More flights for Kannur International Airport takeoff
Thiruvananthapuram: Air India Express, Indigo, GoAir and SpiceJet will launch nearly a dozen new flights to both domestic and foreign destinations from Kannur international airport soon. Indigo flight to Thiruvananthapuram will start by March end.
This was announced at a meeting of airline CEOs convened here on Monday by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to examine the scope for immediate expansion of services at the state’s fourth international airport.
AI Express CEO K. Shyamsundar said the airline would start services to Kuwait, Bahrain and Muscat by March. AIE would also examine the feasibility of Kannur-Thiruvananthapuram flight. The airline currently operates flights to Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Doha.
Indigo will start services to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Hubli and Goa on Jan. 25. Thiruvananthapuram service will kick off end-March. Doha and Kuwait flights will start by March; Jeddah and Dammam flights are under consideration and are likely in two months.
GoAir plans flights to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Muscat and SpiceJet to Bengaluru and Chennai. Air India chairman and managing director P S Kharola told the meeting that he had directed officials concerned to reduce “excess” fares on AI flights from Kannur. Mr Kharola assured domestic services would be included in AI’s summer schedule to more North Indian destinations.
Mr Pinarayi Vijayan demanded rationalization of fares from Kannur and the Union Civil Aviation Ministry should soon review its stand and give permission to foreign airlines to start Kannur operations. He said profiles of domestic and international passengers at Kannur stressed the need for flights to more destinations, including Singapore and Malaysia. Starting flights to New Delhi should be a priority.
Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey commended that no other airline had shown as much growth and attracted the interest of foreign and domestic airlines within the initial phase of its operation as Kannur international airport. Besides Indian and Gulf carriers, airlines from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore are keen to start operations but the major requirement is the Centre designating Kannur as a port of call after which bilateral agreements with airlines would kick in.
Foreign airlines urged the inclusion of Kannur among ports under the Asean open sky regime. Already 18 Indian airports are part of the open sky network.
Kannur airport managing director V Thulasidas and Airports Authority of India director S Sreekumar were CEOs of 10 domestic and 12 international airlines who attended the meeting.