Friday, September 23, 2022

They want a nonstop flight to India; RDU told them what must happen here first

Members of the Triangle’s growing Indian community want to persuade an airline to fly nonstop between Raleigh-Durham International Airport and India. They heard from RDU officials Thursday that it won’t be easy. Nearly 200 people turned out for a town hall meeting in Morrisville to hear RDU’s CEO and an air service consultant explain how the airport goes about persuading airlines to establish flights to new destinations. Most came with the hope that growing ties between North Carolina and India would be enough for an airline to begin flying between the two. India accounts for the second highest number of foreign-born residents of North Carolina, after Mexico, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The community’s growth has helped persuade Indian companies such as Infosys and Bharat Forge to locate in the Triangle, said Sen. Jay Chaudhuri of Wake County, the state’s first Indian-American legislator.

“We’ve been able to see our community leverage its influence and our hospitality to deepen the ties between India and North Carolina from an economic perspective,” Chaudhuri said at the meeting’s outset. “The question is can we rally our community, can we rally our companies, now to establish a nonstop flight from India to North Carolina to support our efforts. I believe there are a number of reasons we can do this.”

Others spoke about the difficulty of flying between the Triangle and India for business and to visit family. They spoke of long layovers, missed connections and lost baggage at the few American airports that offer nonstop flights to the subcontinent of Asia.

“You do not have an idea of what we have to go through in these places to get to India,” said Vimal Kolappa, CEO of East Coast Hospitality, a hotel group, and a member of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, which recruits companies to the state. Using data provided by airlines, RDU knows how many people fly from the region and where they’re going. In 2019, at the pre-pandemic peak of air travel from the Triangle, about 75 people a day flew to India, said Howard Mann of the consulting firm Campbell-Hill Aviation Group. Some flew nonstop to London or Paris and made connections, while others went through places such as Washington or New York.

23/09/22 Richard Stradling/News Observer

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment