Air Arabia to launch operations in Kerala capital
Live Punjab News Service
Thiruvananthapuram -- Air Arabia, the budget airline of the Sharjah government, is all set to launch its operations at the international airport here Sunday.
The airline, which already has operations in Kochi since May, is to operate daily flights to and from Sharjah.
"We will operate A 320 aircraft which has 162 seats, all in the economy class. Our inaugural flight will cost Rs.3,800 plus taxes. And henceforth, fares would be based on the supply demand theory," Rohit Ramachandran of Air Arabia told reporters here Friday.
And watching Air Arabia's moves is India's national carrier Air India that has its own budget airline Air India Express that operates daily flights to Dubai.
"Competition is always welcome and the fare levels of the two carriers are going to be very similar. We will fine-tune our fares soon since Air Arabia is here," H. Munaf, chief of Air India here, told IANS.
But K.V. Muraleedharan, president of the Kerala Association of Travel Agents was not too pleased and said all budget airlines made mere promises at the time of their launch but never followed up on them.
"When these airlines begin operations, they say one thing but soon forget what they said initially. In the last peak travel season, a ticket to Dubai on Air India Express was Rs.16,500 and on Air Arabia from Kochi to Sharjah was Rs.17,050. They say it is based on supply and demand, so I would reserve my comments," said Muraleedharan.
Air India Express has one advantage over Air Arabia - it serves complimentary snacks to passengers.
"We offer snacks and water free of cost, whereas on Air Arabia you have to pay for them," said Munaf.