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

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

The report said ‘price conscious’ Indian travellers do extensive research
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)
Updated on Mar 02, 2017 03:52 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Frequent fliers demand an airfare regulatory body

The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI), a body formed by frequent air travellers, said it has seen a spike complaints against surge pricing.
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)
Published on Feb 27, 2017 12:28 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

A new high: Only 25% domestic traffic in India from metros, rest from smaller cities, says study

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)
Updated on Feb 22, 2017 11:59 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

The cockpit crew was temporarily grounded following the incident which ostensibly happened after they tuned in an incorrect radio frequency.
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)
Updated on Feb 20, 2017 09:28 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

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.
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)
Updated on Feb 19, 2017 11:17 PM IST
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Mumbai | By

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

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
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)
Updated on Feb 19, 2017 07:12 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

DGCA bans ‘all kinds of photography’ by flight crew

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...
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)
Updated on Feb 19, 2017 07:12 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

A long and torturous flight ahead for the Navi Mumbai airport

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
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)
Updated on Feb 14, 2017 09:02 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Mumbai’s airport operator set to build Navi Mumbai airport

GVK-led MIAL outbids GMR; deal to be signed in a month after cabinet nod
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)
Updated on Feb 14, 2017 09:02 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByG Mohinuddin Jeddy and Soubhik Mitra, Mumbai

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

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...
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)
Updated on Feb 14, 2017 12:59 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Valentines’ Day: Couples drive hotel bookings, in advance

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.
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)
Updated on May 01, 2017 05:49 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

The flier was offloaded and taken to the police station.
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)
Updated on Feb 11, 2017 01:38 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Senior Air India pilot banned from flying after skipping alcohol test

India’s aviation safety regulator benched Air India’s executive director (flight operations) for allegedly skipping mandatory breathe checks.
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)
Updated on Feb 10, 2017 01:54 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Air India pilot accused of evading breath checks to face panel

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.
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)
Updated on Feb 09, 2017 08:58 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

A senior Air India (AI) pilot has been evading pre-flight breath checks, a pilots’ union told Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
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)
Updated on Jan 31, 2017 10:13 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

Both officers did not wish to comment on the matter as it was still pending with the tribunal.
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)
Published on Jan 30, 2017 11:21 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

DGCA asks pilots to cooperate with ATC to avoid unstable landings

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
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)
Published on Jan 26, 2017 12:12 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

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
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)
Updated on Jan 24, 2017 06:30 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

While the airline said take-off was cancelled owing to a ‘technical snag’, some passengers said they saw sparks coming from the engine.
Airfield sources said they noticed sparks from the engine exhaust.(Reuters)
Airfield sources said they noticed sparks from the engine exhaust.(Reuters)
Updated on Jan 23, 2017 03:04 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Local tours hold holidayers back for Republic Day weekend

A small but significant section of holiday bookings for the upcoming long weekend comprises such close-to-home experiences, said travel operators.
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)
Updated on Jan 24, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

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
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)
Updated on Jan 20, 2017 10:08 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Service tax hike hits the holiday planner

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
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)
Updated on Jan 19, 2017 09:20 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Mumbai remains most unpunctual private-run airport

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.
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)
Updated on Jan 18, 2017 09:47 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Stranded fliers hit record high in December

Flight cancellations and cases of passengers denied boarding were also the highest, the data added.
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)
Published on Jan 18, 2017 12:38 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Mumbaiites make travel plans for Republic Day weekend

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
Itineraries high on adventure also saw significant bookings.(HT)
Itineraries high on adventure also saw significant bookings.(HT)
Updated on Jan 16, 2017 09:20 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

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.
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)
Published on Jan 14, 2017 12:34 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

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
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)
Updated on Jan 12, 2017 03:23 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

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.
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)
Updated on Jan 11, 2017 12:25 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Snowfall in Istanbul leaves fliers stranded in Mumbai

Thousands were stranded in different parts of the world after heavy snowfall in Turkey, particularly Istanbul, froze air traffic over the past four days
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)
Updated on Jan 11, 2017 09:18 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

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

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.
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)
Updated on Jan 10, 2017 11:24 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai
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