Industrialists, businessmen and the general public here have urged Kingfisher Airlines, which operated a lone flight to this Tier-II city in the Chennai-Salem-Chennai sector till recently, to resume their operations to Salem with immediate effect.
The private carrier quietly withdrew its services in November last without even informing its regular fliers, thus causing widespread resentment among the citizens of Salem, Namakkal and neighbourhood localities.
It was after the Civil Aviation Ministry took several efforts, based on the representations of all sections of the society, that the flight service to Salem was revived after a gap of 16 years.
“The single flight operation became a regular service to the delight of the fliers. Though the flight was cancelled on various occasions citing technical problems and periodical maintenance, the flight operation had given a fillip to the region’s development. But from November 30 last year, the flight service was withdrawn. Despite our repeated requests, the private operator has not responded,” said K Mariappan, president, Salem District Small Scale and Tiny Industries Association.
He said that Salem had emerged as a busy Tier II city and was on the verge of witnessing a substantial industrial growth and business activities.
“With the Salem IT Park going to be operational shortly and many tourism related activities including the hospitality industry on the path of growth, the withdrawal of the flight has worried all, including industrialists, exporters, traders, officials etc,” Mr. K Mariappan pointed out.
Though the timings were inconvenient, people of Salem patronised Kingfisher with the hope that the service would be regularised.
Lives of many patients were also saved due to timely transportation to the corporate hospitals in Chennai when the flight was in operation.
Hence, the minister should take the initiative to restore the services of Kingfisher to Salem, especially in the morning hours, he said.
He further claimed that the Civil Aviation Ministry had spent more than Rs 1 crore for providing security and improving the infrastructure at this airport.
A memorandum also was submitted to the Civil Aviation Ministry in this regard, he added.
Source: THE HINDU