Saturday, July 16, 2022

101 Lankan flights refuel at Thiruvananthapuram, pay Rs 75 lakh to land

Two more flights from Sri Lanka touched down at Thiruvananthapuram airport for refuelling on Friday, taking the number of such technical landings from the crisis-hit island nation to 101 since May.The stopovers, most of them by the country’s official carrier Sri Lankan Airlines, started after fuel shortage induced by the economic crisis hit refuelling at Colombo airport. The temporary halts have helped Thiruvananthapuram airport earn at least Rs 75 lakh in landing charges. This excludes refuelling charges.

Since May 27, 65 SriLankan Airlines flights have proceeded to destinations such as Melbourne, Sydney, Paris and Frankfurt after refuelling at Thiruvananthapuram airport. This apart, 11 flydubai flights headed to Dubai, 10 Air Arabia aircraft proceeding to Sharjah, nine Oman Air flights bound to Muscat and six Gulf Air flights flying to Bahrain have also made technical landing here in that period.

A source with the Thiruvananthapuram airport said all these flights were served a total ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel) of 5,000 kilolitres. The 100th flight was SriLankan Airlines flight to Melbourne that arrived around 1am on Friday. It was closely followed by the same airlines’ flight to Sydney, the 101st.The source said the airport is considering this an opportunity to facilitate and help the struggling neighbouring country.

“Most of the flights for refuelling are coming during peak hours, between midnight and 6am. So we are providing assistance to them despite our tight schedule. They had approached us for this. So, we are acting as a facilitator rather than considering this a business opportunity,” said a source.

The arrivals have provided TIAL with an additional revenue stream though. “A wide-bodied aircraft has to pay Rs 1 lakh while smaller ones are charged Rs 30,000 as landing fee. At least Rs 75 lakh has been paid by all the airlines as landing fee,” said a source.

16/07/22 Krishnachand K/New Indian Express

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