Monday, February 27, 2017

Madurai airport all set to fly high

Air India was the only operator flying its aircraft out of Madurai three decades ago. However, when the Centre came up with open sky policy in the early 1990s, private players started trickling in.

Till a decade and a half back, only three air services were available out of Madurai airport. Air India was operating to Mumbai with a touchdown in Chennai, and Jet Airways was flying two flights to Chennai.

But, a combination of factors have now seen that the tier II airport has been well-connected, in fact, with more number of flights to Chennai than another other tier II cities of the State.

It has got at least 10 flights to Chennai, with three transit flights to Mumbai and Delhi. Besides, the city has air links to other metros like Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

From Sunday, Jet Airways is offering another flight service to Delhi via Mumbai. This is the only direct flight to Mumbai from Madurai.

In the next three days, IndiGo will add two more services from Madurai – one to Chennai and the other to Delhi via Chennai.

“Ever since the Madras High Court Bench came to Madurai, the number of regular fliers has increased. A lot of advocates are flying in and out,” said S. Rethinavelu, senior president, Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Similarly, sporadic development of small and medium-scale industries in food processing, garments, plastic and rubber sectors has led to an increase in the number of domestic passengers.

“The next generation industrial leaders have realised the comfort of travelling by aircraft, which saves them time,” he added.

However, R. Sriram, a leading travel agent, attributed the growth to the advent of low-cost airlines like Air Deccan. “Till Air Deccan came to Madurai, flying was confined to the affluent or the top business class. The no-frills service that offered the lowest airfares encouraged more new fliers,” he added.
26/02/17 S.SundarMadurai/The Hindu