Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Gulf airlines blocked from flying to new Kerala airport

India’s civil aviation ministry has deferred a decision on allowing Gulf carriers to fly to the newly opened Kannur International Airport in Kerala.

The decision dashes the hopes of airlines such as Emirates, Flydubai, Etihad and Saudia that they will be able to commence their direct flights to the Kerala airport soon.

Kannur Interntional Airport Ltd (KIAL) authorities had made a special request to the ministry for allowing airlines from the Middle East to operate daily two flights each to Kannur, outside the existing bilateral air services agreement between India and countries in that region.
At a meeting held in Trivandrum, KIAL’s request for sanctioning additional flights by Gulf and Indian carriers outside the existing bilateral airline seat limits is understood to have been turned down the request "for the time being".

“The civil aviation secretary, however, has agreed to review the proposal after about six months,” one of the participants at the meeting told Arabian Business.
Airline seat capacities have almost exhausted under the existing bilateral rights with several Gulf countries, constraining Gulf and Indian carriers to start direct fights to Kannur.
State-owned Air India Express is the lone carrier that currently operates international flights from Kannur to destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and some other cities in GCC.

The civil aviation ministry, however, has agreed to consider the suggestions for including Kannur airport under the ‘open sky policy’ between India and the ASEAN countries, a move, if allowed, will pave the way for starting of flights from Kannur airport to destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
“We plan to take up the issue (of allowing additional flights by Gulf and Indian carriers) with the civil aviation ministry again sometime soon,” KIAL managing director V Thulasidas told Arabian Business.
23/01/19 James Mathew/Arabian Business
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