Logistics

Expats in UAE demand more flights home

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on July 04, 2011

Indian associations demanded that Air India operate direct air services between Ras Al Khaimah and Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmadabad and Chennai

Members of eight major Indian associations representing the Indian community in Ras Al Khaimah have called on the Indian Government to increase the number of flights between cities in India and Ras Al Khaimah.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to more than two million Indians. While Dubai makes up the greatest percentage, there are huge communities in other emirates, said Mr S.A. Saleem, President of Indian Association in Ras Al Khaimah and Chairman of Indian School, Ras Al Khaimah.

NO CHOICE

Around 4.5 lakh Indians alone reside in the catchment area of Ras Al Khaimah, who have no choice but to travel to the likes of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah airports. This results in detours of anything between one hour and three hours by road in addition to the two to three-hour check-in, making it a very arduous journey, especially for families.

These people would be much better served through Ras Al Khaimah Airport but there is only one flight operating from this airport to one city in India.

EASY ACCESS

Mr Saleem added that Ras Al Khaimah Airport is fully equipped to operate international flights to India.

The Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah Airport and Ras Al Khaimah Civil Aviation are both on record as welcoming Indian carriers to operate from this airport.

However, it appears that the return gesture from the carriers in India is not forthcoming, Mr Saleem said. They should know that the airport in Ras Al Khaimah caters to the whole of northern Emirates with easy access.

Office bearers of eight associations appealed to the Chief Minister, Kerala, and the Union Civil Aviation Minister, who is also the Minister for Welfare of Overseas Indians, to look into this matter.

They demanded that Air India operate direct air services between Ras Al Khaimah and the cities of Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmadabad, Chennai or allow the national carrier of Ras Al Khaimah to operate to these sectors.

HOLIDAY SEASON

This should be done ideally in readiness for the commencement of the school holidays next month as the majority of families will be travelling during this period.

If no favourable actions were taken in this regard, the various associations would encourage the community to even boycott Air India during the holiday season.

India is an excellent investment destination for the UAE while, on the other hand, more than 1,000 Indian companies are operating out of Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone.

A majority of these investors are from Kerala, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.

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Published on July 04, 2011
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