Kerala

Passengers from KIAL seek reduced ticket fares, more flights

Compared to other airports such as Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, KIAL remains way behind in terms of aircraft movement and handling of domestic and international passengers

Compared to other airports such as Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, KIAL remains way behind in terms of aircraft movement and handling of domestic and international passengers | Photo Credit: File Photo

When Kannur International Airport (KIAL) commenced operations in 2018, people had hopes of getting connected to various destinations, both domestic and international. But, the lack of air connectivity and higher ticket fares are bothering passengers and creating hurdles to the growth of the airport.

The passengers feel that in the absence of airlines, the existing fares in Kannur are exorbitantly high. When some of the airlines charge between ₹20,000 and ₹30,000 for tickets to Doha and Sharjah from Kannur, the prices are substantially lower from Kozhikode and Cochin airports. It is no different for domestic destinations as well.

Only a few airline companies, namely Air India Express, IndiGo, Go First and Air India are now operating at the airport. There are many ongoing discussions with companies such as SpiceJet and Vistara. However, with the Ministry of Civil Aviation refusing to grant ‘point of call’ status to the Kannur airport, the prospect of several foreign airlines, which had expressed interest, starting services from Kannur has dampened.

Only if more airlines are allowed, the rates will fall and subsequently the passenger traffic will increase, said C. Jayachandran of DISA (Developing Infrastructure Scientifically and Aesthetically).

Compared to other airports such as Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, KIAL remains way behind in terms of aircraft movement and handling of domestic and international passengers. According to the Airport Authority of India, Kochi airport remains on top of the table in Kerala as far as aircraft and passenger movements are concerned for the financial year of 2021–22. Kannur airport had the lowest passenger traffic of 7.99 lakh in the same financial year. In terms of aircraft movement as well, Kannur had a lower number than rest of the international airports in the State.

Taking the data into consideration, Subhash Murikenchery, chief operating officer of KIAL, said that it would be too early to compare the Kannur airport with other old and matured airports in the State. He said it will take some more time for the market and airline companies to recover in the post COVID period. Companies are not ready to take risk now, he added.

Mr. Murikenchery said that it is not appropriate to hurry and discuss with airline companies to commence operations to destinations that would subsequently be halted due to lack of passengers. There is now no scope for services to Europe or even Southeast Asia, he said, and added that flights cannot be operated on the emotions of people.

“We are looking for routes that are viable. There are discussions going on with some airline companies and in the coming days at least three new domestic and two new international services will be finalised,” he assured.


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Printable version | May 16, 2022 8:21:46 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/passengers-from-kial-seek-reduced-ticket-fares-more-flights/article65417012.ece