Mitsubishi denies reports on SpaceJet development freeze

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is denying reports that it will stop development of the SpaceJet programme. The company says it is in the process of reviewing the programme schedule given the global aviation slowdown, and will make an announcement on its mid-term plans, including those regarding the SpaceJet, on October 30. 

Trans Maldivian Airways seaplane damaged in accident

A Trans Maldivian Airways De Havilland Canada Series 300 Twin Otter seaplane carrying 14 passengers and three crew members collided into a vessel off Medhufushi Island. The civil aviation authority, which confirmed the incident, says no one was injured although the aircraft wing was damaged. 

16 Philippine airports still closed

The Philippine Civil Aviation Authority says 16 airports in the country are still closed to commercial flights. It adds that 33 airports can or have resumed commercial airport operations under written orders from local governments, although some are subject to some degree of travel restriction. The national government has also allowed travel operators to resume operations at 50% capacity in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), and at 100% capacity for areas under modified GCQ.

SpiceJet to begin Twin Otter seaplane operations in India

A De Havilland Canada Series 300 Twin Otter leased from the Maldives’ national carrier Maldivian is arriving in Ahmedabad, Gujarat to begin seaplane operations for SpiceJet. Spicejet previously announced that the first seaplane flights from Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati seafront will be to the Statue of Unity, about 193km southeast of Ahmedabad. The service will be eight times daily and cost about INR4,800 (US$65), it added. 

The Airports Authority of India says the Sabarmati-Statue of Unity route is one of six subsidised seaplane routes that have been awarded under the third round of the UDAN scheme, which is aimed at promoting regional connectivity. 

Nepal’s Dashain festival sees last-minute bookings for air travel

Domestic airlines in Nepal are receiving few advance bookings for air travel during the end-October Dashain festival period over travelers’ fears of flying during the COVID-19 pandemic. In previous years, bookings for the Dashain period were made at least a month in advance, but now passengers are waiting till the day before to book tickets, say representatives from Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines. Dashain is the biggest festival in Nepal and celebrates the victory of good over evil in Hinduism. 

The lack of advance bookings comes at a time when Nepal’s airlines are strapped for cash, says Yeti Airlines spokesperson Sudarshan Bartaula. Airlines have already cut their fares since travel resumed in late September, and are unable to further reduce rates, he adds.