Kochi: The flight charting industry is all optimistic as Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) is set to launch its business jet terminal. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the terminal on December 10.
With the terminal, said to be the country’s first charter gateway, coming up in Kochi, leading players in the industry are seeing huge growth prospects. CIAL aims to make it a platform to integrate business jet service, tourism and business conferences. A Kochi-based aviation company, which is into jet chartering, is among those sharing CIAL’s enthusiasm about its latest infrastructure addition.
Senior officials of Halo Airways, which rents out jet service from Bengaluru, said CIAL’s decision to open a business jet terminal is in tune with the growing demand for jet chartering as a large section of frequent flyers, mostly business people, celebrities and politicians, look it as a reliable and comfortable way to fly. “Kerala, being a tourism destination, is likely to benefit in a big way with the upcoming jet terminal at CIAL as it would attract a huge number of customers who prefer the comfort of a chartered jet flight,” Shoby T Paul, CEO, Halo Airways told Onmanorama.
Paul listed time-saving, convenience, economic feasibility and personal care as the benefits of the jet services offered by his company. Halo offers flights for rates ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 8 lakh per flying hour. To put it in perspective, a chartered jet flight from Bengaluru to Kochi is priced at Rs 4.6 lakh before taxes. A flight is activated within the one-hour-and-a-half hour from the time of booking.
Halo’s recent customers include Kerala Chief Minister, his Karnataka counterpart Basavaraj Bommai, Karnataka Congress leaders Siddharamaiah and DK Shivakumar and legendary actor Kamal Hassan.
“If we register a good number of bookings from Kerala with the CIAL infra development, we are even ready to shift our jet to Kochi,” Paul said. He expects 100 per cent growth once the CIAL terminal is launched.
CIAL currently operates two terminals – T-1, which handles domestic traffic, and T-3, which facilitates international traffic. With the commissioning of the business jet terminal, housed at the former domestic terminal (T2), CIAL will join the elite club of four airports in the country having a dedicated private jet terminal.
CIAL’s business jet terminal is compatible with operating both domestic and international private jets. The facilities include covered car parking, drive-in porches, a grand lobby, five opulent lounges, a business centre, check-in, immigration, customs, health and security checking zones along with duty-free shop and foreign exchange counter for the smooth movement of the discerning guests. The terminal facility also includes a safe house for the security privileged category of guests.
CIAL Managing Director S Suhas IAS said the new dedicated terminal emphasises the idea of affordable chartered flying. “With the commissioning of the business jet terminal, CIAL will unveil the world of affordable chartered flying,” Suhas said.
CIAL considers the operationalisation of the business jet terminal as a part of its commitment to identify and activate new revenue verticals. The exclusive terminal for handling the chartered/ business jets wherein the guests are provided with luxurious personal amenities in an elegantly designed private space completed at Rs 30 crore, CIAL said in a statement.