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Kochi: While Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is determined to see his pet Air Kerala project take off by April 14, 2013, aviation experts yesterday opined that unless prudence was shown, it would end up the way of numerous other state-owned enterprises.
P K Devidas, an aviation professional with more than four-and-a-half decades of operational experience at the highest level with international airlines, said the simple rule that Chandy should adopt was to ensure that businessmen, bureaucrats and politicians were kept away from the proposed airline.
“Thorough professionals in the aviation industry should be recruited and they should be given full responsibility and made accountable. If those with no airline experience are recruited, it would end up as a miserable failure, as we have seen in our country in the aviation industry,” said Devidas.
The Kerala government will apply to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) next month with the preliminary capital of Rs1bn. As of now, the rules state that an airline can fly on international routes only after operating in the domestic sector for five years. But Chandy is hoping that with a battery of central ministers from Kerala, pressure can be applied to get rules relaxed.
Batting for Air Kerala is union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, who wanted the central government to give exemption on the condition that the proposed airline should operate on domestic routes for a stipulated period of time.
E M Najeeb, another veteran aviation professional said the project sounds interesting but it has to go through lot of hurdles, both technical and otherwise.
“Once a relaxation is made by the central government for Air Kerala, other players will also seek similar exemptions. In a way, this would be beneficial because then there would be even more competition than today with more airlines jumping into the fray, thereby turning beneficial to Keralites in the Middle-East, where the market for Air Kerala lies,” said Najeeb. IANS