Free flights for Kerala expats away for long

Published on: 03 Oct, 2015
Published under: General Kerala News

The Kerala government on Wednesday assured free flights home to expatriates from the state working in the Middle-East who have not been able to visit home for more than five years.

Announcing this after the weekly cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media that with the government has decided to move on this swiftly as its “dream project” Air Kerala is stuck in civil aviation red tape.

“The whole purpose of Air Kerala was to charge reasonable air fares from the Kerala diaspora. We all know that numerous airlines operating the route are just fleecing passengers from the Middle-East,” he said.

“For this, our Diaspora Minister KC Joseph has got in touch with various Kerala associations in the Middle-East to prepare a list of people who have not returned home for 10 years, seven years and five years.

Chandy said some airlines have offered the Kerala government free seats and sponsors have come forward to charter flights for the diaspora who have not ben able to travel because of the high air fares.

Striking a personal note, Kerala’s chief minister quoted a recent example when a man could not come home to attend his daughter’s wedding. “Even though his friends were willing to foot his airfare, he sent that money to his family to be used for marriage expenses.”

Air Kerala is yet to take off because the present aviation rules require an airline to operate for five years in the domestic sector and possess at least 20 aircraft before it can get permission to fly on international routes.

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