Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday urged the Centre to take steps to make airfares affordable for flights to the Gulf.
In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Chief Minister said expatriates are one of the most affected sections in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many of them who had come to India during the first lockdown last year have had to stay put here, without any employment.
“Now that various air routes are opening up, they are keen to return to their places of work and start afresh. However, it has been noted that airfares have skyrocketed in various sectors, especially for flights to the Gulf.
“After more than a year of unemployment, many are finding it difficult to afford these airfares that are being quoted now, which are often two or three times the usual rates,” Mr Vijayan said in the letter and sought Mr Scindia’s “immediate intervention” to make it affordable to all.
He said the unskilled and semi-skilled workers, who form the majority of pravasis in the Gulf, are the worst affected.
The CM said throughout its battle against COVID-19 pandemic, as a country, India’s priority has been to secure the lives and livelihoods of its people.
As our people are trying to get their livelihoods back on track, your kind gesture in this regard will be much appreciated. More people being able to travel abroad at affordable airfare, will also mean that more money comes into India’s exchequer by way of foreign exchange and will hasten the economic recovery of the country,” Mr Vijayan said.