Thursday, March 07, 2019

Migrant Tamils want flights to Kuwait, Abu Dhabi resumed

Trichy: Almost 12 years since the national carrier (then Indian Airlines) suspended three services between Trichy and Kuwait, Fujairah and Ras-Al-Khaimah, there are no signs of any of these resuming despite an increase in air traffic between Trichy and the Gulf countries. This has forced thousands of Tamils from Trichy and surrounding districts working in these countries to keep shelling out exorbitant fares to reach their native places. Frequent flyers have renewed their appeal to the civil aviation ministry to get the national carrier to resume the services or allow Gulf carriers to operate on the sector.
Indian Airlines was operating two flights to Kuwait from Trichy on Tuesdays and Saturdays. On Tuesdays, flight IC993 would depart from Chennai for Kuwait via Trichy, Kozhikode and Fujairah. Flight IC995 would arrive here from Chennai on Saturdays and leave for Kuwait via Kozhikode and Ras-Al-Khaimah. Presently, Air India operates week-long services to Kuwait from Chennai via Goa, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad and another service between Kuwait and Kozhikode.
Statistics say Trichy international airport has registered the highest passenger traffic since its conversion into a passenger airport — 1.50 lakh in January 2019. Nitin Edward, a frequent flyer from the city says the only terminated service to resume was in the Sharjah sector by Air India Express in 2016.
N Mohammed Malik, who works in the HR department of National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC) in Abu Dhabi and a native of Adirampattinam in Thanjavur district, said that about 1.50 lakh migrants from Trichy and surrounding districts were employed in Abu Dhabi. “We find it difficult to reach Trichy as there is no direct flight between Trichy and Abu Dhabi since 2007. We have to take a flight from Dubai after travelling from Abu Dhabi and reach Trichy via Chennai. Or else, we have to take a Sri Lankan Airlines flight from Dubai to Colombo and then to Trichy”, he said.
07/03/19 D Vincent Arockiaraj/Times of India

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