Kerala seeks chartered flights from Middle East
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Tuesday that he favours chartered flights from the Middle East to clear the rush in the wake of cancellations by Air India.
He told the Kerala assembly that he had sought the necessary support for this from the central government.
He said this in response to a motion moved by opposition legislator A M Arif who said that every week about 20 international flights to Kerala were being cancelled on account of the strike by Air India pilots.
The July-September season sees the maximum traffic from the Middle East to Kerala as schools have vacations there. And the Onam festival falls in August.
"We have asked the (central government) to see if chartered flights can be operated to and from the Middle East on normal rates," Chandy said.
"We are going to Delhi and will meet the civil aviation minister to (tell him about) the inconvenience caused to Keralites in the Middle East who are waiting to come to the state."
Arif pointed out that the most affected were Keralites in Saudi Arabia.
"Thousands of Keralites are virtually stranded in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dhammam and other major cities in Saudi Arabia because they are unable to get a ticket."
And he added that due fare hikes, a Kerala family spends up to Rs 3 lakh to travel to Kerala.