Madurai closer to finding a place on international airport map
: Madurai has inched one more step closer to finding a place on the international airport map, with the Sri Lanka-based Mihin Lanka Airlines coming forward to fly its direct flight between Madurai and Colombo from September 1.
The low-cost airline has applied to the Airports Authority of India seeking slot clearance for operating its thrice-a-week flight service from September 1.
Virudhunagar MP, B. Manicka Tagore, under whose constituency the airport falls, said that the airport was all set to become an international terminal with the proposal of Mihin Lanka.
“All that we need now is posting of immigration officials and related infrastructure. Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, has promised to provide those facilities very soon,” he said over phone.
Mr. Tagore also said that he was in touch with the Singapore High Commission to take up the issue of having bilateral air services agreement with their Prime Minister, who is slated to visit India soon, he added.
“The lack of this agreement is holding up operating flight between Madurai and Singapore, which is a very viable route,” he added.
Madurai Airport Director, K. Sangiah Pandian, said that Mihin Lanka had proposed to operate its A320-232/A321-200 aircraft on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The flight will take off from Colombo at 2.20 p.m. and reach Madurai at 3.20 p.m. Later, it will leave Madurai at 4.15 p.m. to land in Colombo at 5.15 p.m.
“The flight timing will suit people from southern districts to have connecting flights to the Middle East and European countries,” he added.
Senior president of Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, S. Rethinavelu, thanked Prasad Kariawasam, Sri Lankan High Commissioner for India, and the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Kabila Chandrasena, who had fulfilled their promise made to the representatives of the chamber on providing air connectivity from Colombo to Madurai.
The flight service will activate industrial and economic growth of southern districts, he said.