Madurai will soon be linked by air to Dubai, with Spicejet gearing up to launch flights to the Middle East destination.
“This service will open air connectivity to all major global destinations for people from the southern districts,” says Virudhunagar MP and chairperson of the Madurai Airport Advisory Committee B. Manicka Tagore.
Spicejet has forwarded its flight schedule to the Airports Authority of India for clearance.
“The services are likely to commence by the end of November,” Mr.Tagore told The Hindu.
The Civil Aviation Ministry has cleared air routes for Spicejet to fly to Dubai. The airport slot for the airline has been cleared by Dubai.
Dubai will be the second international destination linked directly from Madurai airport, after Colombo. The first service to Colombo opened in September 2012. After Spicejet launched the Madurai-Colombo service, Mihin Lanka followed suit last December.
It will be a big opportunity for trade and industry bodies in the southern districts, according to senior president of the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry S Rethinavelu.
The new service will give an impetus to the export of flowers, vegetables, fruits and processed food from the southern districts, including Madurai, Theni and Dindigul, he notes.
It will also boost medical tourism as Madurai offers quality healthcare at a cheaper rate when compared to other Indian cities.
Around two lakh labourers from the southern districts who are employed in the United Arab Emirates will benefit from the new air link, according to B.S.G. Musthafa of Travel Club, Madurai.
“The travellers will not only save money on transport, but also save time by not having to travel to Tiruchi, Chennai or Thiruvananthapuram airports,” he adds.
The new flight is expected to depart at around 11.30 p.m. from Madurai and reach Dubai in the early hours, says N. Sriram of Balika Travels.
FlyDubai, a low cost carrier of the Emirates (airlines), has evinced interest in operating its flights to Madurai in early 2014.