In an effort to prevent the recurring cases of flight delays and cancellations on the Kerala-Gulf route that put passengers to serious difficulties, a high-power committee of the national carrier Air India (AI) led by its chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav conducted a meeting at Nedumbassery on Saturday.

“We are introducing a standard operating procedure to treat passengers in case of delays and cancellations,'' Mr. Jadhav told mediapersons after the meeting. He responded positively to a suggestion with regard to a rescheduling of its services to the Kozhikode airport from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. for avoiding diversions while sticking to the schedule in the other two stations in the State.

According to him, the airline was hopeful of curbing the factors leading to delays and cancellations as the State government had promised all support to deal with the issue. “Air India is also trying to have a base in Dubai so as to sort out the problem at both the ends,'' he said.

Acknowledging that there was a good amount of business on the Kerala-Europe sector, he said that the company would conduct a survey to explore the possibilities of launching a direct Europe service from Kochi. The survey, according to him, was to look at the economics of the initiative, based on which an appropriate decision would be made.

Joint venture

He also spoke on the plans of the airline to strike a joint venture with the CIAL (Cochin International Airport Limited) for placing it as the ‘anchor airline' in Kochi. For that, it required facilities to park and repair its aircraft in the airport along with the provision for keeping its crew.

Stating that Kerala was an important market for the company in terms of capacity and air connectivity, he elaborated on the proposal to connect the State with various South-East Asian destinations. The connection is proposed through the new terminal 3 (T3) of the Delhi airport that offers an integrated facility where the domestic and international passengers can be handled at the same terminal.

The meeting also recognized the need to conduct consultations into the possibility of AI utilising the upcoming MRO facility at CIAL and creating a better understanding between the two parties. It was also attended by P.C. Chacko, M.P, Transport Minister Jose Thettayil, senior CIAL officials, representatives of passenger and travel agents association.

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