The State government has made a strong pitch for opening the Kannur international airport for foreign carriers.
At a meeting of airline CEOs convened by the State and the Civil Aviation Ministry here on Saturday, V. Thulasidas, Managing Director, Kannur International Airport Limited, sought the inclusion of the Kannur airport in the ASEAN Open Skies policy. (Open Skies policy allows airlines from ASEAN member States to fly freely throughout the region by liberalising air services under a single air transport market.)
18 airports on list
Mr. Thulasidas said the three other international airports in the State had been included on the list of 18 airports from the country in the ASEAN Open Skies policy. The tag would help foreign carriers from Malaysia and Singapore to operate to Kannur.
Of the 25 daily flights to and from Kannur, only seven are international and they are operated by Indian carriers. Airlines which are not operating flights to airports outside Kerala despite a bilateral pact should be allowed to fly to Kannur.
At the meeting, representatives of several airlines including Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Etihad, Qatar said they are ready to fly to Kannur once clearance was given by the Civil Aviation Ministry.
In the case of Thiruvananthapuram international airport, Civil Aviation Principal Secretary K.R. Jyothilal pointed out that 645 flights were reduced in 2018-19 and 1,579, including 1,005 international flights, in the April-June period of this fiscal. This was a big concern as the capital was poised to attract investment in the IT sector in a big way.
Mr. Jyothilal said IT companies are recruiting one lakh more personnel and investing in a big way in Thiruvananthapuram. A deepwater seaport and an e-mobilty hub were coming up in the State capital. The airport was frequented by international tourists, he said, seeking more connectivity for it.