New route from Abu Dhabi to Kerala proves popular with UAE residents

Air India Express is expected to also announce flights between Kannur airport and Dubai and Sharjar

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 18, 2016, visitors line up to enter an Air India Boeing 777 on display during the India Aviation 2016 airshow at Begumpet airport in Hyderabad.
India's airports are struggling to cope with a massive surge in passenger numbers and billions of dollars must be spent to boost their capacity, analysts have warned.
 / AFP PHOTO / NOAH SEELAM / TO GO WITH India-economy-aviation,FOCUS by Vishal Manve

Air India Express has launched a new route between Kannur International Airport in Kerala and Abu Dhabi, with additional connections to Dubai and Sharjah in the pipeline.

Tickets for the inaugural journey between the two airports went live on Monday, selling out of some tickets within minutes due to high demand.

The first international flight from Kannur airport will leave for Abu Dhabi on December 9, the day the airport is set to open.

Tickets start from Dh549 each way, offering a low cost route home for Keralese residents of the UAE.

There are an estimated 800,000 people from Kerala living in the country and Kannur airport expects to receive 1.5 million visitors each year.

Air India Express is currently the only carrier running international flights out of the south India airport, but the state has four other airports in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode, the first in India to do so.

Kannur airport will open up the north of the state to tourism and business, as well as acting as a cargo hub for the Malabar region of Kerala.

Early images of the airport show a modern terminal with a glass facade and marble floors.

The runway is due to be extended over the next two years, eventually running four kilometres long.