Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Another Kuala Lumpur-Bengaluru flight added to plan

Bengaluru: Two more Bengaluru-bound flights, including one from Kuala Lumpur on May 20, have been added to Phase 2 of the Vande Bharat mission. The other flight will take off from Yangon, Myanmar on May 28.
Many people from Karnataka and stranded in Malaysia had complained they were under-represented on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bengaluru/Ahmedabad arriving Tuesday.
Now, a total 157 stranded Indians are expected to leave Kuala Lumpur for Karnataka: 97 on May 20 and 60 on May 19. Eighteen international flights will land at Kempegowda International Airport as part of Phase 2 of the mission.
Besides under-representation, exorbitant ticket prices have also been a sore point, but disgruntlement appear to have been ignored since fares for the Kuala Lumpur-Bengaluru flight for May 20 has been fixed at Rs 33,000 — almost double the cost of flights from the Malaysian city to Chennai, Trichy or Kochi. However, many, including students, say they have no choice but to take the flight since they have no income to sustain themselves in a foreign country and many others have lost their jobs. An external travel agency has been appointed to handle the ticketing process.
An Air India spokesperson defended the high ticket prices saying, “Most flights are operating with one-way load due to visa restrictions. Saleable capacity is reduced due to mandatory guideline to keep nine or more seats vacant, for isolation of onboard symptomatic passengers. Majority of the destinations in Phase 2 are not AI online stations and AI does not have long-term agreements with ground-handling agencies at these airports or other support services.”
19/05/20 Swathy R Iyer/Times of India

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