Asia Pacific airlines are “deeply concerned’’ about safety oversight in the region and want carriers facing bans because of inadequate national aviation regulatory systems to be given an opportunity to prove they are safe.The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, which represents a wide cross-section of the region’s airlines, used its assembly of presidents on Friday to reiterate its call on South-East Asia’s governments to respect the primacy of standards required by the UN-backed International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It urged governments to strongly support the “No Country Left Behind’’ campaign which aims to address differences in regulatory oversight between countries by helping laggards improve safety oversight implementation and compliance.AAPA expressed concern about authorities in foreign jurisdictions taking punitive action against airlines and holding them responsible for the shortcomings of regulatory authorities found to be deficient in audits.The issue arose in Indonesia were the country’s airlines were banned almost a decade ago from flying to the US and Europe because the national safety system failed to meet international standards and due to the nation’s poor record of air crashes. Europe scrapped its flight ban on the nation’s flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia, in 2009 after it passed a series of international audits. Yet it was not until this year, when the US Federal Aviation Administration upgraded its safety rating for Indonesia to Category 1, that Garuda was able to fly to the US. Category 1 means that the FAA has found the country complies with international standards.The Asia-Pacific airline group said any additional restrictions on airlines should be based on transparent criteria and strong evidence while considering their potential extra-territorial impact.“AAPA also re-iterates the call on governments to allow foreign air carriers the opportunity to demonstrate that their safety systems and performance follow accepted international standards before imposing sanctions or restrictions on them,” it said.Other areas of concern by member airlines, included government protectionism, security, the environment, taxation and health pandemics.AAPA said it remained “resolute’’ in its determination to confront barriers imposed by governments that continue to threaten short-term profitability and maximum long-term potential.The organisation also warned the travelling public was being burdened with a proliferation of government taxes and charges as well as imposts by monopoly services providers.Some of these were in contravention to ICAO policy, it said.“A number of airports and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) around the world have increased or are planning to increase user charges without proper consultation with stakeholders,’’ it said “ In addition, a number of governments have recently introduced or increased taxes on air travel including Australia’s Passenger Movement Charge and the UK Air Passenger Duty.’’The airlines called on government to adhere to ICAO polices and carefully consider “the overall economic effects of putting further financial strain on the travelling public and the aviation industry and to refrain from increasing the tax burden in any form’’.On security, AAPA called for the development of better risk-based aviation security and for government regimes to better co-operate to avoid duplication.It said government should promote the use of “available technologies’’ and dedicate enough resources to ensure inbound and outbound passenger processing works better.The organsiation also endorsed ICAO’s move to introduce a global carbon offset scheme next decade to help meet the industry’s CO2 emissions targets.“The Association goes further in urging governments in Asia to commit the necessary investment in aviation infrastructure to keep pace with growth in demand to ensure improvements in operational efficiencies and reduction in environmental impact,’’ it said.Members of AAPA include Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways International, Korean Air, China Airlines, Asiana and Malaysia Airlines.
11 July 2013South African Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, saying he was “extremely disturbed” by further delays to the completion of Eskom’s Medupi coal-fired power station, has brought in independent consultants to get the state company’s build programme running efficiently.Speaking at the release of Eskom’s annual results in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Gigaba said the government had prioritised South Africa’s infrastructure programme as the key driver of job creation, skills development and the industrialisation of the economy.“The importance of delivering on capacity expansion projects to increase overall Eskom generating capacity cannot be understated. I’m extremely disturbed by these further delays being experienced.”Consultants’ brief ‘broader than Medupi’Gigaba said the Department of Public Enterprises had commissioned independent consultants to look at Eskom’s project management capabilities and assess the risks and cost escalations of the state company’s build programme.The scope of the consultants’ task was “broader than Medupi,” encompassing Eskom’s entire build programme, he said.The results of their study, expected in two months’ time, would help Eskom and the government to craft a way forward, Gigaba said, adding that the revised date for Medupi’s first power delivery “puts pressure” on South Africa’s already constrained electricity supply.Eskom announced on Monday that the first unit of the Medupi station was unlikely to deliver first power by the December 2013 delivery date, but was only likely to do so in the second half of 2014, due to technical as well as labour issues.Govt, Eskom to meet with contractorsMedupi, one of the two large coal-fired stations that Eskom is building, is a 4 764 MW coal-fired power station located near Lephalale. It will the first South African power station to have “super-critical” technology, and one of the world’s largest dry cooled stations, so it will much more efficient than older coal-fired stations.The other station, Kusile, is located in Mpumalanga province and will have the same technology but with the addition of flue-gas desulphurisation, a state-of-the art technology used to remove oxides of sulphur from the exhaust flue gases in power plants that burn coal or oil.Department of Public Enterprises Director-General Tseliso Matona and senior Eskom officials are to meet with Alstom – one of the major contractors at Medupi – in France in order to discuss the events of the Limpopo plant. The other major contractor is Hitachi.Gigaba on Wednesday expressed support for Eskom’s possible penalising of non-performing contractors, but added: “This doesn’t preclude other remedial actions. It is important to be forward thinking. The study will inform corrective action. We should not make rash decisions that could impact the build programme.”Profit ‘to be reinvested in the business’Eskom reported group revenue of R128.9-billion for the financial year ended 31 March 2013, up from R114.8-billion in 2012, an increase of 12.2%.Eskom said the results reflected the impact of the 16% tariff increase granted by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) for 2012/13 and declining demand for electricity due to lower economic growth and industrial unrest.The utility said revenue growth had been offset by escalating operating expenditures, mainly due to an increase in primary energy costs.The utility’s net profit decreased from R13.2-billion in 2011-12 to R5.2-billion in 2012-13.The profits would be reinvested in the business, chief executive officer Brian Dames told Wednesday’s briefing, noting that Nersa’s decision to limit Eskom’s tariff increases would require new thinking from Eskom.The company had been able to keep the lights on, despite it being a tough year, he said, with Eskom for the first time conducting maintenance work at its plants over the winter period.SAinfo reporter
The Calcutta High Court has directed the West Bengal government to set up an anti-human trafficking unit headed by a specially trained officer, preferably a woman, in every district of the State.Any FIR registered under the sections of Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956, and sections 370, 372, 373 of the Indian Penal Code or under the provisions of the POCSO Act, involving commercial sexual exploitation of women, should be investigated by the anti-human trafficking unit, the High Court said in its order. The police station where the FIR is registered will hand over such cases to the unit in 24 hours, stated the order delivered last week by a Division Bench of Justices Ravi Krishan Kapur and Joymalya Bagchi.Alarming numbers The direction assumes significance as Bengal has recorded the maximum cases of trafficking in the country. According to the latest NCRB data, Bengal in 2016 recorded 3,579 cases of human trafficking (44%) among 8,132 cases recorded in the country. The Bench gave the order while cancelling the anticipatory bail granted to Sangita Sahu, owner of a hotel in Joka area, by a lower court.She is accused under ITPA, POSCO Act and sections of IPC dealing with human trafficking. The Bench noted that “the menace of trafficking of women and minors have assumed alarming proportions”, and expressed concern over the “lackadaisical manner in which offences involving commercial sexual exploitation of women and children like the present one are investigated, prosecuted and/or pursued”. The High Court’s direction has been welcomed by a number of non-government organisations working against commercial sexual exploitation of children and women.Saji Philip, director of operations, International Justice Mission, Kolkata, the organisation which aided the investigative agencies in the raid at Ms. Sahu’s hotel in September 2017 where 30 people were arrested, called the order a “fresh lease of life in dealing with cases relating to trafficking of children and women”. “This order will strengthen existential directives and aim at fixing the lacunae in each step of trafficking cases, including rescue, rehabilitation and prosecution,” Mr. Philip said.