Air India cancels flights from Kerala due to crew shortage


Thiruvananthapuram : A cabin crew shortage has forced Air India Express to cancel a number of its flights from three airports in Kerala to various destinations in the Middle East from next week.

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An Air India spokesperson here told IANS that the cancellations would begin from next week and would be there till the end of October.

“Around 203 (73 from Kozhikode, 74 from Thiruvananthapuram and 56 from Kochi) flights stand cancelled. Some of these flights which originate from here touch Kochi and then fly to Middle-East. Hence this is taken as two flights and hence the number looks so large,” said the official.

The destinations of the cancelled flights include Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Muscat and Kuwait.

“The travel plans of all those who are booked on the cancelled flights will not be affected because we will accommodate them on other airlines and in case they want a refund, that also would be taken care of,” said the official.

E.M. Najeeb, president of the Confederation of Tourism Industry, expressed shock at the manner in which Air India has cancelled flights from the state.

“They should not have booked passengers. Didn’t they know of a shortage of cabin crew,” asked Najeeb.

“Now it remains to be seen if this is going to be a gold mine for other airlines operating to the Middle-East. The cancellations have taken place when the tourism season is beginning and there is every likelihood of an increase in airfares during this period,” added Najeeb.