Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Man finds $10K cash at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, returns it to owner

GREENWOOD VILLAGE - Nobody expects to become a saint in Sin City. Mitch Gilbert may have come close.

Gilbert had a winning weekend in Las Vegas in early December, but he came upon some really big money at the airport as he was about to catch a flight home.

Gilbert found $10,000 in two unmarked Caesar's Palace envelopes.

"There was $5,000 in each envelope. I just about fell over, I couldn't believe it," Gilbert said.

He discovered the cash when he opened the envelopes at his home in Greenwood Village.

"If it happened to me I sure would want that back," Gilbert said.

Some may have thought they hit the jackpot, but Gilbert knew he had to return the money.

"I wanted to show my kids the right thing to do. It would have been a lot easier keeping it to be honest with you. But I felt like I had to get it back to the right person," Gilbert said.

He called the airport in Las Vegas, but they would not even take down his name.

"They didn't do that. It was against the rules. I just said, 'Well, I'll keep calling back and I'll give it 30 days,'" Gilbert said.

Gilbert kept his word to continue calling the airport. More than two weeks later, the operator told him a man in El Paso, Texas reported losing two Caesar's Palace envelopes full of cash.

"She goes, 'Well, this is breaking the rules, but you're trying to do the right thing,'" Gilbert said.

9NEWS reached Ignacio Marquez by telephone from his home in El Paso. Marquez says he won the money gambling and dropped it as he was running to catch a flight.

"Relief is an understatement. Cash money is very difficult to get back. I'm very appreciative to Mitch and his family. You do not find people like this," Marquez said.

Marquez knew the odds of someone actually returning $10,000 were pretty slim.

"I will always thank Mitch for doing this. That could have easily just gone south, instead of what happened," Marquez said.

Gilbert deposited the money in Marquez's bank account just two days before Christmas.

"I think he was pretty much in shock. I don't know if he believed it," Gilbert said.

Even though Gilbert's real estate business is slow, he says returning the money was the only option.

"I would have loved to have $10,000. You think about all the bills you can pay. But it didn't belong to me," Gilbert said. "It felt so good to be able to get it back to the guy. I felt like I was floating on air. I felt like a million bucks."

Pakistan International Airlines to have 67 aircraft by 2020

KARACHI - PIA’s 336th Board of Directors’ meeting was held at Karachi on Monday said spokesman of the airline here.

He said that presentation on Fleet Replacement Plan was made during the meeting according to which PIA fleet will gradually be renewed and the airline will have a total number of 67 aircraft by 2020. Board was briefed on marketing plan which included the marketing performance and different marketing strategies.

Board reviewed HR and other matters of strategic interests during the meeting. It also discussed the MRO plan of PIA. Fateha for the departed soul of Air Marshal (Retd) Nur Khan, Ex-Chairman-PIA was also offered during the meeting.

The meeting was chaired by Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister for Defence and Chairman PIA and attended by Nadeem Khan Yousufzai Managing Director, Javed Akhtar, Dr Waqar Masood Khan Federal Finance Secretary, Husain Lawai, Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi – Federal Defence Secretary and Yousaf Waqar.

L-3 Air Traffic School Called a Cheat

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


DALLAS (CN) - Thirteen men claim L-3 Communications charged them $41,000 apiece in tuition to its "air traffic control academy" after luring them with false promises that "guaranteed" them that "the first 100 graduates would be hired by the FAA."

But L-3's training was inadequate and they never got the jobs, the men say in Federal Court.

Lead plaintiff Rusty Brown says that L-3 Communications, dba L-3 Link Simulation and Training Air Traffic Control Academy, "enticed plaintiffs to join the academy by promising them jobs with the FAA upon graduation."

"These promises were not mere offers of placement help.

"Rather, one or more L-3 and/or Academy agent(s), apparent agent(s), employee(s) and/or vice principal(s), including but not limited to Robert E. 'Scott' James, Dale Raatz and Jim Christy, guaranteed plaintiffs that the first 100 graduates would be hired by the FAA.

"This guarantee is corroborated by a February 9, 2009 article in which L-3 and/or Academy officials told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram an agreement had been made with the FAA to hire the first 100 Academy graduates.

"One or more L-3 and/or Academy agent(s), apparent agent(s), employee(s) and/or vice principal(s), including but not limited to Robert E. 'Scott' James, Dale Raatz and Jim Christy, also told plaintiffs that a mobile unit would be present at the Academy on graduation day to hand out FAA job assignments.

"Plaintiffs each relied on these promises and agreed to pay $41,000.00 in tuition to attend the academy.
"To date, not a single student has received a job offer as promised.

"In fact, plaintiffs have learned that the FAA never made the agreement represented by the defendants.
"Furthermore, plaintiffs have learned that their training received at the Academy is insufficient, by itself, to even qualify them to work in a FAA air traffic control tower," according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs say L-3, through its named agents, told them that "(1) the first 100 Academy graduates were guaranteed jobs with the FAA; (2) defendants had reached an agreement with the FAA to hire the first 100 Academy graduates; (3) a mobile FAA unit would be present at each Academy graduation to hand out FAA job assignments; (4) graduation from the academy, by itself, would be sufficient to qualify plaintiffs for employment in a FAA air traffic control tower and (5) graduates would be employed by the FAA before they had to repay loaned tuition, if any."

But it didn't happen, the 13 men say.

The so-called flight school was in Arlington, Texas.

The 13 men seek compensatory and punitive damages for fraud, negligence and negligent misrepresentation. against L-3 Communications Corp. and L-3 Communications Holdings, dba Link Simulation & Training and/or L-3 Link Simulation & Training Air Traffic Control Academy.

James, Raatz and Christy, though repeatedly mentioned in the complaint, are not named as individual defendants.

The plaintiffs are represented by Greg Jackson and Jim Zadeh, of Fort Worth. 

Somalia: Elders Denounce Kenyan Fighter Jet Attacks

Guda — Some of Somali prominent elders in Lower jubba region have strongly condemned the latest Kenyan air raids on villages in that province that did not discriminate between civilians and military objectives.

Speaking to Shabelle Media, Abdiqadair Ahmed Mohamed, one of the elders in Lower Jubba region denounced the strongest terms the latest Kenyan aerial strikes, which its warplanes struck intentionally on civilians' locations in Guda village nearby Kismayu town, some 500-km away south Mogadishu, Somali capital.

The elders denied Kenyan claims of killing senior Al-shabab fighters in its latest air strikes in southern Somalia. They said, KDF bombed makeshift huts including a schools and villages dwell in innocent civilians.

"We call on Kenyan government to halt swiftly its air raids on civilian ground targets from low-flying aircraft using machine guns because most of them inflicted heavy civilian casualties," we also urge Nairobi to start a prompt and impartial investigation is needed into what happened in Guda village." said Abdiqadair Ahmed Mohamed, one of the elders in Lower Jubba region.

Guda village in Lower Jubba region is a territory close to Kenya manned by the militant group Al-Shabaab and has witnessed several air strikes since Kenyan incursion into Somalia nearly three months ago to pursue the militants.

This call from Somali elders in southern Somalia comes as Kenya military spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir confirmed the air strike but denied any civilian casualties. He also warned civilians to keep away from Al-Shabaab territories.


Fence beside airstrip at root of dispute. Guadalupe County officials accused of RICO violations.

This wire fence erected beside Windsock Lane in the Zuehl Flying Community has prompted several suits to be filed by New Braunfels resident David Goad, whose daughters own a fenced off parcel that formerly held a fueling station. The community's homeowners association erected the fence to block non-members, including Goad, from using the roads and small airstrip in the subdivision in western Guadalupe County.

ZUEHL — A fence erected in 2008 beside a rural airfield here in southwest Guadalupe County has spurred a rash of lawsuits, the latest of which accuses dozens of county officials of engaging in organized crime and seeks $31 million in damages.

The defendants deny the allegations made by New Braunfels resident David Goad, whose prior self-drafted court pleadings led to his being declared a vexatious litigant.

Goad filed the newest suit in U.S. District Court on Dec. 8 on behalf of two daughters who own a 1-acre lot that once housed a fueling station used by the Zuehl Flying Community.

The rustic subdivision of hangars, homes and potholed streets developed since the 1980s flanks a runway built as an auxiliary airfield for Randolph AFB during World War II.

Goad claims the fence installed by the property owners association illegally blocks access from the lot to subdivision roads, taxiways and the 3,000-foot airstrip. The fence runs along the edge of a portion of Windsock Lane that is largely undeveloped.

The association says the Goad parcel lies outside the platted subdivision, so they can bar access to roads and the airstrip.

Goad's suit also asserts that association members conspired with county officials to deprive Goad of his rights, and to have him and witnesses he called at prior hearings arrested.

“This is the largest case of RICO filed in the history of this country,” he said, referring to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke said deputies have repeatedly been called in “the ongoing battle” at the airstrip.

Besides the fence being cut, feuding among factions includes reports of threats, attempts to run people down, guns shot over people's heads and interference with aircraft.

“If law enforcement doesn't side with (Goad), then you become the enemy,” said Zwicke, who's lost track of how many times Goad has sued him.

Assistant Guadalupe County Attorney Robert Etlinger, also a suit defendant, called Goad's claims “absurd.”

“He's attempting to rehash everything that got thrown out of court last time,” he said.

Records show U.S. District Judge Fred Biery dismissed a similar Goad suit in 2009 because Goad lacked standing to bring the case since the lot in dispute was owned by his minor daughters, and he doesn't have custody of them.

The girls now are adults, but Robert L. Wilson III, the association's lawyer, doubts they are willing parties to the new suit.

Last week, Wilson alerted the federal court that State District Court Judge Michael Peden in 2010 declared Goad a vexatious litigant, meaning the court found Goad had filed suits in which he was unlikely to prevail.

Peden prohibited Goad from filing new litigation in state court without getting an administrative judge's approval, or posting $50,000 bond for any defendant.

Wilson is also asking the federal court to declare Goad a vexatious litigant, noting he “has engaged in eight unsuccessful forays into litigation and appeals since 2008.”

If that occurs, posting bond could prove costly, since Goad's latest suit names more than 120 defendants, including 95 “John Does” with the sheriff's department or the appraisal district.

Goad contends that the lot he bought in 2007 had unfettered access to the road, taxiways and airstrip for decades before the subdivision was created, establishing a prescribed easement for public use that can't be revoked.

That view is backed by Austin consultant Richard J. Wheeler, whom Goad hired as an expert witness.

But defendant Fred Hall, a former president of the property owners association, said the lot was the subject of a reciprocal easement under which the fueling station operator was given temporary access to subdivision roads and the airstrip.

That easement lapsed when the fuel tanks were removed, said Hall, who estimated the association has spent more than $100,000 defending itself against Goad's claims.

If Goad's daughters want access to the roads and runways, they need only to have their landlocked lot platted, become dues-paying members of the association and follow its rules, Hall said.

Finally flying, but he's not winging it. FCA Flight Center at Fitchburg Municipal Airport (KFIT), Massachusetts.

Student Pilot Bruce Vinal solo'd yesterday on his 16th birthday. Bruce was ready and able despite winds over 20 kts. In front of his father, mother grandfather, friends and reporters from the Sentinel and Enterprise, Bruce accomplished an incredible feat! Congratulations Bruce!

Sentinel & Enterprise / Alan Arsenault
Bruce Vinal shakes instructor Pete Coolidge's hand after completing his first solo flight at Fitchburg Municipal Airport on Monday.

FITCHBURG -- Monday dawned clear and cool. Bruce Vinal III's father woke him up to take a solo flight in a Cessna 152.

It was the younger Vinal's 16th birthday, and that meant it was the first day he could fly a plane by himself.

At 10:18 a.m. he lifted off from Fitchburg Municipal Airport runway 3-2 alone even though he does not have a learner's permit to drive a car yet.

"He hasn't even asked yet about his permit ... this is the only thing he's wanted to do," his nervous mother Kristy Vinal said as her youngest child flew over Fitchburg and Leominster.

Weather and the Christmas holiday conspired against Vinal, of Townsend, but were no match for his resolve.

"I never knew somebody who is so determined,"  Kristy Vinal said.

Pilots can not fly solo until they have a medical flight exam but when Vinal tried to get one last week, he was told to come back when he turned 16 years old.

Monday was considered a holiday for many people because Christmas fell on a Sunday, but Dr. John Skrzypczak, of Athol Memorial Hospital, agreed to go into his office to give Vinal the exam so he could fly on the first eligible day.

Vinal passed the exam and arrived at the airport's FCA Flight Center, where instructor Peter Coolidge was waiting at about 9:50 a.m.

What Will 2012 Bring In Air Travel? Fewer Flights Still Likely, Mobile Reservations On The Rise

(CNN) -- It's the end of 2011, so you know what that means. It's time for everyone to come out of the woodwork with their predictions for 2012.

So what will happen in the world of air travel?

Here are some thoughts on what the coming year might have in store. Fares will go up . . . or down The one thing everyone wants to know is whether fares will keep going up. We've seen plenty of increases in 2011, but will that continue? That really depends on two things: passenger demand and fuel prices.

Despite a still-shaky economy, demand for flights has been quite strong, and that has enabled airlines to keep raising fares. If demand continues to strengthen, then you can bet we'll see more increases in the new year. If it starts to drop off, then fares will likely start to fall, or at the very least, stay the same.

The one thing that can get in the way of that plan is high fuel prices. If prices spike higher, then airlines will be forced to raise fares regardless of demand. If that happens, then airlines will also have to cut the number of flights. Still holding back Fewer flights, however, will likely be the case no matter what happens with fuel.

Airlines have shown a great deal of discipline in terms of holding back the number of seats and flights they've put out there over the last few years, and that isn't likely to change. In fact, as Holly Hegeman, founder of PlaneBusiness.com notes, there are a couple of events that will directly affect that.

"In 2012, U.S. airlines will continue to reduce capacity both domestically in the U.S. and on international flights," she notes.

"Specifically, Southwest Airlines will be removing service in many AirTran markets as the airlines' merger moves forward, and American Airlines will cut back on its service in certain markets as part of its bankruptcy restructuring. Excess capacity across the Atlantic is also being trimmed."

You can expect fewer flights to smaller cities in general. That's the continuation of a trend we've seen for several years. Fortunately, not all is gloom and doom. There are some bright spots when it comes to technology. More mobile I asked Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group, for his predictions for the new year since he always has his ear to the ground.

His first thought? He expects that 2012 will be "the first year that airlines see a meaningful number of reservations made through mobile devices."

That seems like a good bet. Smartphones and tablets are gaining ground rapidly, and airlines have raced to improve functionality. Next year might be the year when things really heat up, as airlines continue to make it easier to do business with them while on the road. No end to fees While some travelers wish fees would disappear, that's not going to happen. Some new rules from the federal government will make it a little easier to find fee information up front, but fees are proving to be a great way for the airlines to be able to offer lower base fares and then let people pay more if they want more.

That doesn't mean the experience will remain exactly the same when it comes to buying tickets.

Airlines will, in Harteveldt's opinion, "start to get more creative about bundling."

Frontier is ahead of the curve on this one, offering different fare categories that include different amenities bundled together as a package.

So there you have it. I actually think flying will be less frustrating next year and here's hoping all of your journeys are smooth in 2012.

Reserve Bank to issue Rs 5 coins to commemorate civil aviation

The Reserve Bank on Tuesday said it will shortly issue coins of Rs 5 denomination to commemorate hundred years of civil aviation.

"The RBI will shortly put into circulation coins of Rs 5 denomination to commemorate 100 years of civil aviation and are legal tender as provided in the Indian Coinage Act, 1906," the apex bank said in a statement.

The coins will be circular in shape and have a diameter of 23 millimetres.

On the obverse side, the face of the coin shall bear the Lion Capitol of the Ashoka Pillar in the centre. It shall also bear the denominational value 'Rs 5'.

On the reverse side, the coin shall bear the image of an aircraft and the figure '100'. The year '1911-2011' shall be shown at the bottom.


There's good news and bad news for Meridian Regional Airport.

Numbers are flat! According to Meridian Airport Authority president, Tom Williams, passenger numbers at the airport have been that way for the last six months. However, compared to the rest of the state that's good!

'I don't see any changes in air service in the immediate future and when I say that, that's a good thing because Tupelo, Greenville and Laurel/Hattiesburg have all three been told by Delta that Delta's leaving and they're trying to find another carrier to come into those. At this point we don't anticipate a change for Meridian and that's good news for Meridian,' says Williams.

Statewide, Williams says airport passenger numbers are down, but the year started very strong for Meridian Regional Airport. From January to late May and early June it led Mississippi in boarding numbers. Williams says he thinks news reports slowed the progress.

'You know it seems to follow the news reports of how the economy is doing; because in the summer that's the time they started talking about the double dip recession,' says Williams.

Meanwhile, with boarding numbers holding steady, Williams says he doesn't foresee jet service leaving Meridian anytime soon.


Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport seeks new carrier

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WTW) — It's still a wait-and-see situation at the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport when it comes to which commercial carrier will provide service to local residents.

For the past three years, Delta Airlines has provided commercial air service at Hattiesburg-Laurel. In July, the airline announced it was discontinuing service to 24 of its smaller markets, including the Jones County airport.

Under federal guidelines, Delta was required to provide service at least 90 days after its announcement.

And although the airline agreed to stay a little longer so a replacement could be found, officials tells the Hattiesburg American (http://hatne.ws/w01C5K) there's no word on how much longer that will be.

Hattiesburg-Laurel currently runs two departing flights daily, connecting to Memphis.

IndiGo asks govt to relax rules for hiring expat pilots

New Delhi: The country's second largest private carrier by market share, IndiGo, has asked the government to relax the rules for hiring expat pilots under Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorisation (FATA). The proposal, if approved, would allow the carrier to engage experienced pilots quitting crisis-ridden Kingfisher Airlines.

“The airline has written to the civil aviation ministry for waiver of additional security clearance and for transfer of FATA in respect of expat pilots flying in India," industry sources told FE.

With the low-cost airline expanding its fleet by adding almost one aircraft every month, it needs commander-level pilots. The airline, which currently operates with 49 airplanes, is expanding its international operations to the West Asia and Southeast Asian countries.

While there is over-supply of entry-level pilots in the country, the industry depends on foreign pilots at commander-level, having experience of flying commercial jets. As per an estimate, there are currently 450 expat pilots holding FATA.

"IndiGo's request is fair. This is a long pending demand of several airlines. Expat pilots are hired by airlines only after getting all government clearances such as security. When they want to join another airline, the FATA should be transferred since the pilot is already security-cleared," said Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) India head Kapil Kaul said.

As per the existing rules, an expat pilot has to go back to his own country after completing his term with the Indian carrier and re-apply to a rival airline from there. In case the rival airline plans to hire them, they have to again go for security clearance and medical test, among others, adding to procedural delays.

In the last few months nearly, 140 Kingfisher pilots have either quit or given resignation notice to the company. Rival carriers want these pilots to hire as sufficient availability of senior pilots allows them to offer lower salaries. Private carriers are expected to add as many as 30 aircraft in 2012.

Since a commercial pilot has to serve at least six months of notice as per the regulatory guidelines, the recruitment process takes several months.

"When the government is so strict with their own pilots, there is no reason it should be lenient for expat pilots," former president of National Aviators' Guild (NAG) president Girish Kaushik said.

Bankrupt airline likely to shift regional carrier

DALLAS – AMR Corp.’s bankruptcy filing may open the door to reject leases on costly small jets and make deeper cuts in flying at American Airlines’ American Eagle regional unit.

“If you’re going to go into Chapter 11, you may as well fix what’s broke,” said Jeff Kauffman, a Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. analyst in New York. “And what’s broken is the Eagle product.”

Eagle ferries travelers to and from hub airports, providing more 90 percent of the passenger feed to AMR’s American, the third-largest U.S. carrier. Entering court protection ended plans for a spinoff while giving Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR latitude to reshape a business that was targeted for divestiture as far back as 2007.

Shedding jets with 50 or fewer seats is among AMR’s likely bankruptcy steps, Kauffman said in an interview. AMR also may rework labor contracts and aircraft leases, and add planes with 70 or more seats at Eagle, a step resisted by American pilots who want to keep those jobs at the higher-paying big airline.

“They know they have to get out from under Eagle, and now a Chapter 11 filing allows them to do it faster,” said Michael Boyd, president of consultant Boyd Group International in Evergreen, Colo. “They want the crazy aunt out of the attic.”

AMR’s next date in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York is Tuesday, when the company is scheduled to seek approval of procedures for resolving certain supplier claims. American declined to discuss any plans for Eagle.

“The future status of the regional network is entirely a function of AMR’s and American’s strategic decisions,” said Tim Smith, an American spokesman. “Those outcomes won’t be known for some time.”

That hasn’t stopped Eagle’s Air Line Pilots Association chapter from warning members of shrinkage to come in a fleet that numbered 299 planes as of Sept. 30. Management is evaluating “all aircraft leases and financing arrangements,” Eagle ALPA Chairman Tony Gutierrez said in a message to the union last week.

AMR took Eagle off the block in 2008 after failing to find a buyer, revived a study of the division’s future in 2010, and decided this year on a spinoff. Until the bankruptcy, the plan was for American to own the planes and lease them to Eagle while keeping more than $2 billion of debt linked to the aircraft. American would be able to seek cheaper partners, and Eagle would be free to fly for other carriers.

One of Eagle’s challenges is having 72 percent of its planes with 50 or fewer seats – a category whose costs have soared after an almost-sixfold surge in jet-fuel prices in the past decade. Delta Air Lines said in 2009 it would get rid of almost three-fourths of its Comair unit’s 50-seaters.

“American is in the exact wrong position on fleet composition,” said Tim Campbell, who ran regional operations at Northwest Airlines Corp. before its 2008 acquisition by Delta and is now president of Mountain Vista Consulting in St. Paul, Minn. “Fifty seats and smaller is not the future.”

Delta and Northwest both restructured commuter operations in court protection. Delta’s pullback included slashing departures at Cincinnati, a hub for regional flying, by 26 percent in 2005.

Northwest’s Chapter 11 filing the same year spurred one partner, Pinnacle Airlines Corp., to take 11 percent of its planes out of service and another, Mesaba Aviation, to enter court protection. Northwest also created the Compass unit with 76-seat jets flown by pilots paid at regional-airline rates.

Even without a bankruptcy, AMR’s Eagle would be confronting a shifting regional-airline landscape marked by larger planes, consolidation and demands by big carriers for lower-cost service, Campbell said.

“The world has changed, and AMR won’t be able to do anything with Eagle if they don’t fix it now,” he said.

Jet Airways's parent company on Income Tax department radar

MUMBAI: The Income Tax Department (IT) has sent two notices to Naresh Goyal, promoter and chairman of Jet Airways, asking for an explanation of overseas accounts held by him. These notices have been sent under Sections 148 and 131 of the Income Tax Act.

Goyal confirmed receipt of the notices and said that they were received about 10 days back. "We have complied with the notice received from the Income Tax Department under Sections 131 and 148 of the IT Act. There is neither any violation of Act nor any evasion of tax," Mr Goyal told ET. His accountant Rakesh Chaturvedi also denied any tax evasion charges. "The notices are not for tax evasion by Goyal," Mr Chaturvedi said. "All notices have been abided by," he added.

The IT department did not comment on the contents of the letter and the reason behind the notices.

Goyal, whose company Tailwinds owns 79% stake in Jet Airways and is based in the Isle of Man, the UK, also told ET NOW, this newspaper's business channel that he has received two notices and that they have been dealt with. "I have received two notices under section 131 of and under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act. I have replied and adequately dealt with the same," he said.

Goyal, as a non-resident Indian, is allowed to hold accounts in overseas banks, his office told ET on Monday.

The Income tax department has been sending notices to several people whose names appear on a list of HSBC account holders submitted to India by the French government. It is not known whether Mr Goyal's name figures in that list but other account holders of the bank have already been sent notices.

Tax experts say that because Goyal earns his income from India he is liable to pay tax here and can be summoned for assessment by income tax officials.

Section 148, according to tax experts, allows the re-opening of the assessment done in the past six years while Section 131 gives the power to tax officials to summon the assessee for any assessment related queries to be made by them that will further help to determine the extent of the tax.

The notice to Jet's promoter comes at an unpalatable time when the sector as well as the airline is doing badly.

Jet Airways had its worst second quarter ever with losses amounting to Rs 713 crore and analysts do not forecast troubles to be over for airlines soon with crude prices refusing to relent and Brent crude prices sticking to or near a $100 mark and rupee not really firming up against the dollar and Indian carriers still selling tickets below price with average fares coming down by 10%-15%.

Tax officials have also been cracking down on companies and their promoters in an attempt to increase their recovery at a time when revenues are dipping due to the ongoing economic slowdown. In the beginning of the month the service tax department sent notices to two other large Indian carriers, the financially troubled Vijay Mallya promoted Kingfisher Airlines and state owned airline Air India and froze their accounts for non-payment of Rs 250 crore.

The freeze was lifted after a partial payment was made. The IT department is also likely to scrutinize Kingfisher's accounts for non-payment of TDS.


Jet Airways has been served notices by the Income Tax (I-T) department over a Swiss bank account in the name of Tailwinds, the Isle of Man-based parent of Jet Airways, which holds 79.99 per cent stake in the airline. The I-T department has served two notices to Jet's co-founder, Naresh Goyal , a move by the government to unearth black money stashed abroad.

The first notice to Goyal was issued under Section 131 of the Income Tax Act seeking production and examination of books of accounts and other relevant documents. The second notice, served under Section 148, sought to reopen assessments of Tailwinds' books for 2006-07, a leading news television has reported.

According to sources, Goyal immediately responded to the first notice, stating that the Tailwinds accounts were officially disclosed to and approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), and the ministry of civil aviation and that there was no tax evasion. In an email reply told the TV channel Goyal said, "I have received two notices under section 131 of and under section 148 of the Income Tax Act. I have replied and adequately dealt with the same."

However, Goyal's response to the second notice which sought clarifications on Tailwinds' income from India is not known. The airline did not respond when contacted.

The I-T notices are part of a wider probe by the tax department into bank accounts held overseas by non-resident Indians (NRIs) such as Goyal. The tax department received inputs on Tailwinds' account in HSBC, Geneva, from French authorities.

The list of NRIs with overseas bank accounts came from a former HSBC employee, who stole the data from the bank and handed it over to French authorities. Such a list has to be certified by Swiss authorities before it can be used as evidence in any court of law. Faced with a number of cases of denial of secret foreign bank account holdings, the Income Tax department has re-opened past tax returns of such individuals in Mumbai and Delhi, among other places, in order to unearth black money stashed abroad.