Sunday, May 16, 2021

NRKs seek more flights to Bahrain

Kozhikode: With Bahrain becoming the lone gateway for expatriates from the state to travel to UAE and Saudi Arabia, expatriate organizations have urged the government to revise the bilateral air bubble agreement between the two countries to enable operation of more flights in the sector to meet the increased demand.

Also, they have sought permission to allow operation of charter flights in the sector to meet the heavy demand and to bring down the exorbitant fares charged by the airlines.

“Hundreds of expatriates are currently stuck in Kerala and are finding it hard to get tickets to return back to Bahrain due to heavy demand in the route, especially as expats travelling to Saudi Arabia and UAE are using Bahrain as a transit after completing 14 day quarantine there. Also, the exorbitant ticket fares are making air fares out of reach of ordinary expats. The demand has triggered huge spurt in the fares from Kochi to Bahrain touching Bahrain Dinar (BD) 450 (Rs 87,000), whereas Air India tariff is BD 248 (Rs 48,000), which is unreasonable and unaffordable for an average earning worker,” P V Radhakrishna Pillai, president, Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam, said.

He added that the inability of expats to reach Bahrain could also lead to loss of their jobs which would be another heavy blow for the NRKs who have been already hit hard by the pandemic.

“Moreover, as of now Bahrain is the only option for thousands of Indian workers to go to Saudi Arabia and UAE who are proceeding to the countries after undergoing 14-day quarantine here as there are no direct flights to the two countries. The government should make efforts to revise the air bubble agreement in such a way that the cap on the number of flights and passengers per week is enhanced. Also, we request the governments of India and Bahrain to increase the number of flights per week by the two national carriers to destinations in India, especially to locations in Kerala,” he said.

16/05/21 Times of India

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