Air India has suspended one of its flagship domestic services in the Kochi – Agathi sector from May 1.
NACIL had been operating the sector with a Beechcraft – 1900D type aircraft and the service was suspended after the company had to return the aircraft on completion of a lease agreement, said one airline official. He, however, could not confirm when the service would be restored, saying that it would be done only after looking at all available options. Operating four days a week, the flight used to leave Kochi as IC 502 at 10 a.m. to reach Agathi at 11.15 a.m. and in the return leg, used to depart at 11.45 a.m. and arrive in Kochi at 1 p.m. The aircraft had a capacity of 16 economy class seats and the passengers were permitted to carry up to 10 kg of free baggage. The route had been experiencing a heavy rush with the coral islands high on the list of domestic and international tourists. .
The Agathi service by Indian Airlines was launched first from the naval airport in Kochi, following a demand to launch a flight service during the tenure of P.M.Sayeed, the MP from Lakshadweep. However, the service received good patronage when the islands become a popular tourism destination.
Meanwhile, Cochin airport is yet to announce a cancellation of the service through its website even as the airline has been receiving a large number of enquiries regarding the sector.
Even after the cancellation of the service, the airport here remains the only airport connecting the Lakshadweep islands as a Kingfisher aircraft operates to Agathi three times a week.
Keywords: Air traffic