“Kannur will be the embarkation point of the Hajj, a jumbo jet will return to Calicut”

Malappuram: The Center has given a favorable response to the state’s request for the resumption of wide-body aircraft services from Calicut International Airport, Minister of State V Abdurahiman said on Thursday.

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

“He said the Center was planning to resume wide-body planes at Calicut. The Union minister said a high-level committee had been appointed to study the possibilities. He said the aircraft services wide-body aircraft would resume once the committee prepared a report, “Abdurahiman wrote on Facebook.

The Civil Aviation Authority had imposed restrictions on widebody aircraft in Calicut following a plane crash in August 2020.

An Air India Express flight that was part of the Vande Bharat mission overshot the airstrip and crashed, killing 21 people, including the pilots.

“Since the accident, airport revenues have taken a hit,” Abdurahiman noted.

Hajj embarkation point in Kannur
With the wide-body aircraft ban existing in Calicut, the Department of Minority Affairs had excluded it from the list of boarding points for the Hajj.

“Under these circumstances, we have asked the Union Minister to consider Kannur Airport as a boarding point this year. The Minister gave a positive response. He said wide-body planes will be used for the Hajj at Kannur Airport, “Abdurahiman said.

At present, Cochin International Airport is expected to accommodate pilgrims from Kerala, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, and Andaman and Nicobar.

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

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