India is taking expat concern over skyrocketing airfares on flights home seriously, the country’s junior foreign affairs minister said in Dubai on Friday.
V. Muraleedharan, the recently-appointed Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, had a stopover in Dubai while returning from Nigeria, where he had his maiden overseas trip after assuming office on May 30.
At a community reception held at the Indian Consulate in Dubai, the minister termed the trend of airfares escalating during festival seasons as an “alarming issue”.
“Last week, I had met the Minister of Civil Aviation [in this regard]. It is there in the priority list of the government of India,” he said, adding that the government deemed it an even more urgent matter to address after the collapse of Jet Airways, which had only added to price hikes and seat shortfall.
“I hope that in the coming weeks we will be able to progress in that context,” he assured the Indian community while replying to questions from the audience.
Earlier, speaking to the media on the same topic after a reception by the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) at a hotel in Business Bay, Muraleedharan said there are 1,050 flights operating weekly between India and Gulf countries.
The minister said he also met with Emirates airline officials on Friday, who said the airline had sought the Indian government’s permission to increase the number of seats to Kozhikode in Kerala – where the airline’s service had been suspended recently due to runway renovation – and other sectors in India, at least for the next four months to cover peak season.
He said he would put forward the request to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on his return to India.
Gulf News could not get an immediate comment from Emirates.