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Tiruchi to get busier with more overseas flights

Overseas flight movements are set to soar at the Tiruchi international airport with Thai AirAsia deciding to launch its service to Bangkok from here.

The announcement of the low-cost airline to operate four services a week to the Thai capital will perk up the overall passenger traffic at the airport here, which has more foreign flight operations than domestic services. The new service is to be launched from September 29.

The introduction of a direct flight service to Bangkok — a new destination — will now increase the total tally of international flight operations at Tiruchi airport to a little over 200 per week.

With Sri Lankan Airlines, Air Asia, Malindo Air, Scoot and Air India Express presently operating daily flight services to select destinations in South Asia, South East Asia and West Asia, the number of overseas flights handled at Tiruchi is 196 per week. This figure will now rise to 204 once Thai AirAsia takes off from here, said airport authorities.

The fast growing Tiruchi airport has seen the entry of more foreign carriers operating services from here. Tiruchi is next to Chennai, but way ahead of Madurai and Coimbatore international airports in respect of overseas flight movements.

As per Airports Authority of India (AAI) statistics, international aircraft movements at the Tiruchi airport stood at 8,736 during the 2016-17 financial year. This figure was higher as compared to 2015-16 fiscal when overseas aircraft movements were 8,262.

Way ahead

Tiruchi is also way ahead of other AAI- managed non-metro international airports at places such as Amritsar, Lucknow, Goa, Jaipur, Varanasi and Coimbatore in respect of overseas flight movements.

If the present schedule is maintained by the existing overseas airlines coupled with the entry of the Thai AirAsia, the overall foreign flight movements at the Tiruchi airport would exceed 9,000 in the current fiscal.

The international passenger traffic, which was over 11.90 lakh in 2016-17 at Tiruchi, is expected to increase further with the entry of Thai AirAsia.

Stakeholders say despite a rise in overall passenger traffic growth, the Tiruchi airport was yet to fall under the ‘major airport’ category s the airport is yet to attain the magic figure of 1.5 million mark in overall passenger traffic.

This would become possible if more domestic services were put in operation as well, officials said. Presently, domestic connectivity from here is only next to Chennai. Indigo and Jet Airways have expressed keenness in launching new services in the Tiruchi– Chennai and Tiruchi–Mumbai sectors respectively, officials added.


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