Sunday, April 08, 2018

Budget flights see gains in Kerala’s migrant boom

Kochi: : With Kerala witnessing a surge in number of migrant workers, especially from the north-east, moving to the state in search of jobs, many smell a business opportunity. Budget airline operators especially are planning direct flights from Kochi to Kolkata during the summer break.

For the migrants, who had to spend the best part of three days on a train or connecting flights to visit home, the direct flights are an attractive proposition.

Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) managing director V J Kurian confirmed that budget airlines such as GoAir and IndiGo have approached it for starting direct flights to Kolkata and back during the summer months.

Currently, IndiGo and SpiceJet offer connecting flights to Kolkata from Kochi, with passengers having to switch planes at Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad or Mumbai.

Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development executive director Benoy Peter said the decision to start low-budget direct flights will be highly beneficial to migrant workers. Around 10 per cent of the estimated 30 lakh migrants who work in Kerala can afford a plane ticket to Kolkata.

Migrants who work in sectors such as marine fishing, plywood, furniture, textile and apparel, and laterite mining earn more than `1,000 as wage per day. Hence, it will not be difficult for them to opt for a direct flight to their home state as they can save at least three days as a result.

migrants working in the municipal corporation limits and surrounding panchayats, have been helping them book online tickets for both trains and flights.
These travel agencies can aggressively push the flight tickets, which will be in the `3,500-`5,000 price bracket. Besides, a good number of skilled people who work in the IT and other allied sectors can make use of it, said Peter, who works for the well-being of the migrants.
08/04/18 Dhinesh Kallungal/New Indian Express