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Kerala to revive “Air Kerala” project

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy

Kerala government has taken up with the Centre for securing sanction to its dream project “Air Kerala”
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen ChandyThiruvananthapuram: Kerala government has taken up with the Centre for securing sanction to its dream project “Air Kerala”, under which it planned to operate low cost carrier services from the state to Gulf region, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said today.

‘Government had already written a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister in this regard and I will take up the matter personally during the meeting with the minister’ Chandy informed the assembly while replying to a calling attention notice given by Abdurahiman Randhathani (IUML).

Randhathani wanted the government to take necessary steps to materialise the Air Kerala project to prevent exploitation of Non-Resident Keralites (NRK’s) especially working in Gulf countries by airline companies through frequent hike in fares.

Air Kerala, a company registered as a subsidiary of Cochin International Airport Ltd in 2005 could not commence operations mainly due to two conditions of the Centre for starting international services by any airline, Chandy said.

The state had approached the previous UPA government with a request seeking exemption from such conditions that the company should have a fleet of 20 aircraft and a five year experience in carrying out domestic services, but the Centre refused approval.

Stating that funds to start the project was not an issue as many NRK’s have offered to invest, Chandy said the state would seek exemption on the conditions from the new government.

‘If permission was denied again, government would look for another option of making the Company as a subsidiary of any already operating airliner’, Chandy added.

Chandy made it clear that main objective of the state was to start service between Kerala and Gulf countries to help NRKs, most of them ordinary workers.

The frequent hike in fares by airliners operating in Gulf sector was a major issue affecting NRK’s, Chandy said.


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