Trade bodies and travel agents here are elated over the announcement of SpiceJet to operate daily flights between Madurai and Dubai from November 22, which they believe will boost tourism and business.

According to Travel Club president B.G. Musthafa, the flight will depart Madurai at 11.35 p.m. and land in Dubai at 2.20 a.m. In the return direction, it will leave Dubai at 3.50 p.m. and land in Madurai at 9.45 p.m. (all local time). While the one-way fare has been fixed at Rs.6,999, the return fare would cost double the amount.

Introduction of the night flight to Dubai will necessitate the Madurai airport to remain open at least till midnight. At present, it begins operations by 7 a.m. and closes by 9 p.m. and the only international destination linked directly from the airport here is Colombo. “Our long term dream has come true following the announcement of a direct flight to Dubai. We thank the Airport Director and the Members of Parliament for their support. We expect direct flights to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and other destinations as well,” he said.

In a press communiqué, Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it would continue to press for the introduction of direct flights to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Thailand and emphasise the Centre to include Madurai airport in bi-lateral treaties with other countries.

N. Sriram of Balika Travels said the Madurai residents had been expecting this service for long. He hoped that cargo services would also become operational soon in order to facilitate exports.

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