Doha, May 8: THE Mangalorean community in Doha rejoiced yesterday at the prospect of their local airport getting “international” status, which could lead to direct flights from the Gulf, including Doha.
The possibility moved a step closer to reality with the customs department giving its clearance for international flight operations from and to the airport. “Our long-standing dream is nearing fruition,” a community leader said.
The only hurdle now for international flight operations is immigration clearance. This is expected to be obtained in “a few days,” the community members quoted the Superintendent of Police B Dayanand as saying.
Meanwhile, a high-level meeting held at the airport recently discussed the possibility of the first international flight service from Mangalore on May 21, “if everything goes well”.
Low-cost airline Air-India Express had proposed starting a Mangalore-Dubai service, with four weekly services. According to a tentative schedule, its Boeing 737-800 is to arrive in Mangalore from Dubai at 8.20pm and take off for Dubai at 9.20pm.
However, according to Air-India’s manager in Doha, Debashis Golder, the proposal has been kept in abeyance because of a shortage of operating crew. No new date has yet been fixed, he added.
It is not known if any other airline will grab the opportunity, sources indicated.
Currently, Indian Airlines and Jet Air use the airport for domestic services.
Meanwhile, community leaders in Doha urged expatriate organisations to send a joint memorandum to concerned airline officials to route an international flight from the Gulf to Mangalore, especially during the summer holidays.