Thursday, February 23, 2006

Air Kerala project not grounded: Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram: Contrary to reports otherwise, the Rs 200-crore Air Kerala project is not prematurely grounded, says Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. "It is true that there are atleast three civil aviation conditions from which Air Kerala needs to get special exemption. Getting these waivers is not beyond the realm of possibility," Mr Chandy said in response to a question on Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel dismissing the possibility of licensing Air Kerala project.
When pointed out that Mr Praful Patel decidedly desisted from giving any assurance on Air Kerala to his new Cabinet collegue Vayalar Ravi (Union minister for overseas Indians), when the latter called on him last week, Mr Chandy said this was because of a conceptual confusion. "The delay is only because the yardstick made for private sector air carriers is applied to what is not quite a profit-making venture."
Mr Chandy said, at a media-briefing session, after Wednesdays' Cabinet meeting. Going by the Centre's present norms Air Kerala project suffers three roadblocks. One, the airlines should have five years domestic experience before taking on Indo-Gulf route. Two, it should start with 20 aircraft. Three, Kerala has not been allowed even the limited open sky policy that the rest of India enjoys.
23/02 Financial Express
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