Tuesday, June 27, 2023

KIAL takes a nosedive with Go First’s exit

Kannur:  Kannur airport seems to be experiencing severe turbulence. It handled a mere 92,040 passengers in May, down 25,270 from 1,17,310 passengers that it serviced in the previous month, according to available data.     

The drop has been attributed to the exit of crisis-hit Go First from the scene. The airline temporarily suspended operations and filed for insolvency on May 2. It is currently under bankruptcy protection.     

Go First used to operate 42 international and 14 domestic services every week from Kannur. Now, only two airlines use the airport, Air India Express and IndiGo. According to estimates, KIAL — a public-private consortium that owns and operates the airport — suffers a loss of around `13 lakh daily as a result of Go First’s departure. 

In May, the airport scrapped 206 services -- 150 international and 56 domestic. From 994 in April, total services declined to 788 in May. 

Speaking at a meeting organised by the district committee of the Global Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) to discuss steps to bail out the airport, K Sudhakaran MP said that though he had approached the central ministry, nobody has done anything to resolve the crisis. “Union minister V Muraleedharan is from Thalassery. But he has failed to act, too,” said Sudhakaran. 

It was amid much fanfare that the airport was inaugurated four years ago. It was expected to alter the development prospects of the district and the entire north Malabar. But within a short span of time, authorities realised that unless foreign airlines operate from Kannur, the chances of turning around the airport were dim. 

27/06/2023  M A Rajeev Kumar/New Indian Express

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