Despite being the third largest civil aviation market in the world, India lacks trained personnel to manage airports. Perhaps both manpower and technology need an upgrade.
India’s aviation security regulator – Bureau of Civil Aviation Security – has been deploying new-age security systems at airports across the country, including 3D perimeter security equipment, biometric-based access control and surveillance systems. “We are creating a dedicated special force for aviation security and a program for pre-verification of passengers for faster processing,” said Zulfiquar Hasan, director general of the regulator. Speaking at a webinar on ‘Aviation Security Trends and Insights: A Focus on India’ organized by International Air Transport Association, Hasan highlighted the success of DigiYatra, which allows biometric boarding using facial recognition technology to establish the flier’s identity. First launched in December 2022, the facility is now available at Delhi, Varanasi and Bengaluru airports, with the most recent one introduced at Kolkata airport. For Indian airlines, aviation overview, terrorism and travel warnings are key considerations to strategize on aviation security, the global airlines body said. It cited a transparent risk-based oversight and security management system as essential to ensuring that measures are being applied where vulnerability is assessed to be at its greatest point. “Given new-age emerging threats like cyber hijacking and drones, security and infrastructure at airports need to be modernized,” added Hasan. He also called congestion a serious security challenge as it leads to an “increase in the density of unchecked passengers with unchecked luggage.” In December 2022, several passengers complained of unending queues at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, leading to many missing their flights. Hasan said that the issue is now being addressed at all major airports in the country. India has also been mulling a unified security force for all its airports akin to the Transportation Security Administration of the U.S., which will combine immigration and customs.
Radisson Hotel Group has introduced its latest campaign ‘Skip to Rewards,’ showcasing the new benefits members can access as part of the recently relaunched Radisson Rewards loyalty program. The campaign addresses the typical challenges customers face with traditional loyalty schemes while highlighting the unique features of the new program. Exclusive benefits include free nights, guaranteed best rates, fast track to the next status level, and complimentary room upgrades. The campaign leverages the ‘Skip Ad’ button to illustrate how members can skip the lines to tap quickly into the range of benefits which Radisson Rewards now offers, making their experience more convenient and rewarding with each stay at a Radisson Hotel Group property.
To promote adventure tourism, Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board has introduced a new hub for white-water rafting in Harsil Valley, located on the banks of river Bhagirathi near Uttarkashi. The north Indian state’s tourism development agency has identified three new river rafting destinations, including the stretch between Jangla and Jhala bridges on Bhagirathi. To ensure the safety of all participants in river rafting activities, the agency has implemented mandatory registration of companies, including the presence of knowledgeable guides, trainee guides, rescue kayaks and essential rafting gear. Earlier in April the Indian tourism minister highlighted how India must focus on infrastructure development. However, quality standards, regulation and oversight would be needed for the country to become a leading adventure tourism destination.
India’s Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has urged domestic airlines to help set up an international civil aviation hub in the country and emphasized the need for having more widebody planes for point-to-point international services. “Margins are slim, revenues are slim but airlines are comfortable competing on the domestic side because volatility is low. The minute you go to the international side, the revenues are high… but the volatility is much greater,” he said. Scindia pleaded to the airlines to take risk and face volatility because “India’s flag has to fly in the international airspace.” The ministry is already working with Delhi Airport as well as Tata Group-owned Air India and low-cost carrier IndiGo to make the airport an international civil aviation hub.
Kanpur in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is all set to open a new terminal building at the city’s airport today. The building is built in an area of 6,243 square meters (16 times bigger than the existing terminal) at a cost of $18 million, a statement from the civil aviation ministry said, adding it is equipped to handle 400 passengers during peak hours compared to 50 earlier. There are eight check-in counters, three conveyor belts and a concessionaire area covering 850 square meters, the statement said. The building is also equipped with sustainability features like a double insulated roofing system, provision of canopies for energy saving, LED lighting, rainwater harvesting, among others. Currently, Kanpur airport is directly connected to Mumbai and Bengaluru.
Marriott Bonvoy’s The Westin Resort & Spa, Himalayas in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand has partnered with The Plus Initiative — a joint project between The Job Plus, a tech start-up for skilling and Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council, a sector skill council under the Indian government’s National Skill Development Corporation — to empower the state’s youth and create a skilled workforce for the hospitality industry. Under the three-month program, individuals are recruited and trained as per the standard operating procedures of the hotel they will eventually join. Candidates are trained on skill sets such as culinary arts, food and beverage, front office and housekeeping. Currently, 30 students are working with the hotel after the completion of the program.
The Ministry of Tourism’s India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has registered its best ever financial performance during the financial year 2022-23. Its total turnover for the year stood at $57.5 million, representing a substantial increase of over 56 percent compared to the previous year. The profit before tax for the year reached $10.4 million, a jump of 983 percent in comparison to the previous year. Its Ashok Hotel has achieved the highest ever turnover of $24 million and profit of $6 million during the financial year 2022-23, further highlighting the exceptional performance of ITDC. All the business verticals at ITDC have also shown an improved performance during the year.
Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels has announced the signing of a 57-room Zone Connect Saket, New Delhi in the national capital. The hotel is located just 12.4 miles away from the airport and 10 miles from New Delhi Railway Station. Zone Connect, a part of the Zone by The Park brand, has three operational hotels in Coimbatore and Goa and is expanding its portfolio with upcoming hotels in New Delhi, Patna, Alibaug, Darjeeling and Manali — all set to open in the coming months. In April, the company signed an 80-key Zone by The Park Kasauli in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, scheduled to be operational by mid-2025.
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