Staff Reporter

Kochi witnessing heavy flow of traffic

Kochi: Ever since the aviation sector was opened up for the private sector, there has been a beehive of activity in the skies. A host of new operators connecting newer destinations have provided an exciting phase to air travel. The latest in this development is the operation of helicopters to major tourism spots.

Kochi has witnessed a heavy flow of traffic at the Nedumbasserry airport. The Gulf-bound passengers had always flocked to airports in Kerala. The boom in tourism has led to an increase in the traffic to the Gulf countries and beyond.

The limited open sky policy adopted by the Government for specific periods had been well received by international operators. This time, the policy is expected to come into force from December 15 when additional flights would bring in more passengers. Gulf Air, for instance, decided to increase its frequency to Kochi during the period, according to Rajeev Nambiar, General Manager, India.

The boom in the sector was phenomenal so much so that at times the landing facility becomes inadequate and several flights were forced to be in the air for prolonged periods. This results in waste of precious fuel and the airlines were reportedly planning to hike the fare to compensate the extra expenditure.

In fact, fare increase was a tricky issue for the airlines. "It is a customer market today," said Mr. Nambiar.

With low cost airlines wooing passengers, it was anybody's guess that a higher fare would be detrimental to the interests of the operator. Some of the low cost carriers even offer a lower fare in comparison to the first class AC fares on trains.

The boom had its impact on the human resources too. The industry on an expanding mode needs more personnel to manage the action. More pilots and air-hostesses were required. Kochi has a few training institutes for imparting training to air-hostess aspirants. Some among them, like the Frankfinn Institute of Air-Hostess Training, offered part-time courses in aviation, hospitality and travel management. The institute offered job assistance too, according to a top executive of the institute. Apart from Kochi, it had centres in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. More centres would be opened in other parts of the State, according to the institute.