M.A. Yusuf Ali, an industrialist from the Middle East, has resigned from the Air India board.
Speaking to reporters Saturday, Ali said that in the past two years since he became a member of the board of directors of Air India, he had been unable to do anything for the Keralites working in the Middle East when the fares were going up.
"Moreover, with the Kerala government deciding to go ahead with the proposal to float Kerala Airways, I felt there would be a conflict of interest if I remain on the board of Air India. Hence, I decided to resign," he said.
Ali said the idea to start Kerala Airways was first floated at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Delhi more than five years ago.
"Now this proposal is going to be showcased in 'Emerging Kerala' - a business meeting to be held in Kochi in September," said Ali.
M.A. Yusuf Ali owns the Lulu Supermarkets chain in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
He has also been Kerala's ambassador in the Arab world where more than three million people from Kerala work.
Kerala Airways is a pet project of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. This was first talked about when he was chief minister from 2004-06. But the project had then failed to move forward.
In this project, the state government, along with private players, plans to form a company to operate air services to the Middle East.
Chandy, after becoming the chief minister again, has announced that conditions are ripe to revive the project.