Thiruvananthapuram: Dr Shashi Tharoor MP has urged the central government to respond sensitively to demands of the people of Thiruvananthapuram for enhanced air connectivity and work with the airlines to resolve the matter of disrupted flights expeditiously and satisfactorily.
He also criticised the state government contributing to escalating airfares as its aviation fuel tax of 28 per cent was among the highest in the country and a significantly lower tariff would attract more airlines to Thiruvananthapuram.
He pointed out in a statement here on Saturday that the decision to levy only one per cent ATF tax in Kannur Airport has brought in many takers for operating additional flight services there.
Over the weekend, Indigo and Jet cancelled several flights across the country, and Thiruvan-anthapuram was among the destinations affected. The city is poised for a significant surge in demand for air connectivity, and needs more flights, not less, the statement said.
National and international carriers are curtailing operations in Thiruvananthapuram the most recent exits being that of Saudia, Silk Air, Fly Dubai and Jet Airways.
The reasons vary – in Saudia’s case DGCA has not granted permission, Silk Air itself is being discontinued, and for FlyDubai the permissible number of seats under bilateral agreements does not permit it.
Jet Airways’ financial problems nationwide have obliged it to curtail its operations considerably, said the statement. The state government should use this opportunity to be more forthcoming of its plans for the future development of the airport.
"Thiruvananthapuram airport has witnessed growing footfall over the years. By the airport authorities’ own assessment, it handled nearly five million passengers annually," he pointed out.
"It is a testament to local demand and a steady increase in flights that Thiruvananthapuram consistently made profits to become one among the 15 AAI-owned airports of a total of 100 in the country to do so. With the commencement of operations at the Vizhinjam port, and the establishment of multinational IT giants like Nissan at Techno-park, the city’s demand for greater air connectivity will jump manifold."
However, the airport has faced some setbacks in the last few months. News reports indicated that there were 460 domestic departures in January 2018. The number declin-ed to 370 for January 2019, despite the growing dem-and for air travel in the city, said the statement.
These developments have also come in the light of efforts by the Indian government to privatise the operations of Thiruvananthapuram airport....