CHENNAI

Chennai airport sees increase in helicopter and special flight movements ahead of elections

Officials said there were 161 movements of helicopters and special flights, with 77 arrival flights and 84 departure flights at Chennai airport, in the last 15 days

As the TN Assembly elections approach, the Chennai airport has been buzzing with helicopters and special flights flying in and out, carrying politicians who travel to campaigns in various districts.

Officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said there were 161 movements of helicopters and special flights with 77 arrival flights and 84 departure flights at Chennai airport in the last 15 days. Totally, in the past two weeks, 228 passengers have travelled through special flights, officials said.

A few politicians took helicopters or special flights to districts like Coimbatore, Tiruchi and Madurai for election campaigns. “While a few still continue to travel by regular flights, some of them prefer special flights because it saves time. They can arrive or depart according to their convenience, depending on the timing of their campaigns. This is definitely more expensive than travelling by regular flights. It could cost anywhere between a minimum of ₹1.5 lakh to ₹3 lakh, depending on what aircraft is chosen and the facilities,” an official said.

Officials said that after COVID-19 and the lockdown, the number of chartered flights arriving in the city had gone up with many passengers coming in from the Middle East through such flights. “Usually, whenever elections are approaching, we see a significant increase in the number of helicopter or special flight movements in the airport. This is what has happened this time too. In the coming two weeks also, we may see more movements,” another official said.

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