Airlines to fly more on the Kerala-Gulf route

Debabrata Das Mumbai | Updated on August 26, 2011


Domestic airlines are looking at Kerala to being new routes to West Asia in an attempt to raise the percentage of filled seats in a plane, known as seat factor.

In the last three months, Jet Airways and Air India Express have both announced plans to increase their operations between Kerala and West Asia with plans to begin three new services.

Low-cost carrier, IndiGo which recently started international operations from Delhi and Mumbai, is also eyeing Kerala as a potential market to connect to the West Asian region.

Air India announced the launch of a four times a week service between Delhi-Damam-Calicut and also extended its daily service on the Kochi-Sharjah route to include Delhi.

Meanwhile, Jet Airways is set to start daily flights from Thiruvananthapuram to Sharjah from October 30.

The airline already has a daily flight from Kochi to Sharjah and the additional service will add to the number of daily flights between Kerala and the Gulf.

Business Travellers to benefit

The opening of the new services will come as a boon for business travellers.

Passengers would get a wide range of timing options as well as airlines to choose from. At the moment, airlines such as Air India, Jet Airways, Air Arabia and Emirates operate out of Kerala. But others are also on their way. IndiGo's President, Mr Aditya Ghosh, added that the airline would look to expand their international services from South India, especially Kerala to tap into the lucrative West Asian route.

“We believe that this new route has the potential to serve the needs of our corporate and business travellers, especially from the South,” said Mr Nikos Kardassis, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways.

Advantage Airlines

According to analysts, more and more airlines are starting services from Kerala to the Gulf because of multiple advantages.

“Airlines can deploy a narrow-body aircraft on such routes which ensures a high seat factor. On an average the Gulf routes register seat factors of 75-80 per cent,” said an industry official.

“The other and a more significant advantage is that the aircraft can refuel in the Gulf where Aviation Turbine Fuel prices are cheaper. Another reason why Kerala is so popular for the Gulf routes is that the quota of flights between Kerala and the Gulf, as per the Air Services Agreement, is not yet exhausted,” he added.

With airport charges also cheaper for Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, it becomes a win-win situation for airlines grappling with increasing costs of operation.

Published on August 26, 2011

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