Air Kerala Set to Launch: A New Era for Expatriate Travel

The highly anticipated Air Kerala airline, conceived by a group of expatriate entrepreneurs and businessmen, has received a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Authorities hope to begin domestic services with just two aircraft by the first half of 2025. Businessman Afi Ahamed, chairman of the domestic airline company Zettfly, announced that the company will commence services to multiple locations, including the Gulf region, as soon as it acquires at least 20 aircraft.

Air Kerala, initially envisaged by the Oommen Chandy government, was almost abandoned but has now achieved a major milestone with the NOC from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The airline is the dream project of the Malayali diaspora, particularly those in the Gulf region. The company plans to operate services connecting tier 2 and tier 3 cities initially, using three ATR 72-600 aircraft, with further plans to expand to international routes. The owners see this project as a gift to Malayali expatriates, aiming to resolve travel issues such as exorbitant airfares.

Air Kerala will be the first airline based in Kerala and the first started by an expatriate. Afi Ahamed emphasized the company’s plan to involve all Malayalis, including expatriates, in this mega project. The company hopes to create more than 350 employment opportunities in its first year. Air Kerala’s approval is viewed as a significant achievement for the Malayali community, with plans to operate under the brand name Air Kerala (airkerala.com) and begin appointing key positions soon.

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