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Private airlines may fly to Agatti

Special Correspondent

Minister issues directives to rationalise fare

NEW DELHI: Private domestic airlines may begin operations on the Agatti-Kochi sector where only Indian Airlines offer air connectivity between Kerala and Lakshwadweep.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel on Wednesday asked his Ministry to take up the issue of starting operations on the Agatti-Kochi sector by private airlines as well. He also said that possibilities would be explored to begin air services on the Agatti-Goa sector by Indian Airlines and other carriers.

The issue of irregular flight service of Indian Airlines between Agatti and Kochi came up for discussion at a meeting which Mr. Patel took with the top officials of Indian Airlines. He directed IA officials for restoring the service immediately and ensuring the regular service in future. As the Agatti -Kochi sector has the highest fare a kilometre, directives were issued for rationalising the fare on this sector immediately.

The demand of the Islanders for extension of airstrip at Agatti with night- landing facilities and the construction of airport at Androth and Minicoy were also discussed. The provision of ATR on the Agatti-Kochi sector by Indian Airlines should be in place as soon as possible as per directions of the Minister.

The long-pending grievances of the pilot and crew deployed on Agatti- Kochi sector were discussed and a decision was taken to regularise the services of the pilot, co-pilot and cabin crew in IA.

The Minister directed that the Agatti-Kochi sector should not be discontinued under any circumstances except in unavoidable circumstances or bad weather.

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