in the focus in the last few days for flight cancellations, cash shortages, and survival fears.

Kingfisher hoped that the press interaction on November 15th would clear much of the negative air. The airline listed out a few options in its kitty to tide over the turbulent times. But the statement that the airline was “in discussions with a strategic Indian investor,” was perhaps, the most attractive of all solutions provided by the airline. After all, such an investor will certainly help the airline tide over its additional working capital need of Rs 800 crore and also address the issue of its nearly Rs 7,500 crore worth of debts.

Kingfisher’s chairman Vijay Mallya told Business Today that the strategic investor could put in upwards of Rs 1,000 crore in the airline. He also said that the airline has applied for working capital loans from banks worth Rs 600 crore. This will certainly provide the airline the much needed fresh lease of life. At least till the aircraft reconfiguration and route rationalisation measures start showing results.

But Kingfisher’s pains are mirrored -in a lesser extent- in the operations of its peers as well. All the three listed airline companies have shown a loss for the June to September period. High aviation fuel prices and depreciating rupee is where the blame has been assigned. Then there are policy issues, like high sales tax on aviation fuel and airlines having to fly unviable routes to develop connectivity in the country, that are adding to the hardship. Lastly, it’s the inability of Indian airlines to hike ticket prices that is hitting them the hardest.

Vijay Mallya, in his interaction with the press on November 15th, did admit that one way to fly Kingfisher out of the mess was to raise prices. But he also conceded that the airline had “got stuck” while trying to raise prices. Dinesh Keskar, India head for aircraft manufacturer Boeing, estimates that Indian carriers are under-cutting themselves by as much as Rs 1,000 on prime routes like Mumbai-Delhi.

It’s the way the market is structured that prevents any airline in India from raising prices. No airline owns a significant chunk of the market, which means that if one airline does try to hike fares and others don’t follow suit, its fliers will be easy business to its competitors. This means that no airline raises prices until it knows that others are likely to do the same.

So until one of them decided to turn bold, bank on its product and hike fares, airlines can merely hope for another consolidation -like how Jet Airways bought Air Sahara and Kingfisher Air Deccan and got some control over the market. Or they can hope for some relief in terms of economic conditions or policy changes.

Source
www.businesstoday.in

The Journey through The Sacred Land to Gangotri

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It was a special day, I had arrived from Jaipur to Delhi and was all set to depart for The Land of Gods and Goddesses, Uttarakhand. I was so excited in the train while travelling towards Delhi and couldn’t wait to start my journey. I reached Delhi and packed all my bags, took my camera, recharged all the batteries, emptied the memory cards and I was all set to leave. We left Delhi after lunch in our Scorpio Jeep driven by my father, who loves long drives especially in Himalayas, so I couldn’t even ask him for the wheel not even on the plain roads and spoil his ‘long drive‘. So I sat besides him and we departed from Delhi.

The Start of The Great Himalayas

Journey from Delhi to Haridwar was on NH-58 and that was our resting place, we spent a night there to begin our actual journey in the mountains as the plains end at Dehradun, in our original we had to take a road to Chamba but we took the road to Barkot, a longer route, we knew it’d take longer but we were excited to explore the other side too. There were beautiful waterfalls, bumpy broken roads, falling rocks, landslides, rubble over the roads. One can never cross these roads on a low rider vehicle. We had our Scorpio so it was an ease for us. Although we had to survive the jerks and vibrations which felt like as if my backbone rifted apart all together. We went past Dehradun and the Rajaji National Park stopped on the way to have some tea and breakfast. Went past Mussourie and The Kempti Falls, those are really beautiful falls but the natural beauty seems to be getting destroyed by the people. We didn’t stop for a second there and carried our journey further and got on to NH-123 and were heading towards Barkot.

On NH-123

On NH-123

Near Kempti Falls, Mussourie

Near Kempti Falls, Mussourie

The Alternate Route

This was a really tiring journey and we all were getting irritated as we had taken a long route due to which we reached about 5 hours late. But this tiring journey was full of Green Mountains, Valleys, Lovely River Banks, Waterfalls and hardly any cars on the road. We reached Barkot and gave second thoughts to continue our journey after seeing the direction board in the picture below which said Yamunotri to the left and Gangotri to the right. Stopped for few seconds and discussed about it, we chose Gangotri as it was planned as it was already late. All this time my mother was praying to the god that, we reach safely to the destination and back home, we both (me and papa) were getting irritated from that too but didn’t pay any minute attention towards that and she was so scared all the time that she was reminding papa to blow horn at every turn that we drove through.

The Barkot Bend

The Barkot Bend

The Last City: Uttarkashi

We were following River Bhagirathi all this time and were back on to NH-108 by entering into a tunnel which was built inside a mountain and lead directly to Uttarkashi, as the dark appeared slowly our average speed started declining. After Uttarkashi, there was no big city and we had to travel a long journey of about 75Kms to Harsil. After Uttarkashi, we were heading straight to Harsil, on the way we went past Maneri and the Maneri Dam Project which was built upon River Bhagirathi and the water was flowing out of the small gate at very high speed which was creating mist in the atmosphere and just stopped by to take some photographs, it was dark when we left Maneri. So with no further delay we moved on, the weather started to go down. I was just holding tightly to the handles and whatever I could hold onto to save myself from spinal pains.

Landscape along the River Bhagirathi

Landscape along the River Bhagirathi

River Bhagirahthi

River Bhagirathi

The Maneri Dam Project at Maneri, Uttarakhand

The Maneri Dam Project at Maneri, Uttarakhand

It was so dark, we could hardly see anything besides the road and the oncoming traffic whose frequency was like one car in 20 minutes. Those 75 Kms felt as if we were never going to reach Harsil that night. These 75 Kms on the plains seem just an hour drive but in the mountains it takes about 3-4 hours approximately on broken roads with rocks and pebbles all over. It was okay till now as the car stereo was playing nice music, the stereo mouth fell off due to the jerks and refused to join back as it broke off. After that it was a total silence in the car and still 50 Kms were left. I was just staring at the dark and the tiny lights on the mountains blinking all over the place, these were all small villages settled all over the mountains. This map helped us alot

The Route Map

Harsil

I was just watching the road and eventually we reached Harsil, our final destination for that day and we spent a night at nice cottages in The Harsil Retreat, owned by Mr Rajiv Mehta. We had dinner and went to sleep. It was really a tiring day but I didn’t felt anything by looking at the beauty of  The Great Himalayas.

Harsil Landscape

Harsil Landscape

Gangotri

Woke up early in the morning and had a bath with hot water, clicked photographs, had breakfast and departed for the sacred land Gangotri. The road from Harsil to Gangotri was plain with less landslides and rocks, it was clear at most places as it is maintained by the Army and Border Roads Organization. On the way to Gangotri, which was 25 Kms from Harsil and was a 1 hour drive, we saw the 10 rivers meeting into River Bhagirathi and a beautiful and is one of the deepest gorge in Asia and ‘one of its kind’ bridge which is built over this gorge. The vegetation was pine and deodar trees all over and we could see pine cones everywhere on the roads and the sideways. Finally we reached our final destination, Gangotri, The Origin of The Holy River Ganges

The Sacred Temple at Gangotri

The Sacred Temple at Gangotri

 

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anuj-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anuj is currently pursuing his Engineering Degree in Computer Sciences and has a keen interest in travelling to different places round the year. He also writes blogs and articles in many online blogs. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anujrajput) and Twitter (@AnujRajput)
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