Kerala has asked the central government to grant permission to more airlines to operate from the Kochi international airport, Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan said in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
"Several airlines have approached us to operate from Kochi. We have asked the centre (central government) to give necessary sanctions," Achuthanandan, who is also the chairman of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), told the state assembly.
"We will also look into the need for having a second runway at the airport," he said.
Thomas Chandy, a first time legislator, moved a calling attention motion regarding services at the airport, particularly baggage handling.
"Getting luggage is a big problem and after inquiries it has been found out that the employees handling the baggage section are poorly paid and hence they have no incentive to work. The air conditioners do not function properly," Chandy said.
Chandy, a Kuwait-based businessman, said he uses the CIAL to fly abroad two to three times a month and the service is appallingly poor. He said several airlines are on the verge of stopping their service and the outstanding dues from various airlines have piled up.
Replying to Chandy's complaints, Achuthanandan said the ground handling at the airport is done by Air India. "I am told they are doing a ok job," he said.
According to latest figures, CIAL is the fourth biggest airport in the country after Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, in terms of number of passengers using the airport.
Currently 24 different national and international airlines operate from the CIAL.