Bahrain Air scraps India flight after rights mix-up

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Bahrain Air, the Gulf state’s second biggest airline, has cancelled flights from Bahrain to Trivandrum for the next five days, having not yet received written approval to fly to the city.

The privately-owned company, which launched services to Trivandrum in the state of Kerala on March 15 this year, was also forced to abandon a flight earlier this week, which left 140 Indian passengers stranded at Bahrain airport.

Travellers booked on the cancelled flights have since been urged to contact their booking agencies or the Bahrain Air call centre for refunds.

“Bahrain Air regrets to inform its valued passengers that flights between Bahrain and Trivandrum on 4,5,6,7 and 8 of April have been cancelled due to not yet receiving written approvals from the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India,” said a statement on the firm’s website.

“Bahrain Air expresses its unreserved apologies to the affected passengers. Our management, staff and partners are working around the clock to minimise, to the greatest extent possible, the disruptions caused to our valued passengers for reasons beyond our control.”

Executives added that flights by Bahrain Air to its three other Indian destinations, Karipur, Nedumbaserry and Mumbai, were operating normally.

Bahrain Air launched the route from Bahrain to Trivandrum with a view to tapping the Indian market, starting with four flights weekly and plans to increase to seven by the summer.

The CEO of the airline, Richard Nuttall, told Arabian Business in an interview that India would be one of its strongest markets in 2012, given the high number of Keralites living in Bahrain and the high demand for flights between the two.

He added that the company hoped to sign a codeshare agreement with an Indian carrier in the next six to nine months in a bid to further boost the number of services to Indian cities and bolster the company’s revenues.

The airline, which is just four years old and yet to turn a profit, saw incomes decline by 30 percent in 2011 due to the Arab Spring unrest, which it hopes to make up in the next 12 months.

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Posted by: Robin Ferry Fernandez

Government of Bahrain should retaliate by withdrawing the rights to Indian carriers to fly to Bahrain. What a shame!!!

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