Stalin urges Centre for Chennai-Tokyo flight
There have been persistent requests from the Japanese business community in Tamil Nadu to resume direct flight services between Chennai and Tokyo, Stalin said in his letter to Scindia
Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin on Wednesday urged Union civil aviation minister Jyotiradiya Scindia to re-introduce direct flight connectivity between Tokyo and Chennai and increase the number of flights between Singapore and Madurai.
“There have been persistent requests from the Japanese business community in Tamil Nadu to resume direct flight services between Chennai and Tokyo,” Stalin said in his letter to Scindia. He said Japanese conglomerates, such as Nissan, Toshiba, Yamaha, Komatsu, Mitsubishi and Hitachi, are functioning in Tamil Nadu and that Chennai has the largest Japanese community in India.
The Tamil Nadu government has signed more than a dozen memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Japan and Singapore during Stalin’s visit to Asian countries since May 23. He was scheduled to return home on May 31 night. He has been on the two-nation tour to attract investments and invite prospective investors for the Global Investors Meet proposed to be held in Chennai in January 2024.
“I wish to point out that at present there is no direct flight connectivity between Chennai and Tokyo,” the chief minister said. “In October 2019, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline, launched a direct flight service between Chennai and Tokyo which was discontinued during the Covid-19 pandemic. This service has not been resumed subsequently.”
The lack of direct flight connectivity more than doubles the travel time between these two destinations by about 7 hours, said Stalin. “The State is to host the Global Investors’ Meet in January 2024 and as we seek to attract greater investments from Japan, resumption of direct flights would indeed be a commendable measure.”
Stalin pointed out that of the 12 industrial townships established in India under the Japan-India Investment Promotion Partnership Program, three are in Tamil Nadu. “With more than 600 Japanese companies having establishments in the state, over the last two decades, the influx of Japanese expatriates has slowly increased and I am happy to state that Chennai is home to the largest Japanese community in India,” Stalin said.
Japan also has a significant Tamil diaspora, who in particular belong to the fields of information technology and finance, so there has been a steady strengthening of economic and cultural relations between Tamil Nadu and Japan, and tourism is also growing, the chief minister said.
Singapore too has a sizable population of nearly 400,000 people of Tamil origin, Stalin said, adding that many travel from the southern districts of Tamil Nadu to Singapore for employment.
There are multiple daily flight connections between Singapore and Chennai and Trichy, one daily flight between Singapore and Coimbatore and a tri-weekly flight between Singapore and Madurai.
“This issue of more flight services between Singapore and Madurai was raised by the Minister for Home Affairs and Law of the Government of Singapore, Thiru K.Shanmugham, when he met me,” said Stalin. “A similar request was also raised by many members of the Tamil diaspora in Singapore. I would be grateful if the request of permitting more flights to operate between Singapore and Madurai is favourably considered,” he said, requesting for at least one daily flight at the earliest.