‘Cheaper to Fly into Kannur Airport than Mangalore International Airport from Gulf’ – NRI Travellers
Mangaluru: Sylvester D’souza, his wife, and two children had to spend nearly Rs 30,000 on each ticket to and fro (Dubai-Mangalore-Dubai) when they had to come down for the funeral of their family member. Ramesh Shetty from Kuwait and his wife had to spend nearly Rs 50,000 (Kuwait-Mangalore-Kuwait) on each ticket since they had to attend a family function in the city. They all say it is ridiculous that the airlines are ripping off the frequent fliers by jacking up the flight fares.
A large number of travellers from Gulf countries have demanded a reduction in the airfare in the Mangaluru-Gulf sector. They say that the airfare in this sector is high compared to the other international airport nearby in Kannur, Kerala. Speaking to a reporter, Sarvotham Shetty, an NRI entrepreneur from Abu Dhabi, said that to travel on 16 August, the airfare from Abu Dhabi to Mangaluru is AED 750 (Rs 15,750), whereas the fare to fly to Kannur International Airport was AED 390 (Rs 8,190). Kannur airport is only 150 km from Mangaluru.
Shetty also said that in the same week, airfare from Kuwait to Mangaluru is AED 867, whereas to Kannur, it is AED 626. “The prices in other Gulf sectors are too high. Airlines are fleecing NRIs travelling to Mangaluru International Airport. It should be noted that many NRI and their families living in Gulf countries have not returned to their hometowns since the Covid lockdown due to the high airfares. It’s not economically feasible for a lot of NRIs who work for less pay to visit their hometowns after paying for such high airfares. It is high time that our MPs and MLAs from coastal districts took up the issue with the ministry of civil aviation as well as the airlines.”
“As a result of high airfares, a lot of NRIs from Mangaluru, Udupi, and Bhatkal are opting for Kannur airport. From Kannur, they can travel via train or also take a taxi that costs Rs 3,000 (to Mangaluru). They save a lot of time (some of the flights are at night) as well as money. This is purely a step-motherly treatment. The number of flights to Mangaluru are also being reduced, citing lower passenger uptake,” added Sarvotham.
But Why are Gulf Travellers Being Fleeced by the Airlines Industry?
Yet another expat from Kuwait, Mohandas M Kamath, said that NRIs from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Uttara Kannada working in Kuwait had been demanding night flights during weekends. However, there was no change, even after several memorandums to political representatives. The airfare is also high compared to the nearest airport in Kannur.
However, an aviation geek on his Twitter account has stated that the Dubai-Mangalore airfare is way cheaper than the Dubai-Kannur as Kannur has one daily flight to Dubai. He also points out that the Doha-Mangalore flight fare is expensive with only two weekly flights, whereas Doha-Kannur is less expensive with two daily flights.
The prices shoot up during the peak season, such as in June and July for the Gulf-Mangaluru sectors. Sources also reveal that at present, the Dubai-Mangalore airfare is less than Rs 10,000 but that the airfare for Mangaluru-Dubai is above Rs 20,000 because students return to the Gulf in August-September as school reopens.