Aviation row costs Bahrain Air $500,000
Manama, April 13, 2012
A contractual dispute which has grounded flights on a newly-launched service to Kerala has cost Bahrain Air $500,000 (BD189,000), said a senior official.
Officials are still waiting for written approval from the Indian Civil Aviation Affairs Ministry to resume services to Thiruvananthapuram two weeks after they were cancelled.
The carrier had been hoping flights would re-start yesterday, but has been forced to delay the plan until Sunday.
Bahrain Air chief executive officer Richard Nuttall, who is personally following up the case with the Indian authorities, said the airline was still in limbo.
"We are still waiting for an approval letter from certain departments of Indian Civil Aviation Affairs Ministry," he said.
"It is taking a long time and is obviously affecting our business and we are losing customers from Bahrain and India because of the delay.
"The extra expenses after cancelling flights two weeks ago, hiring specially-chartered planes to send the passengers back to India, re-accommodating passengers in hotels, helping passengers, hotel payment and refunding are huge.
"We lost half million dollars (BD189,000) in the process.
"We cannot blame anyone for this loss and we are hoping for a positive response from the Indian authorities soon."
At least eight flights to Thiruvananthapuram have been affected including one scheduled to depart last night, another today, one tomorrow and another on Sunday unless permission is granted.
The airline has been unable to get written approval from the ministry after its contract expired on March 24.
"I cannot say if the flights would resume by Sunday, as it's a holiday in India," said Mr Nuttall.
"Everyone is chasing this matter and hopefully it will be sorted out.
"Bahrain Ambassador to India Mohammed Ghassen Shaikho, Indian Ambassador Mohan Kumar, Bahrain Civil Aviation Affairs, Indian Civil Aviation Affairs Ministry and Bahrain Air officials are involved.
"I am not sure why it's taking this much time."
Around 140 passengers in transit from Saudi Arabia were stranded in Bahrain for four days from March 30 after the dispute forced the airline to ground flights.
A delegation from the airline and Civil Aviation Affairs earlier flew to India in a bid to resolve the issue.
Anyone affected by cancelled flights has been urged to call the airline's call centre on 17333777.-TradeArabia News Service