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Govt Monitors Airfares to and from Kerala; Joint Aviation Team Inspects Kochi Air Base

The government also said that higher airfares highlighted in some social media posts were for hopping and very long-duration flights.

PTI

Updated:August 19, 2018, 9:11 PM IST
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Govt Monitors Airfares to and from Kerala; Joint Aviation Team Inspects Kochi Air Base
More people prefer airplanes then A/C coaches of train.
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New Delhi: The Centre on Sunday said airfares for domestic direct flights to and from Kerala ranged from Rs 3,395 to Rs 6,999 on shorter routes and Rs 6,017 to Rs 10,000 on longer ones, amidst allegations that passengers were being charged exorbitantly in the state which is facing one of the worst floods in a century.

The government also said that higher airfares highlighted in some social media posts were for hopping and very long-duration flights.

The statement comes on a day a joint team of aviation bodies and the CISF inspected the Cochin Naval Base to assess the feasibility of operating commercial planes from there to aid rescue efforts and ease connectivity to the state.

The Kochi International Airport, the seventh busiest in the country, has been shut till August 26 in the wake of the devastating floods that have claimed close to 200 lives in the past 10 days.

"Monitoring of airfare carried out on 19 Aug 2018 has revealed that maximum fares on various domestic non-stop direct routes to/from Kerala and nearby airports on ranging from Rs 3395 to Rs 6999 for shorter routes and from Rs 6017 to around Rs 10000 on longer routes," the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said, "Scheduled domestic airlines have also been advised to ensure that airfares for flights to/from Trivandrum and Calicut airports in Kerala and nearby airports i.e. Mangalore and Coimbatore are kept at optimal level proportionate to sector distance".

Meanwhile, the government approved a schedule submitted by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, to operate 70-seater ATR aircraft from the Cochin Naval Base.

It will operate two flights between Bengaluru and Kochi starting Monday and one flight between Bengaluru-Coimbatore-Cochin-Coimbatore-Bengaluru sector.

The Centre also said a joint team of multiple aviation-related bodies and CISF inspected the Cochin Naval Base, a day after announcing operation of commercial flights from the base from Monday to aid rescue efforts.

Prabhu also said the watch hour at Vijayawada and Begumpet airports has been extended to faciliate relief operations by IAF aircraft. Watch hours refers to the time during which the airport remains open for operation.

"A Joint team comprising representatives from DGCA, BCAS, CISF, AAI and Indian Navy carried out inspection of #Cochin Naval Base on Sunday to check the feasibility of scheduled operations from there," Prabhu tweeted.

Besides, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is in contact with three private helicopter operators to carry out relief operations after a request was received from the Kerala government. The DGCA has permitted two helicopter operators — M/s Ghodawat and M/s Devengere — for aerial dropping of flood relief material.

Prabhu said scheduled domestic airlines have started additional flights to and from Trivandrum, Calicut and Coimbatore airports to minimise passenger inconvenience. Nine foreign carriers have also rescheduled their flights to and from Trivandrum, he informed in his tweets.

"Scheduled domestic airlines have also been advised to ensure that airfares for flights to/from Trivandrum and Calicut airports in Kerala and nearby airports i.e. Mangalore and Coimbatore are kept at optimal level proportionate to sector distance," he tweeted.

National carrier Air India has waived off cargo charges for transportation of medicine and other materials to Kerala.

An Air India spokesperson said the resident commissioners of Kerala in different states would be the nodal authority through whom the relief would be dispatched via Air India flights.
| Edited by: Naqshib Nisar
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