Air India to restore cancelled flights

Federal Civil Aviation Minister Ajith Singh has promised to restore the cancelled Air India and Air India Express flights from the three airports in Kerala to various destinations in the Middle East.

By T.k. Devasia

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Tue 25 Sep 2012, 12:08 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:43 PM

Shashi Tharoor, member of parliament from Trivandrum, said the minister had given the promise when he took up with him the miseries of hundreds of passengers, who were stranded in the state following abrupt cancellation of flights.

Tharoor said the minister had also given an assurance not to cancel any further flights from the state. Ajith Singh will soon be visiting the state to study the problems faced by passengers from Kerala to Gulf countries.

The state has been witnessing the specter of sudden cancellation of both AI and AIE from Trivandrum, Cochin and Calicut international airports for some time now. As many as 168 flights were cancelled during the last one month alone.

The protests against frequent cancellation of AI and AIE flights had snowballed when an AIE flight from Trivandrum International Airport to Sharjah was cancelled at the last minute, leaving dozens of passengers stranded at the airport for several hours.

The Air India made alternate arrangements following protests from passengers and people’s representatives including Tharoor. The latter informed the minister that six flights were cancelled during the last one week and added that the situation was intolerable for the thousands of passengers.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the Civil Aviation minister had promised to look into the state’s government’s demand for relaxation in the norms to launch an international airline to cater to the needs of about two million Keralites working in the Gulf countries.

The state government has proposed to start its own airline called Air Kerala with five aircraft. The current norm that Indian carriers must have 20 aircraft and five years of experience to fly overseas came on the way of realizing the project.

The chief minister had also taken up the issue with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh when he visited Cochin to inaugurate the ‘Emerging Kerala 2012’ summit on September 12. He said that Ajith Singh had agreed to approach the cabinet for the relaxation.

Sources said that the state government may be able to launch the airline by early next year if the cabinet cleared the proposal soon. The first meeting of the board of directors of Air Kerala held at Cochin recently has already decided to lease five aircraft.

The airline will be a joint venture between the state government and the Cochin International Airport Ltd or CIACL. The company will be mobilising Rs2 billion from non-resident Indians for the project.

Air Kerala plans to make the prospective travellers the shareholders of the company and issue coupons to them offering discount for travel in the airline. The idea is to make the shareholders travel by the airline. By travelling on Air Kerala, they will have the dual advantage of making profit as a traveller and as shareholder.

More news from