In a blow to Kerala, the Union Ministry has denied the state’s request to start service of foreign carriers from Kannur airport. Kerala raised the request via a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister on July 13. The state has plenty of NRIs, and international travel has a huge demand in the state. According to Kerala, adding international airlines would have benefitted the passengers.
Kerala was targeting the services of Etihad and Emirates from Kannur airport. It was also planning to introduce connection flights to Europe.
However, the Central Government said that the decision to reject the services of foreign carriers is to support the domestic airline companies. In the reply, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh mentioned that there is a significant imbalance in the number of points of call in favour of foreign carriers. Hence, Government is not allowing any non-metro airports like Kannur International airport to have the services of foreign airlines.
However, Singh said that any Indian carriers are free to conduct scheduled flights to and from any international airports to foreign destinations. There are bilateral air service agreements between India and foreign countries, and the carriers have to adhere to the contracts to conduct the services.
Kerala accuses Central Government of stalling the development of Kannur airport
The decision has not gone well with Kerala. On Tuesday, people conducted a march against the Centre to the Governor’s residence, protesting the decision. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accused the Central Government of stalling the development of Kannur airport. He made the remarks while speaking at the protest.
The Minister blamed the Central Government for side-lining Kerala, which goes against the democratic practice.
Kannur airport is one of the fastest-growing airports in India. Within one year, Indian airlines operated 65 international services per week from the airport. Pandemic left a dent in the operations, but the pace was increasing in recent times.
Kannur airport is Kerala’s fourth international airport. Kerala is trying to get its fifth airport to facilitate pilgrims to Sabarimala, one of the famous temples of the state that witnesses visit from people worldwide.