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Kuwait: Gulf NRI Forum President, Mr.Pascal Pinto, appeals to the people of Karnataka, Kerala and surrounding region to support the ailing Air India Express to ensure survival of the only direct flight service to Mangalore.
Speaking to Media people in Kuwait.
Mr.Pascal.Pinto, President Gulf NRI Forum Kuwait, a well known Community leader, social worker in Kuwait & India, revealed details of the efforts and hard work that went into ensuring Commencement of direct flight service from Kuwait to Mangalore, a long dream of Kuwaitian’s flying directly to our home land. He expressed thanks and gratitude to all people involved in realization of this dream with special mention of leaders like Dr.Veerappa.Moily, Mr.Karunakaran (MP, Kasargod) and Mr.K.Thejomaya (Ex MUDA Chairman) for their whole hearted support and the instrumental role they played to ensure Mangalore airport gaining international status and also direct flight from gulf country’s to Mangalore. It is well known and can be proudly said that their constructive pressure to central government has yielded positive result. Please note that otherwise for international Airlines, we have to wait 2 or more years to complete needed runway to land the aircrafts.
But despite of hard work and efforts, Air India Express discontinued its flight service from Kuwait to Mangalore in February 2014. Rumors of discontinuation of services in Kuwait-Mangalore sector were doing rounds much earlier. Mr.Pinto met with Mr.Ajith.Singh, then aviation minister and Mr.Moily, and requested them not to discontinue the services. He also met with local leaders urging them to support the people’s interests. During discussions, the leaders revealed that Air India Express intended to stop services in Kuwait – Mangalore sector as they were incurring losses due to poor load. They expressed the fact that no business can continue operations piling loss and it is wise to exit when there is a chance than drown in debt. However they left the option to the people by saying that if Air India Express gets a load factor to at least balance the operating cost, they will intervene to ensure continuity of the service.
Based on this promise, Mr.Pinto repeatedly requested people to support Air India Express but got no positive response ultimately leading to termination of services. This left people with no option for direct flight. The old pains of connecting flight, waiting at airports, changing from international to domestic etc. revived. The journey of 4 hr 30 minutes, became 10 to 12 hrs. Main sufferers in such cases are aged people, family traveling with small children and people having medical problems.
Many people and Prominent leaders worked to ensure service resumption and finally we got the flights. But once again we are closing towards discontinuation of services. Mr.Pinto being a frequent flier has experienced Air India Express’s claim of poor load first hand. He says that flight travel with more than half the seats empty.
By his own personal experience and inputs from public, Mr.Pinto met Mr.Ajay Sinha ,Airindia manager in Kuwait and Station Manger at Mangalore Mr.Nagesh Shetty and conveyed concerns regarding in-flight seating, food and service, online ticket booking complaints and flight timing. The same have been forwarded directly to the management and also through leaders like Aviation Minister, other ministers,also M.P.’s. Mr.Nalin Kumar, MP, M.L.A.’s, Mr.J.R.Lobo,MLC Mr.Ivan.Dsouza and also Air India Express MD, CEO and others.
The managers and management of Air India Express have accepted our concerns and have assured to seriously improve quality of service offered. They hinted of a possibility of introduction of new aircraft for this sector. They have also requested for feedback and suggestions from passengers in order to ensure better service.
Air India is taken for granted by all of us including me. We complain and make a big fuss on even a small mistake by Air India Express and never ask what way we can be helpful. All problems have a solution. Please come forward with your complaints in writing so that they can be forwarded to the concerned authority. These way problems in future could be reduced.
We must be ever grateful to them for the fact that this was the only airline which flew in to evacuate us during Iraqi Invasion, earthquake and Tsunami type disasters. Air India is our National Airline and we must be proud of it. Yes there are shortcomings but we have a right to question and correct them provided we support them the same way. We need to join. Let’s all come together to support Air India and take our right. Our MLA J.R.Lobo during his visit to Kuwait in October 2014, In a meeting said ‘Please don’t lose the opportunity this time as if lost again, revival will not be anytime soon’. The direct flight is the most convenient option available and we must make use of it requests Mr.Pinto.