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ROSHIN GEORGE

DUBAI

The Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) UAE, one of the voluntary organisations working for the welfare of Malayali expatriates, has got permission from the Kerala government to operate four flights daily to the State from June 17. As many as 60 flights will be flown in the first round of private repatriation. The flights are scheduled from Ras Al Khaimah airport, where special tents will be set up for passenger comfort.

UAE KMCC national committee president Puthur Rahman said the flights will operate over the next two months.

Earlier, KMCC Dubai had got approval for 30 additional charter flights to Kannur and was seeking government approval for 10 more flights to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

KMCC organised three charter flights to Kozhikode from Sharjah on June 11 and 12. Ebrahim Elettil, president of KMCC, said at a virtual press conference that it offered tickets at Dh990 after bearing Dh60 per passenger from their side since the airline rate was Dh1,050.

Ebrahim said KMCC would strive for renegotiating with private airlines to further reduce fares for the remaining flights it is planning to charter. Various units of the KMCC have been organizing charter flights from the UAE since June 1.

Tickets for two community charter flights that were operated on behalf of KMCC from Ras Al Khaimah emirate last week were priced at Dh1,300.

But fares were reduced after the Kerala government capped the fares for charter flights to avoid exploitation of stranded Keralites in the Gulf. It now stipulates that charter fares should be comparable to that of the Indian government’s Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights.

The state government will remove the condition that expats coming in chartered flights should produce COVID negative certificate. Instead of this, the the passengers have to undergo antibody test prior to the flight journey as per new decision. The government decided to withdraw their previous due to strong disagreements from many quarters.

Only those who have already applied for repatriation with the Indian missions can fly home on charter flights.


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