Soubhik Mitra

Soubhik Mitra

Soubhik Mitra is an assistant editor with the Hindustan Times. The Mumbai boy has spent over a decade reporting on civic, environmental and political issues. His current stint is the longest where he writes on aviation and travel.

Articles by Soubhik Mitra
The report pointed out that better disposable incomes and several nearby countries offering visas on arrival have whetted Indians’ appetite for vacations.(HT File Photo)
The report pointed out that better disposable incomes and several nearby countries offering visas on arrival have whetted Indians’ appetite for vacations.(HT File Photo)

Flights, hotels, packaged holidays bought on the go likely to grow at a staggering rate: Study

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2017 03:52 PM IST
The report said ‘price conscious’ Indian travellers do extensive research
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At least two governments had promised capping airfares, particularly during holidays but failed.(Pic for Representation)
At least two governments had promised capping airfares, particularly during holidays but failed.(Pic for Representation)

Frequent fliers demand an airfare regulatory body

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2017 12:28 AM IST
The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI), a body formed by frequent air travellers, said it has seen a spike complaints against surge pricing.
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Metros and top tier-2 cities contribute mainly to traffic on top 15 domestic routes in metro cities namely Mumbai, Delhi, emerging tier-2 cities such as Pune and popular tourist hubs such as Goa, states the study.(HT file)
Metros and top tier-2 cities contribute mainly to traffic on top 15 domestic routes in metro cities namely Mumbai, Delhi, emerging tier-2 cities such as Pune and popular tourist hubs such as Goa, states the study.(HT file)
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The Jet crew is suspected to have tuned in to 132.980MHz while the correct frequency was 132.890MHz.(Ht file photo)
The Jet crew is suspected to have tuned in to 132.980MHz while the correct frequency was 132.890MHz.(Ht file photo)

Mid-air scare: German jets escort Mumbai-London flight after it lost contact with air traffic control

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 20, 2017 09:28 AM IST
The cockpit crew was temporarily grounded following the incident which ostensibly happened after they tuned in an incorrect radio frequency.
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The flight with 330 guests and 15 crew was escorted to London by fighter jets of the German Air Force.(REUTERS File/ Representational Photo)
The flight with 330 guests and 15 crew was escorted to London by fighter jets of the German Air Force.(REUTERS File/ Representational Photo)

German fighter planes escort Jet Airways flight after it loses contact with ATC

By Soubhik Mitra | Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 11:17 PM IST
A communication failure on board a Jet Airways aircraft while flying over German airspace gave a scare to at least 330 passengers as authorities scrambled fighter jets to intercept the London-bound plane which had taken off from Mumbai.
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The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) — that brought the lapse to light — accused the regulator of being lenient with Captain Kathpalia.(HT File Photo)
The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) — that brought the lapse to light — accused the regulator of being lenient with Captain Kathpalia.(HT File Photo)

Senior pilot barred from flying for 3 months for skipping breathalyser tests

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 07:12 PM IST
On Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued an order that found the senior pilot guilty of evading a pre-flight breathe check-up last month
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The order adds that while photography was already banned for pilots on airborne planes since 1997, now it is prohibited even when the aircraft is on ground. The rule also applies to fliers during boarding and after touchdown.(Shutterstock)
The order adds that while photography was already banned for pilots on airborne planes since 1997, now it is prohibited even when the aircraft is on ground. The rule also applies to fliers during boarding and after touchdown.(Shutterstock)

DGCA bans ‘all kinds of photography’ by flight crew

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 07:12 PM IST
On January 13, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) reinstated its October 2016 order banning all kinds of photography by flight crew on board an aircraft...
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Although the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has set a deadline to get the airport ready by May 2020, industry experts feel that the project is unlikely to have it smooth.(HT)
Although the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has set a deadline to get the airport ready by May 2020, industry experts feel that the project is unlikely to have it smooth.(HT)

A long and torturous flight ahead for the Navi Mumbai airport

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2017 09:02 AM IST
After its inception in 1997, it took a decade for Mumbai’s second airport near Panvel to reach the drawing board. It took another decade to find a builder
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On Monday, the GVK-led Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) won the bid to develop the Rs16,000-crore Navi Mumbai airport, beating the GMR Group, which operates the Delhi and Hyderabad airports.(Bachchan Kumar)
On Monday, the GVK-led Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) won the bid to develop the Rs16,000-crore Navi Mumbai airport, beating the GMR Group, which operates the Delhi and Hyderabad airports.(Bachchan Kumar)

Mumbai’s airport operator set to build Navi Mumbai airport

By G Mohinuddin Jeddy and Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2017 09:02 AM IST
GVK-led MIAL outbids GMR; deal to be signed in a month after cabinet nod
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Boliday bookings by couples celebrating Valentine’s Day seem to have added another long weekend to the calender.(PTI)
Boliday bookings by couples celebrating Valentine’s Day seem to have added another long weekend to the calender.(PTI)

Valentine’s Day: Couples chose unconventional destinations, drive hotel bookings

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2017 12:59 AM IST
According to travel operators, many working couples booked holidays between February 11 and 14 to celebrate the occasion and majority of the bookings were done in advance...
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A couple near the historic Taj Mahal on the eve of Valentine's Day in Agra.(PTI Photo)
A couple near the historic Taj Mahal on the eve of Valentine's Day in Agra.(PTI Photo)

Valentines’ Day: Couples drive hotel bookings, in advance

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 01, 2017 05:49 PM IST
According to travel operators many working couples booked holidays between February 11 and 14 to celebrate the occasion. And, majority of the bookings happened well in advance. Nearly one-third of the hotel bookings for that period on travel portal Cleartrip, happened last year; some of them as early as March.
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The inflated escape chutes are normally deployed by the crew during fire evacuations.(HT File Photo)
The inflated escape chutes are normally deployed by the crew during fire evacuations.(HT File Photo)

Scare at Mumbai airport: Indigo flier opens emergency door, co-passenger hurt

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 11, 2017 01:38 AM IST
The flier was offloaded and taken to the police station.
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On February 8, an internal email sent to Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani stated that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) wanted Captain Arvind Kathpalia grounded “with immediate effect”.(HT)
On February 8, an internal email sent to Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani stated that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) wanted Captain Arvind Kathpalia grounded “with immediate effect”.(HT)

Senior Air India pilot banned from flying after skipping alcohol test

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 10, 2017 01:54 PM IST
India’s aviation safety regulator benched Air India’s executive director (flight operations) for allegedly skipping mandatory breathe checks.
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The DGCA data stated that such safety lapses almost tripled from 69 cases in 2011 to 186 in 2015.(HT)
The DGCA data stated that such safety lapses almost tripled from 69 cases in 2011 to 186 in 2015.(HT)

Air India pilot accused of evading breath checks to face panel

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 09, 2017 08:58 PM IST
The committee was set up hours after an AI pilots’ union told India’s air safety regulator that an executive-rank pilot was skipping the check, which is mandatory before operating a flight.
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The DGCA data stated that such safety lapses almost tripled from 69 cases in 2011 to 186 in 2015.(Pic for Representation)
The DGCA data stated that such safety lapses almost tripled from 69 cases in 2011 to 186 in 2015.(Pic for Representation)

A senior AI pilot evading breath checks before flights, union tells DGCA

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 31, 2017 10:13 PM IST
A senior Air India (AI) pilot has been evading pre-flight breath checks, a pilots’ union told Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
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Both officials at Mumbai airport did not wish to comment on the matter as it was still pending with the tribunal.(HT Pic for Representation)
Both officials at Mumbai airport did not wish to comment on the matter as it was still pending with the tribunal.(HT Pic for Representation)

Two senior aviation security officials in Mumbai fight over transfer before tribunal

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2017 11:21 AM IST
Both officers did not wish to comment on the matter as it was still pending with the tribunal.
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The DGCA chief BS Bhullar, however, said the circular was not linked to any rise in unstable landings or mix-ups between pilots and ATC.(Pic for Representation)
The DGCA chief BS Bhullar, however, said the circular was not linked to any rise in unstable landings or mix-ups between pilots and ATC.(Pic for Representation)

DGCA asks pilots to cooperate with ATC to avoid unstable landings

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2017 12:12 AM IST
The DGCA chief BS Bhullar, however, said the circular was not linked to any rise in unstable landings or mix-ups between pilots and ATC
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On Monday, spot fares between metros and routes connecting metros with tourists hubs such as Goa had nearly doubled, showed the analysis conducted by travel operator, Cox and Kings Ltd.(HT)
On Monday, spot fares between metros and routes connecting metros with tourists hubs such as Goa had nearly doubled, showed the analysis conducted by travel operator, Cox and Kings Ltd.(HT)

Making last-minute travel plans for Republic Day weekend? Be ready to pay double the airfare

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2017 06:30 PM IST
On Monday, spot fares between metros and routes connecting metros with tourists hubs such as Goa had nearly doubled, showed the analysis conducted by travel operator, Cox and Kings Ltd
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Airfield sources said they noticed sparks from the engine exhaust.(Reuters)
Airfield sources said they noticed sparks from the engine exhaust.(Reuters)

Passengers claim they saw sparks from engine, Mumbai-Delhi flight aborted

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 23, 2017 03:04 PM IST
While the airline said take-off was cancelled owing to a ‘technical snag’, some passengers said they saw sparks coming from the engine.
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Travel portal, Cleartrip, for instance, recorded an 80% spike in bookings for local experiences in 2016.(HT)
Travel portal, Cleartrip, for instance, recorded an 80% spike in bookings for local experiences in 2016.(HT)

Local tours hold holidayers back for Republic Day weekend

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2017 04:28 PM IST
A small but significant section of holiday bookings for the upcoming long weekend comprises such close-to-home experiences, said travel operators.
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The survey sample accounted for just 5% business travel spends in India based on business travel bookings and expense reporting data of more than 100 corporates and some small businesses from consultancy firm KPMG’s database.(HT)
The survey sample accounted for just 5% business travel spends in India based on business travel bookings and expense reporting data of more than 100 corporates and some small businesses from consultancy firm KPMG’s database.(HT)

Indian business fliers’ bills touched US$29.6 billion in 2015: Report

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2017 10:08 AM IST
Currently at US$30 billion, collective work-induced travel bills are projected to more than triple to US$93 billion by 2030. The projections, however, did not take the recent demonetisation into account
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Operators added that while the amount appears small, it will compound when a family of four books packages.(HT)
Operators added that while the amount appears small, it will compound when a family of four books packages.(HT)

Service tax hike hits the holiday planner

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2017 09:20 AM IST
The revision in service tax that comes into effect from January 22 is small but families booking package tours are likely to feel the pinch, said travel operators
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The data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday showed that 45% flights taking-off and landing in the city airport were delayed.(HT)
The data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday showed that 45% flights taking-off and landing in the city airport were delayed.(HT)

Mumbai remains most unpunctual private-run airport

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2017 09:47 AM IST
Mumbai airport continued to be the most unpunctual among four private-run airports in December with more than 3,00,000 stranded (for more than two hours) travellers, the highest ever.
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Indian skies recorded 9.5 million fliers, up from 7.7 million in the same period last year, the data showed.(HT FILE)
Indian skies recorded 9.5 million fliers, up from 7.7 million in the same period last year, the data showed.(HT FILE)

Stranded fliers hit record high in December

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2017 12:38 AM IST
Flight cancellations and cases of passengers denied boarding were also the highest, the data added.
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Itineraries high on adventure also saw significant bookings.(HT)
Itineraries high on adventure also saw significant bookings.(HT)

Mumbaiites make travel plans for Republic Day weekend

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2017 09:20 AM IST
Travel operator Cox & Kings Ltd, for instance, saw up to a 25% rise in bookings, compared to the same period last year. In 2016, the public holiday fell on a Tuesday, when travel companies noticed a similar trend
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The Mumbai airport — India’s second busiest — had cancelled 2,100 flights during its last runway repair period. The closure may hurt leisure travellers as the period partially overlaps summer vacations.(HT file photo)
The Mumbai airport — India’s second busiest — had cancelled 2,100 flights during its last runway repair period. The closure may hurt leisure travellers as the period partially overlaps summer vacations.(HT file photo)

Longer wait at Mumbai airport as runway to be shut for 3 months

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2017 12:34 AM IST
From February 1, the airport operator will shut the main runway and repair its surface from 9am to 5pm. The main air strip handles around 800 take-offs and landings daily.
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Even as domestic carriers squabble over whose flights were mostly on time, flight movement data showed that fliers across airlines faced their worst delays at the Mumbai airport in December(HT FILE)
Even as domestic carriers squabble over whose flights were mostly on time, flight movement data showed that fliers across airlines faced their worst delays at the Mumbai airport in December(HT FILE)

45% of flights were not on time at Mumbai airport in December

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 12, 2017 03:23 PM IST
Even as domestic carriers squabble over whose flights were mostly on time, flight movement data showed that fliers across airlines faced their worst delays at the Mumbai airport in December
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The ongoing airlines’ tiff over who fared better on the clock entered the second round on Tuesday after senior officials met the aviation regulator with concerns and calculators.(HT FILE)
The ongoing airlines’ tiff over who fared better on the clock entered the second round on Tuesday after senior officials met the aviation regulator with concerns and calculators.(HT FILE)

On-time performances of flights: Senior officials meet aviation regulators

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 11, 2017 12:25 PM IST
The ongoing airlines’ tiff over who fared better on the clock entered the second round on Tuesday after senior officials met the aviation regulator with concerns and calculators.
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Thousands were stranded in different parts of the world after heavy snowfall in Turkey, particularly Istanbul, froze air traffic over the past four days(HT PIC FOR REPRESENTATION)
Thousands were stranded in different parts of the world after heavy snowfall in Turkey, particularly Istanbul, froze air traffic over the past four days(HT PIC FOR REPRESENTATION)

Snowfall in Istanbul leaves fliers stranded in Mumbai

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 11, 2017 09:18 AM IST
Thousands were stranded in different parts of the world after heavy snowfall in Turkey, particularly Istanbul, froze air traffic over the past four days
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The report by ixigo.com also stated that flight bookings between October and December accounted for one-third of the total booking volume in the year.(Representation pic)
The report by ixigo.com also stated that flight bookings between October and December accounted for one-third of the total booking volume in the year.(Representation pic)

9.5 million fliers travelled across India in Dec, the highest for 2016

By Soubhik Mitra | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 10, 2017 11:24 AM IST
Between January and November 2016, domestic airlines had catered to more than 90 million fliers up from 73.38 million during the same period in 2015.
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