Lok Sabha members from North Kerala has raised various concerns regarding the ticket pricing, non-availability of flights to certain areas, etc. to the aviation minister Hardeep S. Puri in a meeting held in Delhi. One of the major issues discussed was the pricing anomaly practised by Air India. The airline adopts a dynamic pricing system for the tickets, where the airline will charge higher fares if the journey date is nearer to the booking date. According to the Members of Parliament, the system makes the tickets unaffordable for the blue collars Gulf workers from the North Malabar region.
“Blue-collar NRIs in the Gulf were unable to afford the high price of air tickets even when a national carrier like Air India resorted to the practice adopted by private airline companies,” Kozhikode MP, M.K. Raghavan, said.
Although Minister Puri has assured to seek a solution from the airline, he also pointed out that the passengers have to plan their journey, at least before two months.
Minister has also assured a follow-up in the matter of Calicut airport on introducing new flights in both domestic and international sectors. Although many airlines have received approvals to operate flights from the airport under the Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), many airlines have not commenced their operations citing various reasons.
The Members of the Parliament also raised a demand to the aviation minister to launch flights to South East Asia from Calicut International airport. According to the ministers, there are proposals from airline companies like Air Asia, Malindo Air and Malaysian Airlines to operate non-stop daily flights to Kuala Lumpur. Few trips have to be operated to Singapore as well.
MP Raghavan also pointed out that Calicut airport requires some developmental works, including the widening of the roads to the airport. The Government has also delayed the land acquisition for the expansion of the airport.