Emirates airline to explore direct flights to Calicut in Kerala

Emirates airline is exploring the possibility of starting its own direct flights to Kozhikode Calicut International airport in Kerala.

Senior officials from Emirates will inspect the airport in the coming weeks, according to an executive from Kozhikode Calicut International.

“A high level team from Emirates airline will be visiting Calicut airport in the first week of March for an inspection and discussions on commencing its operations to and from Calicut airport,” K Srinivasa Rao, Airport Director, Kozhikode Calicut International Airport, told Arabian Business.

While Emirates is yet to finalise a start date for operations, aviation industry sources said the Dubai carrier is likely to include the flight to Calicut in its summer schedule, beginning from end of March.

Srinivasa Rao said the date of start of Emirates’ operations to Calicut will depend on the Gulf carrier receiving the no-objection certificate from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

An Emirates spokesperson said the airline continually reviews possible market opportunities, both in India and globally, but would not comment future plans.

“Official announcement, if any, will be made at an appropriate time,” the Emirates spokesperson said, when asked about the airline’s plans for Calicut airport.

Competitive market

In what is a highly competitive aviation market, Calicut and adjacent districts, such as Malappuram and Wayanad, are home to the largest chunk of expat Keralites working in Dubai and other emirates in the UAE, which is proving attractive for airlines. There is also a large number of people travelling between the destinations for business and tourism, adding extra demand for carriers.

In southern India, Emirates currently operates multiple daily flights to Kochi, Thiruvanathapuram (Trivandrum), Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai.

There’s plenty of competition when it comes to flights from Calicut to Dubai and the Gulf, with as many as nine airlines currently flying from the Kerala airport to GCC countries.

Flydubai launched direct flights to Calicut on February 1 this year, operating a three times weekly service from Dubai International (which will switch to DWC for the duration of the runway upgrade works).

In addition to Flydubai, Air India, Air India Express, IndiGo, Spicejet are also operating the Dubai-Calicut route.

Other Gulf carriers operating flights to Calicut include Oman Air, Gulf Air, Air Arabia and Saudi Airlines (Saudia).

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