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Tue 23 Feb 2016 08:56 AM

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Residents of Indian city launch campaign for direct flights to Dubai

Coimbatore organisations set up local petition after lack of response from civil aviation ministry

Residents of Indian city launch campaign for direct flights to Dubai
Air India Airbus A320. (AFP/Getty Images)

Fed up with a lack of response from local bureaucrats and politicians over their request to launch a direct flight to Dubai, residents of Coimbatore have decided to take matters into their own hands.

The Hindu newspaper reported that several local organisations in the Tami Nadu city, including the local branch of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCIC), have launched an online petition, which is already receiving significant interest.

“In just a day our petition on www.change.org received more than 1,000 votes from residents and Coimbatore citizens living elsewhere,” R. Raveendran, from the Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore (RAAC), told the newspaper.

The petition has also been posted on other websites, and on social media, he added.

In September last year, both the ICCIC and the RAAC had petitioned India’s civil aviation minister for direct flights to the Gulf hub during his visit to Coimbatore, by asking him to include the city in the Bilateral Services Agreements (BASA).

However, the Hindu reported that the minister was not in favour of allowing foreign carriers to expand their services in India, instead saying that he would recommend either Air India or Air India Express to launch a connection.

“It is shocking to know that Air India Express has increased its summer schedule from Kerala to the Middle East from 96 flights to 119 flights, from March 28. Mangaluru, Amritsar, Vizag, and Chandigarh have enhanced connectivity with Dubai,” Raveendran told the newspaper.

Coimbatore residents wishing to fly to Dubai need to travel via Kozhikode, Bengaluru or Chennai to catch direct flights to the UAE airport.

Alternatively, Air Arabia offers five weekly flights to Sharjah from Coimbatore.

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