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Kerala airline: Ernst and Young appointed consultants



Thiruvananthapuram, 19th August, 2005: The Kerala Government roped in Ernst and Young as the consultancy firm to prepare a detailed project report on its proposed international airline.

Ernst and Young is expected to submit the report in November, State Chief Minister Oomen Chandy told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Chandy said preliminary studies indicated that the proposed venture of the State was feasible.

The venture has been named Kerala Airline. The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) is also a partner in the venture.

Reports said the CIAL has formed a panel to track the progress of the project.

The State Government plans to take aircraft on lease to start the airline. Also ways are being explored to overcome the stipulation that airlines with minimum five yearís service in domestic sector can only operate international flights.

The government is expected to kickstart the work on the project after Ernst and Young submits its report.

The state government plans the airline mainly to meet the demand from Keralites working abroad, mainly the Gulf countries. Many of them have complained that they donít get adequate flights or are overcharged for their travel, prompting the government to look into the possibility of launching an airline.

The government plans to make this as the first airline operated by a State government. It plans to rope in NRIs and state-run agencies like CIAL to own the airline.

The first state-sponsored airline in the country, Kerala Airline will be operated through a joint venture with participation of NRIs and and state agencies like Cochin International Airport Limited.

The Chief Minister also informed that Centre has given the clearance to the proposed Kannur Airport project. It has relaxed the norm that land has to be acquired for two runways for new projects, he said.



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