Gulf Air to fly after 3 years, from December 15

Six airlines, including four from abroad, are completing the formalities to operate flights to and from Thiruvanthapuram international airport.

The first among the six to operate to the State capital will be Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The airline will resume its direct flights from December 15 in the Bahrain-Thiruvananthapuram-Bahrain sector after a gap of over three years.

Air Asia; RAK Airways, the national airline of Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE; Malindo Air, based in Malaysia and headquartered in Petaling Jaya; had approached the Airports Authority of India (AAI) expressing interest to operate to Thiruvananthapuram. The Bangalore-based ABC Airways and Vijayawada-based Air Costa had also approached the authorities seeking permission to fly to the city.

Gulf Air, which suspended its flights to the State capital in July 2010 citing low profitability in the Thiruvananthapuram-Bahrain- Thiruvananthapuram sector, will operate five weekly flights in the sector.

Confirming the interest shown by the airlines, Airport Director V.N. Chandran tod The Hindu that Gulf Air had submitted the flight schedule plan and the process to provide office space in the new international terminal on the city side was on.

The airlines had evinced interest in flying to the capital at a time when the work on the greenfield airport at Aranmula had got the final nod, sources said.

As many as 15 airlines, including the national carrier, Air India, were operating domestic and international flights now. The passenger traffic through the premier airport had touched three million, Mr. Chandran said.