Saturday, February 13, 2016

Kerala budget revives Air Kerala project

Trivandrum: The Kerala government has sought to revive its low-fare international airline project, Air Kerala, by earmarking Rs1 billion for the same in the state budget for 2016-17 fiscal.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who presented the budget in the assembly on Friday, said that the amount would be spent for starting service to the Gulf region, if permission from the government of India is obtained.

The state government, which proposed the project in 2006 to make air travel affordable to the Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) in the Middle East, is pinning its hope on the national civil aviation policy under the consideration of the federal government. The draft policy released in October last year favours scrapping of the 5/20 rule that bars Indian carriers from flying abroad until they complete five years of domestic service and have a fleet of 20 aircraft.

The project may take off if the rule is completely abolished. It also provides the option of retaining the rule as such or replaces it with Domestic Flying Credits (DFC).

The project has been caught in turbulence ever since Chandy first mooted it during his first tenure as chief minister (2004-06).

The project envisages to help Keralites who are fleeced by airline companies for travelling to their state from different Middle-East countries.
13/02/16 T K Devasia/Khallej Times
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