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Dubai Businessmen Launch Low-Cost Airline Air Kerala

Introduction Of Dubai

Indian expatriates might soon enjoy budget-friendly flights home as Air Kerala, a new low-cost airline, inches closer to becoming a reality. This initiative, spearheaded by two Dubai-based entrepreneurs, Afi Ahmed and Ayub Kallada, recently received an initial no-objection certificate (NOC) from India’s civil aviation ministry. The announcement was made during a press conference held in Dubai, marking a significant milestone in the airline’s journey.


A copy of the NOC, reviewed by Khaleej Times, indicates that Air Kerala, officially registered under the name Zettfly Aviation, has been granted permission to operate scheduled commuter air transport services for a period of three years. This green light sets the stage for the airline to begin its operations, with a vision to provide affordable travel options for the Indian expatriate community and promote tourism and trade in Kerala.

Visionaries Behind Air Kerala

The concept of Air Kerala is the brainchild of Afi Ahmed and Ayub Kallada, both prominent figures in the UAE’s business community. Speaking to Khaleej Times, Afi Ahmed, who is also the founder of the travel agency Smart Travels, expressed his excitement and relief at receiving the NOC. “This is the result of years of our hard work,” Ahmed stated. “My partners and I have been working tirelessly to make this a reality. Several people questioned us and dismissed it, saying it would never become a reality. We still have a long way to go, but the NOC is a big step for us.”

Ahmed’s dedication to this project is evident in his substantial investment. Last year, he spent a considerable amount—Dh1 million—on Dubai acquiring the domain name Initially seeking an aggregator website, he stumbled upon the domain and seized the opportunity, rekindling the hopes for Air Kerala, a project first proposed by the Kerala government in 2005. Dubai

Path Forward

With the NOC secured, Air Kerala now faces several months of crucial groundwork before its inaugural flights can take off. Ayub Kallada outlined the next steps, emphasizing the importance of acquiring aircraft and meeting stringent regulatory requirements to obtain an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). “This is a critical phase that ensures we meet all safety and operational standards set by the aviation authorities,” Kallada explained. Dubai

The airline’s launch is anticipated to create at least 350 jobs in Kerala, further boosting the local economy. The entry of Air Kerala into the market is expected to bring down airfares for expatriates, providing a cost-effective travel option for those who frequently commute between the UAE and India. Dubai

Economic and Social Impact

Air Kerala’s inception is poised to significantly impact tourism and trade in Kerala. By offering affordable flights, the airline aims to attract more tourists to the region, thereby boosting local businesses and the hospitality sector. Additionally, the initiative promises to facilitate smoother travel for expatriates, enhancing their connection with their homeland and supporting the socio-economic ties between India and the UAE.

The airline’s development also reflects the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience of its founders. Despite facing skepticism and numerous challenges, Ahmed and Kallada’s commitment to realizing their vision demonstrates the potential for innovative solutions in the aviation industry, particularly in meeting the needs of specific communities.


As Air Kerala progresses towards its official launch, it symbolizes a significant step forward in affordable air travel for Indian expatriates. The dedication and perseverance of Afi Ahmed and Ayub Kallada have not only brought this project to fruition but also paved the way for enhanced connectivity and economic growth in Kerala. The aviation community and potential passengers alike will be watching closely as Air Kerala prepares to take to the skies, promising a new era of low-cost, accessible travel between the UAE and India.


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