Air India’s decision to withdraw its daily flight service from Mumbai to Madurai via Chennai has come as a rude shock to the trade and industry in Southern Tamil Nadu.
Stating that this was one of the traditional services operated since 1992, S Rethinavelu, senior president, Tamilnadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said withdrawal of the service would severely impact the growth of trade and industry in TN’s southern districts.
Jet Airways withdrew its four daily ATR flights from Madurai to Chennai and one flight to Bengaluru from July 1. Coming within a fortnight of Jet Airways’ announcement, Air India’s decision to discontinue its services is perceived as a plot to downplay the growth and importance of Madurai Airport, Rethinavelu said.
The airport registered a maximum growth of over 47 per cent in passenger traffic from 9.79 lakh in 2016-17 to 14.43 lakh in 2017-18.
Madurai airport expansion is underway, scheduled to be carried out in three phases and completed in 18 months. Seven more parking bays have been proposed to facilitate the operation of more flights during peak hours and parking of carriers in the night.
Considering these developments and ever-increasing passenger traffic, domestic airliners should have opted for operation of more number of flights to and from Madurai and not discontinue their existing flight services, Rethinavelu contended.