To check and control increasing airfares affecting non-resident Keralites, a meeting of various airlines would be convened in Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Sunday. Pinarayi met Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola in New Delhi, and the decision to convene a meeting was announced post the meeting. The meeting of airlines will be convened by Kharola.
Pinarayi met Kharola as non-resident Keralites were finding it difficult to return home due to increasing airfares. Fares also shot up around festivals.
The CM also discussed the possibility of developing the aviation industry in the state by developing it as a prime aviation hub.
“The overall development of the four airports in the state, enhancing their basic facilities, and to be allowed to increase the number of flights operating in the state were also discussed in the meeting," a release issued from the CM’s office said.
For the development of the airports, a meeting of the agencies concerned will be held in Thiruvananthapuram in July. The aim is to develop the most modern facilities at the airports, the release said.
This will also be discussed at the meeting of the airlines, the Secretary told the CM.
Why the airfare hike hit Kerala
“Kerala has four international airports, the highest in the country. The Non-Resident population of the state is also particularly high. There is a steep rise in airfares during festivals such as Onam, Christmas and Ramzan," the CM pointed out. The Aviation Secretary said that this will be examined.
"The flight operations at Kannur airport is not proportionate to the number of passengers. More services should start from Kannur airport. Permission is also required for the service of international flights from there. Airline operators have shown interest to start services from Colombo, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to Kannur,” he said.
The other demands made by the CM are to restart services between Kozhikode and Hyderabad, to expedite the process to start new flight services from Kozhikode and to start a direct flight service from Thiruvananthapuram to Japan.