Three trade bodies have come together to demand a direct flight service from Madurai to Dubai and other destinations in the Middle East. Members of the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (TNCCI), Sourashtra Chamber of Commerce, Madurai and Madurai Travel Club are travelling to Dubai to press their demand.
Accompanied by the members of the Emirates Tamil Association, they propose to meet senior officials of Air India/ Air India Express at Dubai on January 22 to impress upon them the need for the introduction of direct flights between Madurai and Dubai and other Gulf countries.
The delegation will be led by Madurai’s former Member of Parliament A. G. S. Rambabu. TNCCI senior president S. Rethinavelu, in a press conference held here on Saturday, claimed that a large number of people from Tamil Nadu were living in the United Arab Emirates and these travellers had to use Tiruchi or Chennai airports.
The TNCCI senior president quoted United Nations data to claim that 7 lakh Indian visitors, mostly from Tamil Nadu, checked into Dubai hotels in 2011.
Madurai is seen as a preferred destination in the flourishing medical tourism industry as well.
The TNCCI also demanded the establishment of a full fledged cargo terminal at the airport and the appointment of a Plant Quarantine Officer to facilitate international cargo movement through Madurai.
Madurai exports seasonal flowers (primarily Jasmine), fruits and vegetables, granite products, surgical equipment, textiles and automobile spares.
The introduction of a direct flight will spur industrial growth and invite large scale investments to Madurai, the TNCCI claimed.