Abu Dhabi, Doha beckon travellers

Foundation work for construction of an integrated passenger terminal under way at Tiruchi airport on Tuesday.

Foundation work for construction of an integrated passenger terminal under way at Tiruchi airport on Tuesday.  

Finally, a response from an airliner to clamour from travellers in central region

The introduction of overseas flight services from Tiruchi to Abu Dhabi and Doha from next month by low-cost carrier Air India Express is set to give a big boost to passenger traffic at this fast growing non-metro airport.

The recent announcement made by the country’s first international budget airline has gladdened tourism circles and travellers here since it has come at a time when there has been a clamour for long from travellers in this part of the region for introduction of flight services to newer destinations in West Asia.

Direct connectivity to overseas destinations from Tiruchi international airport will now increase to seven after Air India Express begins its services to Abu Dhabi and Doha from March-end.

Tourism industry circles here say the long-awaited sectors connecting Tiruchi with Abu Dhabi and Doha has been finally done by Air India Express, which is already operating daily flights to Dubai, Sharjah and Singapore from here.

The launch of the new services comes at a time when the airport is on an expansion mode with a swanky passenger terminal under construction to cater to future traffic growth and poised for completion in 2021.

The introduction of direct flights to Doha and Abu Dhabi from Tiruchi will certainly be a boon to people of central region and those in the southern districts as they no longer have to travel to Chennai or other airports to reach the destinations, says M.A. Aleem, member, Advisory Committee, Tiruchi international airport.

Flight services to the two new destinations will augur well for travellers as a substantial work force in different West Asian countries hail from the central and southern parts of Tamil Nadu. Besides providing an impetus to passenger movement, the new services will eventually bring in revenue to the Tiruchi airport as well as to the government, says Mr. Aleem, a frequent overseas traveller.

The United Arab Emirates is a popular tourist destination in West Asia with regular group tours being organised by tour operators to Dubai and Abu Dhabi from this part of the region.

Tourists, who wind up their tour in Abu Dhabi, now have the option of boarding a flight to Tiruchi instead of driving back to Dubai. This sector will be a lucrative one for Air India Express, said an office-bearer of Tiruchi Tourism Federation.

Adding flight connectivity to newer overseas destinations will also help Tiruchi’s economy by attracting more tourists and improving business further, says Mr. Aleem.

The new services to Abu Dhabi and Doha will certainly have good load factor, feels Achar Singh, member, Confederation of Indian Industry, Tiruchi.

Tiruchi is a unique non-metro airport with direct connectivity to more international destinations than domestic ones. At present, overseas flights are being daily operated to Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Dubai and Sharjah.

Notwithstanding overseas services to select destinations in South Asia, South-East Asia and West Asia, international passenger traffic has been on the upswing at the airport. International passenger movements alone has already exceeded 10 lakh in the current fiscal from April to December, according to Airports Authority of India statistics.

Once the new services are launched, passenger traffic and the total number of international flight movements is only bound to increase further. The direct connectivity from West Asia will also give rise to inbound tourism and medical tourism, says the office-bearer from Tiruchi Tourism Federation.

Mr. Aleem says completion of expansion of the runway at the airport expeditiously will enable in bringing in wide-bodied jets.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 8:40:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/abu-dhabi-doha-beckon-travellers/article30855095.ece

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