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Emirates plans for Kerala put on hold due to Lok Sabha elections

FE Bureau
Sources in Calicut Airport told FE that Emirates delegation was positive about having operations in Calicut too

Indian poll process has inadvertently put a hold on the homeward flight options of Kerala s Gulf diaspora. DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation) is yet to take a call on the plea from Calicut International Airport to issue an NOC (no-objection certificate) to the proposed Emirates operation to Calicut.

A team of top-level technical experts from Emirates had completed inspection of the the airport. Sources in Calicut Airport told FE that Emirates delegation was positive about having operations in Calicut too, after their services in two other Kerala airports and the AAI (Airports Authority of India) had forwarded the application for allowing services.

The DGCA has been sitting pretty on the NOC request, only because the one month-long election code of conduct in India is yet to be lifted. The decision might come, once the election process is complete, says a senior AAI offical.

Emirates is an active aviation player in South Indian airports with multiple flights everyday in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

However, since North Kerala has an enormous job footprint in Gulf countries, the demand is higher. The state has over 20 lakh people, working in West Asian countries. The huge demand-supply gap has started putting the Gulf-bound passenger from Kerala on the squeeze, after the withdrawal of Jet Air . We are at a loss for travel options, says Jessy Kurian, a nurse in Kuwait.

From Kochi airport alone, Jet had 42 weekly flight in the international sector and 28 in the domestic sector, currently leaving room for aviation players like Emirates.

Meanwhile, an Emirates spokesman said that the company couldn t comment on speculation and that any announcement regarding new services would be made at an appropriate time .