Re-introduce Chennai-Tokyo direct flight, Chief Minister urges Centre

The Hindu Bureau
Re-introduce Chennai-Tokyo direct flight, Chief Minister urges Centre

The Chennai-Tokyo direct flight was discontinued during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reuters

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Thursday, 1st June 2023
Page No. 2
Chennai Print Edition

On his way back from Tokyo, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Wednesday wrote to Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia, requesting him to re-introduce direct flight connectivity between Tokyo and Chennai. He also sought more flights between Singapore and Madurai.

The Chief Minister visited Japan and Singapore to invite industrialists to the Global Investors’ Meet in Chennai in January.

The direct flight between Chennai and Tokyo, launched in October 2019 by All Nippon Airways (ANA), was discontinued during the COVID-19 pandemic, he pointed out.

“The lack of direct flight connectivity more than doubles the travel time between these two destinations by about seven hours, which is significant. There have been persistent requests from the Japanese business community in Tamil Nadu to resume direct flight services between Chennai and Tokyo,” he said.

Increased influx

Several Japanese conglomerates such as Nissan, Toshiba, Yamaha, Komatsu, Mitsubishi and Hitachi had set up manufacturing facilities in Tamil Nadu. Of the 12 industrial townships established in India under the Japan-India Investment Promotion Partnership Program, three were in Tamil Nadu. With over 600 Japanese companies having establishments in the State for the past two decades, the influx of Japanese expatriates had gradually increased. Chennai was home to the largest Japanese community in India, Mr. Stalin said.

“At the same time, Japan also has a significant Tamil diaspora, particularly professionals in fields related to Information Technology and finance. As a result, there has been a steady strengthening of economic and cultural relations between Tamil Nadu and Japan, and people-to-people relationships in the form of tourism are also growing,” the Chief Minister said.

Singapore connectivity

Singapore had nearly 4 lakh people of Tamil origin, who maintained links with their native towns and villages, predominantly in southern Tamil Nadu. Further, many people travelled from the southern districts of Tamil Nadu to Singapore for employment, the Chief Minister said.

“While there are multiple daily flights between Singapore and Chennai and Tiruchi and one daily flight between Singapore and Coimbatore, there is only a tri-weekly flight between Singapore and Madurai. This need for more flight services between Singapore and Madurai was raised by the Minister for Home Affairs and Law of the Government of Singapore, K. Shanmugam, when he met me,” Mr. Stalin said.

A similar request was made by many members of the Tamil diaspora in Singapore, Mr. Stalin said. “I would be grateful if the request for permitting more flights between Singapore and Madurai is favourably considered,” he added.

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