30 more daily flights to Kerala in the next 3 months

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was on Saturday informed that 30 additional daily flights would be introduced from the four airports in the state in the next three months.

The assurance in this regard was made by the Union Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola at a meeting of CEOs of various airline companies called by the chief minister here in the backdrop of airline companies reducing flights from the Thiruvananthapuram airport.

The additional flights would be introduced during the next winter schedule of airlines companies, a release quoting the Chief Minister’s office (CMO) said.

Five more flights would be introduced from Thiruvananthapuram to Delhi, Kharola said.

The Civil Aviation secretary had held an informal meeting with airline companies prior to the meeting, on the basis of which it was decided that 30 more flights would be introduced to the state during the winter schedules, the release said.

In the last meeting of CEOs of airlines companies, there was a demand for reducing excise duty on Aviation Turbine Fuel (AFT) and it had the support of the Civil Aviation secretary.

Vijayan pointed out that Kerala had reduced excise duty on ATF from 25 per cent to five per cent in 3 airports– Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, while in Kannur airport it was brought down to 1 per cent.

However, not only was there no positive response from the airlines companies, but the services from Thiruvananthapuram airport had been considerably reduced, the chief minister pointed out at the meeting.

As per the figures of the Aiports Authority of India (AAI), in 2018-19 from the state capital, 645 flights had been curtailed, while in 2019-20 from April-June, 1579 flights had been reduced, 1,005 of which were international flights.

This was a huge cause of worry for the state, which was wooing investments from the IT sector in a big way, the release said.

It was also pointed out at the meeting that airlines were charging exhorbitant fares in the Gulf sector during festival seasons.