Air Kerala possible with relaxed aviation rules: NRI businessman

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 2: Air Kerala – a dream project of the Kerala government to own an airline in the PPP mode – would be a success in case the Centre relaxes certain civil aviation rules, a Kerala businessman said on Friday.

“Funds are not a problem. The only thing that holds back this project is the civil aviation rules of the central government,” said George V. Nereaparambil, who has his business headquarters in the United Arab Emirates.

Under the civil aviation policy, companies are permitted to fly on international routes after five years of national operations and with a fleet of minimum 20 aircraft.

“I have full faith in Air Kerala’s success and people are certain to make huge investments in it. To begin with, we need just seven aircraft and flights to seven Middle East countries from the three airports in Kerala,” said the 61-year-old entrepreneur who hails from Thrissur.

Nereaparambil said equity for the project could be raised by issuing shares. “Using the equity money, one can avail of loans from international market at very, very low rates. Aircraft can be taken on lease, to begin with,” he said.

Nereaparambil and his family with 14 percent share are the single largest shareholders in Cochin International Airport Limited, the country’s first airport constructed in the private-public participation mode.