To bring down airfares and help NoRKs in Gulf

Air India (AI) and its low cost carrier Air India Express (AIE) will operate 56 more flights from Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Mangalore airports to the Middle East from Saturday.

This is to bring down the airfares that had gone up and to restore the services that were curtailed during the 58-day strike by pilots of the national carrier owing allegiance to the Indian Pilot’s Guild.

The move was aimed at clearing the rush of the Non-resident Keralites working in the Middle East and planning to come home during Ramzan and Onam, an AI spokesman told The Hindu.

Apart from the additional flights, the authorities were working on crew and route management schedules so that the flight schedules in Kerala and Mangalore were restored to the ‘pre-strike’ period by September 21, he said.

The move was expected to drastically bring down the airfares that had been hiked by private and foreign carriers from Middle East to Kerala. Of the 56 additional flights, 50 would be operated by AIE.

The no-frills airline’s additional flight in the Thiruvananthapuram- Dubai- Thiruvananthapuram sector would be on August 8, 15 and 13. In the Thiruvananthapuram-Sharjah-Thiruvananthapuram sector, it would be on all Saturdays from August 4 to September 15, and in the Thiruvananthapuram-Abudhabi-Thiruvananthapuram sector, it would be on August 30, the spokesman said.

From Kochi

The Kochi-Dubai-Kochi additional flights of the AIE would be on August 8, 15 and September 9, the Kochi-Abudhabi-Kochi flight on August 26, and the Kochi-Dubai-Kochi flight on August 18, he added.

From Kozhikode

In the Kozhikode-Dubai-Kozhikode sector, the AIE flights would be on August 18, 25, September 1, 8 and 14.

The flights in the Kozhikode-Doha-Kozhikode sector would be on August 26, September 2 and 9, in the Kozhikode-Kochi-Kuwait- Kochi- Kozhikode on September 5, and in the Kozhikode-Abudhabi-Kozhikode sector on August 16.

From Mangalore

The Mangalore-Kozhikode-Abudhabi-Mangalore additional flight of Air India Express would be on August 31 and the Mangalore-Kozhikode-Dubai-Mangalore flight on September 7.

As the airline faces shortage of crew, the AIE would not operate additional flights from Kerala to Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

To overcome this and to cater to the high demand for seats from Kerala to Dammam, the budget airline would operate flights in the Mumbai-Dammam-Mumbai sector on all Tuesdays and Fridays from August 21 to September 14, the spokesman said.

The airline would offer connections from Thiruvananthapuram, he added. AIE would also operate additional flights every Thursday till September 13 in the Chennai-Dubai-Chennai sector.

The AI would operate flights in the Kochi-Riyadh-Kochi sector on Wednesday and Friday and in the Kozhikode-Riyadh-Kozhikode sector on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from August 9. In addition to this, the airline had commenced flights from Delhi to Seoul, Hong Kong, Osaka and Newark.

Connection flights had been provided from Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi for these international fights, the spokesman said.

More flights of the national carrier were on the offing and flight to Melbourne would be kicked off with the launch of the Dream liner, he added.