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Soon flying taxis to arrive in Singapore to test cleaner, quieter sky ride
Posted on 7th October 2019
A British company says it’s building the world’s first “vertiport” for electric aircraft in Singapore, an early step towards a global network for flying taxis.

Essex-based Skyports Ltd. plans to show off the vertical take-off and landing station at Marina Bay during the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress from October 21-25. Germany’s Volocopter GmbH will bring along its electric aircraft for a demonstration flight.

Urban air transport isn’t new—helicopters have been doing it for decades. What’s changing is that better batteries and innovative designs are making it cheaper, cleaner and quieter. Companies are just trying to demonstrate the technology’s capabilities for now, but a report from Citigroup said sales of air taxis could reach $5 billion by the end of the next decade.

“Helicopters have been around a long time but they’re not well used, particularly in cities, because they’re noisy, dangerous and polluting,” Skyports Managing Director Duncan Walker said by phone. “We’re really trying to make it a form of transportation for anybody, not just the extremely wealthy.”

Citi expects designers to keep tweaking the technology and working with regulators so they can start to offer regular air taxi services from 2025. It could be even sooner, with Uber Technologies Inc. targeting launches in Los Angeles, Dallas and Melbourne as early as 2023. As many as 20,000 electric passenger aircraft could be sold annually by 2030, Citi said in its report last month.

They’ll start with a range of about 50 miles for journeys of 10-20 minutes—enough to make it worth paying extra to avoid road congestion, according to the investment bank. It puts the likely cost of a ride at about $3.75 per mile—cheaper than a limousine but double the cost of ground-based ride-hailing.

First the industry must win over the public and air safety regulators, and that’s what this month’s demonstration is about, Walker said. His company built the Voloport in China then took it apart to be re-assembled in Singapore near the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Walker is in talks to establish permanent Voloports around the island. One obvious connection could be to the resort island of Sentosa, just a short hop across the water.

People attending the conference can tour the building and it will open to the public on Oct. 25. But don’t expect a Volocopter ride just yet.

Visitors will get to sit inside the aircraft on the ground and a test pilot will take it up for a solo demo flight, said Volocopter spokeswoman Helena Treeck: “We want to see how the public reacts to it, whether it’s too loud, whether they would feel safe flying in it.”

For Citi analyst Pavan Daswani, the demonstration is important as it shows an infrastructure firm, an aircraft operator and the local government working in concert.

“It’s a Catch-22: regulators and the public will only get more comfortable as more are flying, but you need the regulations in place for more of them to fly,” he said. “Working together is the only way for it to be adopted early.”

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AIMPLB to decide on filing Ayodhya verdict review petition in SC today
Posted on 16th November 2019
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is likely to take a call on whether to file a review petition in the Supreme Court's final verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case.

A meeting of AIMPLB is expected to take place today in Lucknow to decide on call to be taken by the board in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case verdict by the Supreme Court.


Maharashtra: BJP afraid MLAs may defect, says NCP’s Nawab Malik
Posted on 16th November 2019
The Maharashtra BJP is bedevilled by the trepidation that politicians who joined the party ahead of the October 21 Assembly polls will defect and, hence, its leaders are claiming they will form government in the state, the NCP said on Saturday. NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik made the remarks a day after Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said his party will soon form the government and claimed it can count on the support of 119 MLAs, including Independents, in the 288-member Assembly.

SAT pulls up Sebi for 'shabby' handling of complaints from investor
Posted on 16th November 2019
The Securities and Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has hauled up the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for giving computer-generated response to investor complaints filed on its online platform Scores and for disposing of the matter without settling the case.

“We find the approach adopted by Sebi to be a strange one. Such computer-generated disposal of a serious complaint speaks volumes on the conduct in treating the minority shareholders in this shabby manner,” the tribunal said while delivering a judgment on a matter related to an investor complaint.


US to extend licence for its firms to continue business with Huawei: Report
Posted on 16th November 2019
The Trump administration is set to issue a two-week extension of a licence allowing U.S. companies to continue doing business with China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, two sources familiar with the deliberations said.

The extension of around two weeks is far shorter than the prior 90-day extension and a longer extension is in the works but has not yet been finalised due to regulatory hurdles, said one source who was briefed on the matter.


SC sets aside NCLAT order, paves way for Arcelor to acquire Essar Steel
Posted on 16th November 2019
The Supreme Court on Friday brought down the curtains on an epic battle for debt-laden Essar Steel, paving the entry of the world’s largest steel maker, ArcelorMittal, into the second-biggest steel market, India.

In a ruling that would have a far-reaching impact on cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the apex court has set aside the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order that put a different class of creditors — financial vis-a-vis operational creditors as also secured and unsecured financial creditors — on a par.


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