Jet-Kingfisher merger haunts Andaman's tourism sector

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Port Blair, Oct 15 (UNI) The Andaman tourism industry, already in blues due to various factors, is now foreseeing further losses following the recent Jet and Kingfisher Airways merger.

The absence of low cost airlines like Spicejet and IndiGO in Andaman has generated fears of complete monopoly of Jet-Kingfisher alliance in Andaman-Mainland Sector.

The tourism sector of the Islands was hit hard by the devastating tsunami in December 2004.

'' Now they can dictate terms here and airfares will be definitely costly in the Andaman Sector. The only alternative will be the Indian Airlines, which means stepping back to square one, as it was a decade ago, '' Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry General Secretary G Bhasker told UNI today.

Other Airlines operating in the Andaman Sector like Deccan and Jetlite have already been taken over by the Jet-Kingfisher Alliance, making the jounrey to Islands costly.

'' This is a bad news since we depend largely on tourists who prefer low-cost airlines, '' Mr Bhasker added.

Last year, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands recorded an arrival of more than 1,75,000 tourists due to the Centre's LTC package, who absence had drastically reduced such count.

''The Jet-Kingfisher merger would be another massive blow for Andaman Tourism Industry, which is already reeling under the curse of the 2004 tsunami,'' Andaman Tour Operators' Association president M Vinod said.

Meanwhile, the Andaman Chamber of Commerce and the local associations, related to tourism, were planning to request Spicejet to restart operations in Andaman-Mainland Sector, in a bid to revive the tourism sector.

UNI SKR SB DB1947

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