THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state’s domestic air passengers have often found it tough as they are made to schedule their journey according to the timings of the circular services, which connect with overseas destinations or cities outside Kerala. It is set to change with Kannur having added to the aviation map. Two airlines have come forward, offering inter-city services inside the state, much to the passengers’ convenience. The move will force airlines to offer competitive rates as well.
Trivandrum International Airport Director C V Ravindran said Go Air will start its operations from the city to Kannur on March 1 while Indigo will begin Trivandrum-Kochi-Kannur daily service from March 31.
Indigo, for instance, is eyeing office goers and business community. Its flight will depart Kochi at 9.05 am and reach Thiruvananthapuram at 9.50 am while another one, which leaves Kochi at 6.30 pm, will reach the capital at 7.15 pm.
In return direction, a flight will leave Thiruvananthapuram at 7.35 pm and reach Kochi at 8.20 pm. The airline company is offering a similar flight from Kannur to Kochi and the capital city in the peak hours, although Kozhikode is absent from their services.
The Air India Express was one of the segment leaders so far in the state, with its aircraft heading to overseas destinations connecting cities like Kochi and Kozhikode, and Trivandrum and Kozhikode.
More than the domestic service offered to the city passengers, aircraft were more less used as feeder service by picking passengers from two different cities to the overseas destinations and vice-versa.
Sources said, daily intra-state services have an average load factor of 40-50 passengers. Further, Air India and Indigo have been offering daily services from Kochi to Trivandrum and vice-versa. The only thing is Kozhikode is yet to figure in the schedule of domestic airlines, which look forward to cash in on the state’s burgeoning middle class.
IATA Agents Association of India national president Biji Eapen said: “On-time performance and suitable timing for the passengers really matter. So far the passengers have to plan their journey according to the timings of the circular flight service.
If the flights are offered at convenient timings inside the state, there would not be any issue of lack of passengers on the domestic routes inside the state. Moreover, the state government should ensure connectivity from airports to nearest cities as all four airports in the state are located outside the city,” he said.