THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a move that could bring cheers to the business diaspora in Japan, the state government has written to the Air India Managing Director requesting to start direct flight service between Japan and Thiruvananthapuram with a stopover at either Bangkok or Singapore.
According to senior government officers, the state government has shot off a letter to the Air India MD seeking direct flight service in the backdrop of multinational companies from the Far East making investments in Kerala.
According to a senior bureaucrat, Nissan Motors of Japan, which has set up a digital innovation hub in Thiruvananthapuram, and global brands like Fujitsu and Hitachi are aiming to make investments in key sectors in Kerala. Hence, it is vital to ensure air connectivity between various destinations beyond the traditional routes like the Gulf, the officer said.
Recently, the SilkAir airline which connects Thiruvananthapuram with Singapore had decided to transfer its route to Scoot, the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines Group, along with its Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam routes, a move which upset the industrialists from East Asia, especially Japan, as they want business-class connectivity to the capital city here.
There is a steady flow of air pax to destinations like Thailand and Singapore from Kerala and other south Indian cities with daily flights. So, if Air India starts a flight service from Thiruvananthapuram with a stopover at either Bangkok or Singapore, it would be convenient for the business class community here as well as in Japan.Also, the airline will be able to meet its required passenger strength since there is a steady movement of holidayers from here to Thailand or passengers to Singapore, he said.
According to SN Raghuchandran Nair, president, Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce, the capital city employs around 75,000 IT professionals alone in key sectors. “In the changing scenario, air connectivity to main metro cities across the country from Thiruvananthapuram in the morning and evening is very important along with Far East connectivity,” he said.
Companies from Japan, Korea and China will be the key players who will be making key investments in Kerala in the coming years. So, it is the responsibility of the state government to ensure business-class connectivity with these destinations by linking either Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, he said.
Further, the KSIDC - the nodal agency for bringing investments to the state - filing a case against the private company which is set to take over the Trivandrum airport, even after the KSIDC failed to make the cut in competitive bidding for the same airport, is not a wise decision. Moreover, it would send a wrong signal about Kerala to the business community within and outside the country, he said.
Hope takes flight
● Kerala writes to Air India MD requesting to start a direct flight between T’Puram and Japan connecting Bangkok or Singapore
●The request was made in the backdrop of the arrival of companies like Nissan, Fujitsu, Hitachi and Tech Mahindra, etc in the state
●The biz community requires ‘business-class’ connectivity, while major airlines serving the Far East routes from Kerala are budget airlines like Scoot, Malindo, Air Asia, Indigo, etc.