The proposed ‘Air Kerala’ is unlikely to make a dent in the market-share of Air India’s international budget arm Air India Express,which hopes to post operating profit next fiscal,airline sources said.
“We are currently competing with 16 players. So addition of one or two players will make hardly any difference,” Air India Express sources told PTI here.
Low-cost Air Kerala,to be set up by Kerala government,was planning an April launch,but is yet to get Centre’s nod.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s spokesperson said,”The government is very keen on the project and is awaiting the go-ahead from the aviation ministry. Many NRKs have evinced keen interest.”
Kerala,with three international airports,is served by ten international carriers apart from domestic players Air India Express,Air India,IndiGo and Jet Airways. AI Express operates to ten destinations in the Gulf from Kerala.
Last September,Chandy revived the state’s plan (announced back in 2006) to launch Air Kerala following a massive hike in ticket rates on the Gulf-Kerala sector as well as frequent flight cancellations by AI Express during the period.
About 2.5 million Keralites work and live in the West Asia.