Air India denies reports of cancellation of flights

November 2nd, 2010 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 2 (IANS) Air India has denied reports in a section of the media here that the national airline has resorted to widespread cancellation of flights from Kerala to various destinations in the Middle East.

The reports said Air India had cancelled more than 400 flights in its new winter schedule which extends till the end of February next year.

“The news that more than 400 flights till next February have been cancelled is far from the truth,” Abey George, public relations officer Air India in the state, told IANS.

“In the month of July, Air India had cancelled some flights and at the director board meeting of the airline in August, it was decided to reinstate flights which has a 50 per cent load factor. What all flights which were there in operation till last month will continue in our present schedule till early next year,” added George.

Air India Express operates from Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.

Aviation industry sources, however, say the load factor is the weakest during the off season beginning August and end of November and there have been instances when Air India flights with a seating capacity of 155 flies with less than 10 passengers during this period.

In September, Air India had come out with a detailed list of 203 cancelled flights– 73 from Kozhikode, 74 from Thiruvananthapuram and 56 from Kochi.

K.V.Muraleedharan, president of the Kerala Association of Travel Agents, said there had been a concerted attempt by a certain section which is against shifting the Air India Express headquarters from Mumbai to Thiruvananthapuram.

“To achieve this, there will be attempts to withdraw Air India flights from the state,” said Muraleedharan.

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