Air India, Saudi Airlines will soon start three services each

Kochi: Air India and Saudi Airlines will start three services each from Kerala to Saudi Arabia, says union civil aviation secretary and AI chairman K Roy Paul.

A new international terminal will be started at Karipur by spending Rs 90 crore and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) is also prepared to invest Rs 50 crore in the Kochi International Airport Company. The willingness regarding this has been conveyed to the chief minister. Since AI has already given Rs 5 crore, the central government's share will go up to 55 per cent.

The existing share of the state is 52.5 crore. The prospects of making available the shares of Nedumbassery Airport in the capital market is being thought about, says managing director C Babu Rajeev.

The hangar at Nedumbassery will be built only after the type of aircraft that AI buys is decided. New locks will be built separately for domestic and international terminals. The building proposed to be built will be opposite to the existing one.

The state government has agreed to hand over the land needed for the development. The duty of the construction is with the AAI. The private sector will also be considered, if they are interested. The estimated cost is Rs 150 crore.

Direct flight services to Riyadh, where there is a substantial Malayalee population, are available only from Mumbai. As per the agreement with the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority, India has given the approval for three flight services by Saudi Airlines. It is as a reciprocal gesture since AI was allowed to operate three services.