In a bid to resume air travel for passengers in Kochi, the government has said that they will open the Cochin Naval Base for commercial flight operations from August 20th.
The main Cochin International Airport has been non-functional since August 14th due to flooding and will remain closed till August 26th. As a result, both domestic and international flights to Kochi are being diverted to other destinations such as Trivandrum and Calicut.
A joint team of experts from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA), Central Industrial Security Force(CISF), Airports Authority Of India(AAI) and Indian Navy was sent yesterday to inspect the naval base.
The base will be used by carriers such as Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, to operate 70-seater ATR aircraft to places such as Bengaluru.
Civil Aviation Minister, Mr. Suresh Prabhu has said that flights from the naval base to other destinations such as Coimbatore, Madurai could also start operations. Other airlines are likely to join this effort too.
The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing their willingness to fly the planes without payment, on a voluntary basis, to the cause of these operations.
Private carriers such as IndiGo and GoAir have said that they would be operating additional flights to and from Kozhikode, Coimbatore and Trivandrum from tomorrow till August 25 to different parts of the country.
Jet Airways has already started operating additional flights to Thiruvananthapuram from Mumbai, Bangalore, Dubai and Dammam. Vistara today said that it is operating all its Kochi-bound flights from Trivandrum.
According to a Cochin International Airport Limited(CIAL) personnel, it’s likely to take more time to resume operations since most part of the airport will most likely be submerged in water for several days.
Hopefully, with the government’s decision to start operations at the Cochin Naval Base, there will be a lot of relief for people in that region as they will be able to fly back to their homes, and the government will be able to send its aid to the people of Kerala with ease.