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Kerala floods: Airlines, railways step up operations to provide assistance

The closure of flood-hit Kochi airport since August 16 has led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2018 23:15 IST
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Air India,Kerala floods,Kerala flights
Air India has offered to operate Boeing Dreamliners in case they want to deliver the materials to Thiruvananthapuram. (File photo)

Air India is likely to press bigger aircraft into service for flight operations to Kerala to help deliver relief material and clear passenger backlog. The closure of flood-hit Kochi airport since August 16 has led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

An official said they were in touch with those coordinating the delivery of relief materials. He added they have offered to operate Boeing Dreamliners in case they want to deliver the materials to Thiruvananthapuram. Dreamliners are long-haul, twin-engine planes, whose variants can seat up to 335 passengers.

“This is subject to permission. We operate Dreamliners on international routes but can divert them to the domestic sector if needed. We have already started ATR (smaller aircraft) operations from the naval base in Kochi and will subsequently increase the frequency,” said an Air India official.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has permitted three helicopter operators to drop flood relief material following Kerala’s request.

Other airlines have increased the number of flights to and from Trivandrum, Calicut and Coimbatore.

“Airlines are also displaying the status of rescheduled and additional flights on their respective websites along with providing a waiver of cancellation/change ticket charges. Eight foreign carriers have also rescheduled their flights to and from Thiruvananthapuram,” a civil aviation ministry official said.

IndiGo would operate three daily additional relief flights to and from Kochi naval base from Tuesday.

“IndiGo will operate 8 round-trip relief flights from Kozhikode, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Thiruvananthapuram in addition to flying three daily additional relief flights (round trips) from Kochi Naval base effective August 21 to August 26. IndiGo will ensure to provide cancellation and rescheduling waiver…,” an airline spokesperson said.

Daily special trains were running between Ernakulam to Thiruvananthapuram via Alleppey from August 15. Long distance services to Howrah, Gorakhpur and Chennai were being operated for the stranded passengers.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 23:02 IST