Kerala floods: DGCA monitoring airfares, says Suresh Prabhu

Kochi: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is constantly monitoring airfares on 32 direct routes operating to or from Trivandrum, Calicut, Coimbatore and Mangalore, and has even set up a control room – working 24×7 – to aid stranded passengers due to flight cancellations in Kochi, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Sunday.

“Scheduled domestic airlines have also been advised to ensure that airfares for flights to or from Trivandrum and Calicut airports in Kerala and nearby airports i.e. Mangalore and Coimbatore are kept at an optimal level proportionate to sector distance. Accordingly, airlines have been advised to cap the maximum fare at around Rs 10,000 for longer routes and around Rs 8,000 for shorter routes to or from Kerala and nearby airports,” Prabhu tweeted.

“DGCA is constantly monitoring airfares on 32 direct routes operating to or from Trivandrum, Calicut, Coimbatore and Mangalore. Monitoring done on August 18 has revealed that maximum fares on the shorter routes range from Rs 3034 to Rs 8000 and Rs 4757 to around Rs 10000 for longer routes,” he added.

In another tweet, Prabhu informed that a “joint team comprising representatives from DGCA, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Navy carried out inspection of Cochin Naval Base today to check the feasibility of scheduled operations from there.
“Steps being taken to start operations with ATR-72 from Monday, August 20. A Control Room has been set up by DGCA which is working around the clock 24×7 to aid stranded/affected passengers due to flight cancellations in Cochin. More than 2771 queries have been addressed by the control room till date,” he added.

He further said that the scheduled domestic airlines have mounted additional flights to or from Trivandrum, Calicut and Coimbatore airports to “minimise passenger inconvenience”. Besides them, nine foreign carriers have also rescheduled their flights to or from Trivandrum, the minister stated.

“Airlines are also displaying the status of rescheduled and additional flights on their respective websites along with the waiver of cancellation or change ticket charges. Based upon request received from the Kerala government to facilitate them in air dropping of relief material, DGCA is in contact with three private helicopter operators to carry out such relief operations. These operators are currently coordinating with the state government officials,” the aviation minister added.

Kerala has been facing the worst flooding in a century. On Saturday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that the death toll due to the floods, has increased to 357. He added that the state has suffered a loss of Rs 19,512 crore due to the deluge.