Staff Reporter

Airport panel meet flays hike in flight charges

KOZHIKODE: The Calicut Airport Committee, which met at the Chamber House here on Monday, has noted the discrimination in not providing international status to the Calicut Airport despite the latter qualifying in everyway to be given the international position.

P.V. Abdul Wahab, MP, who inaugurated the interactive section, opined that political will was vital at this juncture so that what was legitimately due to the Malabar region was not denied to the people here. "Despite hurdles, the dream of an airport for Kozhikode could be achieved. It is with the same will power of the 1990s that the momentum for earning the international status needed to be kept up. A united strategy of all concerned, rising above political affiliations, has to be worked out to achieve the legitimate demand," Mr. Wahab said.

"A momentum has to be built up. Airlines from abroad are eagerly waiting to operate services from here, and the apprehension of domestic airlines of losing ground was unfounded," he added. He said Pune and Nagpur had earned the status of international airport as a result of the peculiar conditions prevailing in the civil aviation decision-making committee.

The airport committee, in the memorandum prepared to highlight the feasibility of providing Calicut Airport international status, noted that as many as 210 international flights operated from the airport a week. Calicut airport deserved international status even if the number of foreign passengers using the airport. Once the airport gets international status, the travel allowances offered by companies can be availed of as foreign airlines, which charge a nominal rate, will start operating services from here.

The memorandum highlighted how the Airport was developed with the financial assistance of the local people. If the Rs.275 cores investment made by the Centre for building infrastructure at the airport is to earn dividends, more international flights will have to be operated from here. The memorandum flayed the hiked flight charges imposed on passengers here by domestic airlines.