Sunday, May 12, 2019

Coimbatore may get direct flights to Surat, Kolkata in near future

Coimbatore: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is likely to approach airlines to begin direct operations to Surat and Kolkata from the city, post the elections. This has been a long pending demand from the city’s sizeable Gujarati and Bengali trading community and industrialists. AAI is also looking at the possibility of introducing one more international flight to another destination in South East Asia. If everything goes well, the city airport would see further growth in passenger traffic.
Though the passenger traffic went up by 25% to 30 lakh in 2018 from 24 lakh in 2017, the city airport’s performance was below the airports in tier II cities such as Kozhikode, Trivandrum, Guwuhati and Bhubaneshwar. This was despite most of the flights departing the city reporting more than 75%-80% occupancy. Authorities have attributed this to the lack of adequate connectivity.

“The city will definitely benefit from a direct connectivity to the eastern part of the country, which is missing, and maybe another destination in North India,” said Deepak Shastri, former regional executive director, southern region of AAI.

City airport officials confirmed that AAI was planning to approach private airlines and Air India after the elections and suggest they could consider introducing direct flights between Coimbatore and Kolkata, and Coimbatore and Surat. “We are trying to get airlines to introduce flights to these destinations, because there is a handsome number of frequent fliers to these two cities, if not every day, at least a few days of the week,” Shastri said.
12/05/19 Pratiksha Ramkumar/Times of India
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