NEW DELHI: Aviation watchdog DGCA gave go-ahead to operations of wide-body aircraft at the Calicut airport in Kerala and Saudi Arabian Airlines would soon start its service with the large A-330 and B-777 planes from there, the Centre said today.

The airport will also serve as an embarkation point for Haj pilgrims from the next year.

Operations of wide-body aircraft from the city was stopped in May 2015 over safety concerns, creating a furore from the locals and the large number of expatriates who made the city their hub for international travel.

For sometime in the past, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) discovered that Calicut needs to be upgraded to conforms to international safety standards, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu told reporters here.

“We took up the matter to get the mitigation in place soon and keeping passenger convenience in mind. The DGCA safety aspects are in place and DGCA has asked Airport Authority of India for commencing operations..,” he said.

Operations from the newly constructed Kannur International Airport would also start by October 1 this year, the Minister said.

International operations would start soon thereafter with Jet AirwaysNSE -2.95 % connecting the city with Abu Dhabi, GoAir will start a flight to Dammam in Saudi Arabia IndiGoNSE -1.00 % will operate a flight from there to Doha.

The services will start from the winter schedule begging October end.

Talking about Calicut airport, Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons, also present at the media interaction, informed the airport will act as an embarkation point for Haj pilgrims from next year.

The airport will also have a brand new international block by october end, with the total capacity going up from 3.5 to 5 million passengers per annum. It has been built at a cost of Rs 120 crore.

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