Cochin airport operational from today after flood havoc

Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala: Kochi airport, which had been rendered non-functional since August 14 due to flooding and torrential rains in Kerala, will reopen around 2 pm today. The first flight which will land at 2:05 pm will be a Pune-Bangalore-Kochi IndiGo flight.

“Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) is all set to commence full-scale operations (both international and domestic) at 2 PM on August 29,” a CIAL spokesperson said in a statement. Due to flooding of key areas of the aerodrome such as runway, taxiway, parking bays and apron, the Kochi airport has lost almost 2,600 meters of the perimeter wall. The airport suffered an estimated loss of over Rs 220 crore due to floods.

The airport was scheduled to commence operations on August 26, but extended the date by three days after most stakeholders, including airlines and ground handling agencies, expressed concern over mobilising manpower by that date.

Since August 8, heavy rain and floods in Kerala claimed 322 lives, with at least 3.42 lakh people still in relief camps across the state. Before the shutdown, the airport was the seventh largest airport in the country in terms of passenger traffic for 2017-18: A footfall of more than 10 million flyers. In terms of international passenger traffic, it was the fourth largest in the country after Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. On Tuesday, the facility’s power systems — the airport went fully solar three years ago — were being repaired with half of its 40 MW capacity in use. Airport staffs were being fed at the restaurants on the premises.

Kochi airport sees almost 55 per cent of its traffic from international passengers. In a report, CARE Ratings pointed out that passenger traffic of around 3.5-4.5 lakh is expected to be affected over a period of 12-15 days, causing revenue loss of Rs 22-27 crore to the airport. “An additional loss of business and revenue for other operations and services at the airport is expected to the extent of Rs 8-12 crore,” the report noted.

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