Air Kerala debut to patch connectivity to the Gulf

A NEW private airline, Air Kerala, is set to commence operations in September, offering a respite from the lack of direct air connections between Kerala and the Middle East.

Registered as a company four years ago, Air Kerala is a joint initiative by the Kerala state government, non-resident Indians residing in the Gulf, and Yusuf Ali, managing director of EMKE Group Abu Dhabi and director of the fledgling airline.

A sizable number of Keralites living and working in the Middle East have been facing problems due to the scaling back of international flight operations by Air India, which flies most of the routes from the Middle East to Kerala. Other international airlines have also raised fares, some by as much as 40 per cent.

K. Vijayan, director, Kerala Travelzone Kozhikode, said: “Having our very own airline will alleviate the concerns of Keralites working in the Gulf, who travel to and fro very frequently and need the assurance of regular flights and reasonably steady fares.”

Joy Peter, director, Intersight Tours & Travels Cochin, said: “Air Kerala can fill the void (left by Air India) and prove to be the leading airline between the Gulf and South India. The likelihood of success is very high.”

Akhil Cherian, manager-marketing, Marg Hotels & Resorts Cochin, said: “A regional airline would generate tourism focus on Kerala and help facilitate better tourism promotion. Perhaps in the future, other tourism destinations in South India will be connected by Air Kerala and a hub will be formed in the south.”

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