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Kerala Govt to go ahead with budget airliner proposal

By Staff
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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 22 (UNI) Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said his government will continue to exert pressure on the Centre to accord clearance for 'Air Kerala' to cater to the growing demand for a budget airlier to Gulf destinations.

Talking to newspersons here after a meeting of the State Cabinet, the Chief Minister said though the initial response from the Centre was not encouraging, there was no going back for his government on the issue.

''We are planning to launch Air Kerala not with a profit-motive.

So the Central Government should not impose norms applicable to private airlines to operate in the international sector, like five years' experience in domestic sector and minimum fleet of 20 aircraft,'' he added.

Stating that a company had already been registered for running Air Kerala, he said relaxation given to the Air India Express should be applicable it also.

''Our proposed fare will be very low as compared to other airlines to Gulf destinations. Fifteen seats in each flight will be reserved for those coming to the home state after a gap of five years and the fare for those seats would be only 25 per cent of the normal fare,'' he added.

Referring to the Kannur airport project, he said the government was awaiting the final clearance from the Centre. The proposal was to set up the airport in north Kerala with public-private participation or on BOT basis.

UNI CR GM RL KN1446

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