Emirates airline has affirmed its commitment to India, despite pulling out of a decision to launch services from Karipur (Calicut) Airport in the Kerala region.
The Dubai-based carrier has come under fire for the move and was even accused of violating the bilateral agreement signed between India and the UAE.
But a spokesperson for Emirates airline told Arabian Business the decision was taken purely on business grounds.
They said: “We are always reviewing market opportunities in India to ensure that our capacity is currently deployed to best serve customer demand in India. Emirates continues to serve Kerala with multiple daily flights to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.”
Emirates currently serves nine destinations across India, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Thiruvananthapuram – with 171 weekly flights.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation granted an NOC to Emirates in July to operate direct flights to Calicut. The state-owned Airport Authority of India (AAI) said it was waiting on Emirates to decide when it wanted to start operations to the Kerala airport.
When contacted, K Srinivasa Rao, airport director, Calicut International Airport, told Arabian Business they were not aware of Emirates’ latest decision.
"We welcome any airline operator to do business at Calicut Airport, including Emirates. As said, we have not been intimated by Emirates that they have no plans for commencing operation from Calicut," he said.
He added: “We are hopeful that Emirates will come forward to do business at Calicut Airport."
Pradeep Singh Kharola, secretary, Federal Ministry of Civil Aviation, told Arabian Business that it will not amount to any violation of bilateral agreements.
"These are business decisions of airlines," Kharola said.