Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tourist arrivals to take a hit as AI refuses charters

Panaji: With the peak tourism season only a couple of weeks away, it looks like the state government has failed to persuade Air India (AI) to operate direct charter flights from United Kingdom (UK) to Goa to offset the loss in foreign footfalls arising from the collapse of UK travel company Thomas Cook.

Local tour operators, when contacted, said that they are ignorant of any direct flights planned by the national carrier to ferry British tourists to the state and there is no talk of Air India stepping in to take the place of Thomas Cook charters.

Responding to queries from this daily, government sources said that although Air India was willing to operate direct flights from London Heathrow airport to Dabolim, it changed its mind.

“AI was willing and ready to support us but it lacked suitable aircrafts and could not deploy commercial flights on the route. The airline perhaps did not find it financially viable to start direct flights on the London-Goa route which is why the plan did not take off,” said the senior source.

The request to AI to start direct charter flights was routed through the Ministry of Tourism.
Hospitality industry stakeholders are taking an intolerant view of the government’s failure.
26/11/19 NavHind Times
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