Call to let AI, Emirates operate Code-E flights from Calicut airport

Safety assessment reports submitted by both companies, says MDC

The Malabar Development Council (MDC) has urged the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to give approval to Emirates and Air India (AI) to resume operation of their wide-bodied aircraft at the Calicut international airport so as to address difficulties facing passengers from north Kerala.

Addressing the media here on Thursday, MDC office-bearers C.E. Chakkunny, M.K. Ayyappan, and V. Kunhamu said the Central and State governments should immediately intervene to restore the operation of aircraft under Code E in view of the model code of conduct. For now, only Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) is allowed to operate jumbo flights at the airport, they added.

Mr. Chakkunny said both Air India and Emirates had already submitted safety assessment reports and risk mitigation plans to restore the operation of wide-bodied aircraft. It was following pressure from various quarters that the DGCA gave a no-objection certificate to Saudia to operate two types of aircraft under Code E.

He recalled that an Emirates Boeing 747 flight with 424 passengers and carrying 26 tonnes of cargo had landed at the airport during floods last year. Several aircraft, as part of relief operations, carrying around 800 tonnes of cargo, also conducted services from the airport then. This showed that the runway of the airport had the capacity to handle jumbo flights, Mr. Chakkunny said.

He said an international terminal building constructed at a cost of ₹120 crore was opened at the airport in March. Besides, several companies such as flydubai and Spicejet began new services, while Air India commenced services to Jeddah.

Following protests, the State government was also compelled to reduce tax on Aviation Turbine Fuel from 29.4% to 5%. A reduction of 14% was also given to landing and parking at the airport. Thus several steps had been taken to revive the airport.

But the delay in giving approval to Emirates and Air India to operate wide-bodied aircraft is causing hurdles to the development of the airport, he said.

Mr. Chakkunny said airline companies had increased airfares five to 10 times the normal rates following huge demand due to reasons including the grounding of eight Boeing 737 Max jets and Jet Airways suspending operations.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 1:27:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/call-to-let-ai-emirates-operate-code-e-flights-from-calicut-airport/article27085583.ece

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