Kerala

AIE comes to the rescue of farmers in Kerala, T.N.

Fruits and vegetables being loaded into Air India Express on Tuesday at the Kozhikode airport.  

Air India Express (AIE) has come to the rescue of farmers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and exporters by lifting fruits and vegetables to West Asian countries using B-737-800 aircraft.

The AIE has stepped in to ensure export of perishables to West Asia that got stalled following the ban on international commercial passenger flights from March 23 to contain the COVID-19. Besides earning valuable foreign exchange, hundreds of Non-Resident Indians in West Asia, especially in the seven emirates in the UAE and Kuwait, have benefited from the AIE’s act.

Securing the permission of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the AIE has so far operated five all-cargo flights from the State to Sharjah. The all-cargo flight from Kozhikode to Kuwait was on Tuesday and another from Kochi to Abu Dhabi is scheduled for Wednesday.

25 aircraft

From its 25 aircraft in the fleet, the AIE has positioned two each in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode and one each in the Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, and Mumbai airports for operating all cargo flights.

“The airline is using the cabin also to ship the fruits and vegetables, the most sought-after items among the NRIs, after securing DGCA approval and by following SOP. With this, 16 tonnes of perishable cargo can be sent,” airline sources said. The AIE has plans to operate all-cargo flight from Cochin to Singapore to help mango farmers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

CEO of the AIE Shyam Sundar K. has asked exporters to contact airport officers of the airline for assistance. The Agricultural Products and Processed Food Exporters Association (APPEXA) says 70% of the exports are fruits, including plantain varieties. As much as 95% of the perishables are procured from Valiyoor, Kalakkad, Nagercoil, Tirunelveli, Cumbom, and Theni.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 11:20:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/aie-comes-to-the-rescue-of-farmers-in-kerala-tn/article31399896.ece

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