Mr Subeer Puzhayaruvath, Member of the Non-Resident Indians’ (Keralites) Commission, under the Government of Kerala, was in for a big surprise as he walked towards the check-in counter of Kannur Airport. The entire counter was decorated in traditional ways, reminding of the rich Malabar past.
By the time, he was presented with a rosebud at the boarding gate, he realised that he was the first passenger to check-in for IX 789, the inaugural flight of Air India Express connecting Kannur to Bahrain. He, and 167 other passengers, were becoming part of the illustrious history of Air India Express.
The senior management team of Air India and other dignitaries including His Excellency Mr. Alok Kumar Sinha, Ambassador of India to Kingdom of Bahrain; Mr. Ayman Abdulhameed Zainal, Chief Commercial Officer and Mr. Michael Hohenberger, Chief Airport Operations Officer, Bahrain Airport Company; Mr. Zaeem Gama, Divisional Chief Executive Office, Kanoo Travel (our GSAs in Bahrain); senior executives from Ministry of Civil Aviation Affairs, Bahrain Airport Services (Ground Handling Agent), officials from Immigrations and Customs, leading travel agents, and representative of social organisations like Kerala Samajam and Kannur Associations, were present when the inaugural flight touched down at Kannur.
Captain Mahender Bondugula and Captain Kesha Arun operated the maiden flight with cabin crew Ms. Susmitha Meppatt, Ms. Anima Athiyadath, Ms. Vaishali Singh and Mr. Deepak Verma, who also joined the function to mark the inaugural flight.
Mr. Saket Saran, Country Manager, Air India and Air India Express welcomed those present and and Mr Alok Kumar Sinha addressed the gathering. The sweetness of the event, beautifully conceived and organised by Bahrain Airport Company with support form Bahrain Airport Service, was heightened by cutting of a cake to mark the occasion.
Flight IX 789 departs Kannur at 8.10 am to arrive in Bahrain at 10.10 am on Mondays. On the return sector, the Bahrain-Kannur flight IX 789/790 leaves Bahrain at 11.10 am and fly to Kannur via Kuwait to reach Kannur at 8.10 pm. On Saturdays, flight IX 789 departs from Kannur at 7.10 am to arrive at Bahrain by 9.10 am and on the return sector, the flight departs from Bahrain at 10.10 am and reach Kannur at 7.10 pm via Kuwait.
The first flight, with almost full load departed from Bahrain at 1148 LT with 168 passengers (including 89 passengers from Bahrain) and the inaugural flight IX 789 from Kannur took off with 113 passengers.