14 January 2015
Malaysian low cost airline Malindo Air's proposed flight to Vizag has run into rough weather with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) rejecting its flights, which were scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays, citing shortage of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel. However, AAI had okayed the flight timings schedule for Sundays.
Malindo Air had planned to start a tri-weekly service between Kuala Lumpur and Vizag beginning February 15. According to emails accessed by TOI, Vizag Airport director C Pattabhi has said, "Watch hours are only up to 22:00 hrs (10 pm) on Day 2 (Tuesday) and Day 4 (Thursday). At present, beyond 22:00 hrs it is not possible to extend watch due to shortage of CISF manpower. Hence on Day 2 (Tuesday) and Day 4 (Thursday) the flight can be accepted only up to 22:00 hrs. On Day 7, the proposed timings are acceptable."
Information on the flight timings available on Malindo Air's official website stated, "Flights will be operated on new Boeing 737 and will depart klia2 (Kuala Lumpur) every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 9:55 pm and arrive at the Visakhapatnam International Airport at 11:10 pm local time. The return flight will depart Vizag at 11:55 pm local time and land in klia2 at 6:10 am the following day."
Slamming the AAI's putting a spanner in the new flight, member of AAI advisory board and Vizag Development Council, O Naresh Kumar said, "It is sad to note our airport has rejected permission for two days due to shortage of CISF manpower for direct flights to Malaysia…VDC strongly opposes this. Our city has to be connected directly to more international destinations for rapid industrialisation and growth."
When contacted, Vizag MP K Hari Babu said the issue has been taken up with the civil aviation minister so that the flights will be operational without any hurdles. "I have already spoken to the civil aviation ministry asking them to look into the issue. We are trying to get more international flights for Vizag and at this juncture sending out such a negative message will not be in the interest of the city." With Vizag airport being open for around-the-clock operations since last year, he said that airport authorities can't give such reasons for cancelling or rescheduling days of flights.
Currently, SilkAir and Air India fly international flights to Singapore and Dubai from Vizag airport. While SilkAir's flights from Singapore fly in on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10.05 pm (local time) and depart at 10.55 pm (local time), Air India's daily flight to Dubai departs from the Port City at 6.20 pm and arrives at around 8 am.
"The airport authorities are trying to alter the days so that other international flights can come on the same day as SilkAir's flights but it is the prerogative of the airline and not AAI to decide which day they should operate," said a travel operator.
Original Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com