A Dubai-based businessman, Afi Ahmed, is making attempts to resurrect an Indian airline company, Air Kerala. He is trying to bring to life an airline for expats from Kerala, the Southern state of India. Afi Ahmed who is the founder of Smart Travels stated that he has been searching for numerous ways to make the project Air Kerala happen.
Last month he paid a huge amount of Dh 1 million to another firm to acquire the domain name airkerala.com
In a statement given to the media, he said that he has been seeking a domain for his B2C project. He added that he was in search of an attractive name for an aggregator website which is to launch soon. That was when he saw the name airkerala.com, which was up for purchase.
He was surprised to see the name, as it was a project announced by the government of Kerala in the year 2005. The news of Air Kerala has been a topic of heated discussion among the Keralites all around the world for almost two decades, he said.
Air Kerala is an airline planned by the government of Kerala. It was registered in the year 2006, as a fully owned subsidiary of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL).
This project was proposed with the aim to provide relief to the Keralites, from the excessive ticket rates and the lack of sufficient seats in flights. In spite of being a widely debated topic, the project has been put on hold a number of times.
Executive Bchelors.com, a domain-selling platform that operates under the company 1971, a UAE-based investment company purchased the domain name airkerala.com in the year 2000. The estimated value of the website was around Dh 2.5 million in 2005.
The company has been receiving several enquiries since then, and this was for the first time the company has put out the much sought-after domain name for sale. Sathar Al Karan from the company said that he has been waiting for more than 20 years for the arrival of the right client.
Afi Ahmed said that when he conducted a feasibility study, he could realise that getting the domain name airkerala.com was worth every penny. Since everyone was familiar with the name Air Kerala, it would help him from spending money on marketing.
When he obtained the name, he understood that he has got a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a significant influence. So, he decided to make efforts to revive the airline.
The project, Air Kerala was first proposed by the Congress-led government in Kerala and has been cancelled due to the shift in the ruling parties.
During the last month when Air India substituted several of its flights to Kerala with Air India Express flights, Air Kerala became a topic of discussion among the people.
The local travel companies referred to the development as a disappointing one as it lacked the capacity to transport passengers who were using wheelchairs and stretchers.
They even commented on this by stating it would be a setback for the Indian community.
He said that he has contacted the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, who is travelling to the UAE on the 7th of May. He has sent an email and has told him through a few well-known personalities, and is expecting a favourable response, said Afi Ahmed.