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Kochi airport resumes operations on Wednesday after two weeks closure

Closed for a few hours on August 9 after the torrential rains began on August 8, and then from August 18 after runaways and terminals were inundated, the airport was scheduled to reopen on August 26. Cochin International Airport Limited later extended the date by three days.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2018 16:17 IST
Kochi airport,Kochi,Kerala floods
Submerged area near Cochin International Airport after monsoon rainfall, in Kochi on Aug 15, 2018. (PTI Photo)

The Kochi international airport, the busiest of Kerala’s three airports, resumed operations on Wednesday, almost two weeks after it was shut down as its key areas were submerged in the worst floods to hit the state in a century.

The airport in Kochi, which was closed due to the floods, has commenced its operations, the Kerala chief minister’s announced in a tweet. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan congratulated the officials and employees of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) on making the airport functional in a short time, it added.

Closed for a few hours on August 9 after the torrential rains began on August 8, and then from August 18 after runaways and terminals were inundated, the airport was scheduled to reopen on August 26. However, the CIAL had extended the date by three days after both the airlines and ground handling agencies said they will be unable to mobilise manpower by that date.

The airlines were notified regarding the resumption of operations and asked to make sure the smooth functioning of the services as per the schedule. Their websites have already started facilitating the journey planner for passengers from and on August 29.

Private carriers Jet Airways and Indigo had announced said they will restart services to Kochi airport from Wednesday.

“Jet Airways will resume its scheduled operations to Cochin International Airport (CIAL) from August 29. The airline’s first flight to Kochi (9W 0403 from Mumbai) is scheduled to arrive at 15:50 hrs (3.50 pm),” Jet Airways said in a statement.

Jet , which airlifted over 17 tonne of relief material free of cost, said it continues to aid relief operations in the state. It has also extended its waiver for passengers holding confirmed tickets and travelling into and out of the airport till Thursday and they can change dates up to September 15 from the original travel date, it added.

Budget carrier Indigo also said it will resume services from Kochi, the airline said in a tweet.

Ongoing flight services from naval air station INS Garuda, which was opened to airlines in wake of the closure, were suspended.

Following the inundation as water from the swollen Periyar river and its tributaries, which received an unprecedented amount of water released by major dams, entered the complex, CIAL had to rebuild the damaged infrastructure, including 2.5 km long airport wall that collapsed.

A CIAL official had said earlier the airport suffered an estimated loss of over Rs 220 crore in the floods. The runway, taxi bay, duty-free shops and other areas of international and domestic terminals were also submerged, causing damage to electrical equipment including runway lights, the official said.

He said the Rs 60-crore solar power system, billed as one of the biggest in an airport, also suffered damage in the floods.

The airport, the seventh busiest in the country, had handled 10 million passengers in fiscal 2017-18.

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 09:14 IST