Kerala to set up own airline

Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), the company which operates Kochi International airport, plans to enter airline services with the launch of a separate company.

At a board meeting on Saturday, the company's directors revived the proposal for the launch of an independent airline and entrusted its managing director, V J Kurian, to submit a feasibility report in four months.

Air Kerala, the proposed airline, would start operations in association with the Kerala government with a preliminary capital base of Rs200 crore.

Chief minister Oommen Chandy and chairman, CIAL, said that a company, Air Kerala International Services Limited, had already been formed for the purpose, with the objective of providing budget airline services to NRKs (non resident Keralites) mainly in the West Asia region.

Official statistics show that 3 million Keralites are working abroad with 2 million being in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

However, the Gulf routes that the new airline intended to take up, were currently reserved only for Air-India and Indian Airlines.