Gulf-bound passengers facing hardship: MP
Loss to national carrier feared
MCC has petitioned Civil Aviation Minister
KOZHIKODE: Highlighting the problems being faced by Gulf-bound passengers travelling from Calicut International Airport in the Lok Sabha, M.K. Raghavan, MP, has appealed to the government to reconsider the move to cancel Air India services to cities in the Gulf region from the airport since it will aggravate passengers’ hardships.
Mr. Raghavan said there was no need to withdraw flights to the Gulf cities to allow foreign and private airlines to fill the gap.
Though a few services were operated by Air India Express, the passengers badly missed the services of Air India, he said.
This, he said, was because Air India Express had no base in most of the Gulf countries. Air India had been operating about 80 flights a week from Sharjah alone.
The number of flights had been drastically reduced causing considerable inconvenience to the travelling public.
The MP expressed surprise at the decision to hand over to Air Arabia the services from Gulf to Coimbatore, Goa, Bangalore and cities in Kerala which were till recently the monopoly of Air India. This change had affected passengers in all respects, including the baggage policy adopted by different airlines.
The MP said with the withdrawal of Air India, the upper class travellers were also switching over to other airlines.
This trend in turn would cause a heavy loss to the national carriers. “The government should reconsider the move to cancel Air India services and restore Air India schedules to the Gulf,” he said.
The demand made by the MP came in the wake of protests by the Malabar Chamber of Commerce (MCC) and the Calicut Airport Committee (CAC) against withdrawal of Gulf-bound services of Air India.
These agencies had already sent representations to Union Minister of State of Civil Aviation Praful Patel to reinstate all the Air India services that had been withdrawn.