Business | Aviation

Yousuf Ali’s resignation raises hope for Air Kerala

LuLu chairman ‘pained’ by inability to ease commuting travails of Keralite families in the Gulf

  • By Akhel Mathew, Correspondent
  • Published: 16:20 July 21, 2012
  • Gulf News

Yousuf Ali M.A.
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Yousuf Ali M.A

Thiruvananthapuram: The decision of non-resident Keralite businessman Yousuf Ali M.A. to quit from the board of India’s national carrier Air India following disappointment about not being able to do much for improving air travel option of Keralites in the Gulf, has breathed new life into the six-year-old dream, Air Kerala.

Yousuf Ali, chairman of the LuLu group said that he was stepping down from the board of Air India because he was “pained” that he could not contribute much to easing the commuting travails of Keralite families in the Gulf, and particularly so despite his role as a businessman based in the Middle East.

“In the current situation, fares are increased at the whim of airlines and hurting passengers” he said, adding that it was a sorry sight to see Keralite families with children stranded at airports seeking those elusive air tickets at reasonable prices.

Yousuf Ali said he had put forth a proposal for Kerala’s own airline named Air Kerala six years ago when Oommen Chandy was chief minister in his first tenure in that post. The LuLu chairman is now hoping to realise that dream, and is stepping down from the Air India director board so as not to be on the board of a competing airline simultaneously.

The development comes, incidentally, at a time when hopes have been revived about an international airport at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district, piloted by Chennai-based KGS group and conceived as India’s first fully private greenfield airport project. In addition, there is the Kannur International Airport which is proposed to be established as a public-private venture. The two airports will take Kerala’s international airports to five, the highest for any Indian state.

There has been some opposition to the Aranmula airport from green activists, but the project seems poised to go ahead, with both the ruling United Democratic Front and the opposition Left Democratic Front having given their nod for the project.

The time may also be ripe for Air Kerala in the backdrop of a vacuum in the Indian skies following the financial setbacks to Kingfisher airlines and the problems plaguing the national carrier Air India, which is also saddled with billions of rupees in debt.

Comments (5)

  1. Added 21:29 August 8, 2607

    Its a great a decision to quit than staying as a rubber stamp. Now he can discuss “air kerela” project to address south Indian's travel problem. He is the person who mediated to start smart city at Cochin without financial benefit, even kerela Govt failed to solve the matter. He is the person who provides jobs to thousands of Indians.

    firos khan, Calicut, India

  2. Added 21:29 August 8, 2607

    It is really an embarrassing for Mr. Ali that instead of improving AI in his current job he is giving competition to Indian Airlines indiustry which is already in downwards position. He should not forget he is an Indian first than Kerala or Madras or what ever state, he is just willing to develop Kerala only and no wonder he want india name to be replace as Kerala later. You should have step down earlier itself and you are not fit for this job you are good at opening only supermarket.

    syed, dubai, India

  3. Added 21:28 August 8, 2607

    This Decision is just for a media attention and a strategy for new business into aviation industry

    abdul, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 21:28 August 8, 2607

    Self Before Service"....the motto is clear. The aim is self propulsion, no matter the price. Every event has to be news breaking for reasons of self glorification and therefore pandering to the media. it is time the Indian establishment and all Indians saw through this facade. Particularly, when the religion card is played so covertly. Has anybody probed where all the money comes from, or will come from....Air Kerala or Air M.......

    Nair, Kerala, India

  5. Added 21:28 August 8, 2607

    There is nothing great in Ali's resignation. He should have quit the post long time ago. Of course Ali dis something to bring some units of AI to Trivandrum anc Kochi. But this will only bring jobs to unemployed keralites in kerala itself. The plight of keralites in the gulf still remains without flights from various destinations to kerala. Where was Ali all these days. Only interested in opeining supermarkets and publicity?

    Hasmi, doha, Haiti

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