'Kannur to be Hajj embarkation point, wide-bodied aircraft to return to Calicut'

Representational images
Representational images.

Malappuram: The Centre has given a favourable response to the state's request regarding resuming wide-bodied aircraft services from the Calicut International Airport, said state minister V Abdurahiman on Thursday.

He commented after meeting Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia in New Delhi. Abdurahiman, who is the Minister for Sports, Wakf and Hajj said he had called upon Scindia to raise the issues faced by Hajj pilgrims from Kerala.

"He said that the Centre was planning to resume wide-bodied aircraft at Calicut. The union minister said that a high-level committee has been appointed to study the possibilities. He said that wide-bodied aircraft services will resume once the committee had prepared a report," wrote Abdurahiman on Facebook.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation had imposed restrictions on wide-bodied aircraft at Calicut following an air crash in August 2020.

An Air India Express flight that was part of the Vande Bharat Mission had overrun the tabletop runway and crashed resulting in the death of 21 persons, including the pilots.

"Since the accident, the airport's revenue has taken a hit," Abdurahiman noted.


Hajj embarkation point at Kannur
With the ban on wide-bodies aircraft existing at Calicut, the Ministry of Minority Affairs had excluded it from the list of embarkation points for Hajj.

"Under the circumstances, we asked the union minister to consider Kannur Aiport as an embarkation point this year. The minister gave a positive response. He said that wide-bodied aircrafts will be used for Hajj at the Kannur airport," said Abdurahiman.

At present, Cochin International Airport is expected to cater to the pilgrims from Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar.

Abdurahiman also met Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and reiterated the state's demand to reinstate Calicut's status as a Hajj embarkation point as the airport caters to 80% of pilgrims from Kerala.

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