Flight operations from the international airport here resumed on Sunday afternoon, two days after it was shut due to inundation of the runway area following heavy rains, an official said.
The Abu Dhabi-Kochi Indigo flight touched down at around 12.15 pm, marking the resumption of the operations, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) official said.
Check-in commenced at 9 am in both the domestic and international terminals. The airport had on Friday suspended all operations till 3 pm on Sunday as the runway area in the airport was waterlogged due to floods.
Kochi Airport Resumes Operations
The operations were suspended as there was a rise in water level in Periyar river and a canal adjacent to the airport due to heavy rains lashing Kerala since last week.
The airport was non-functional for a fortnight in August 2018 due to inundation following the worst floods in the state in a century.
The temporary closure of the airport on Thursday had affected the travel plans of hundreds of UAE residents.
With some of the districts still reeling under water due to the heavy rain and floods, expats from the south Indian state of Kerala are glued to their TVs to get updates on the situation back home.
While the northern districts of Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Malappuram faced the worst with heavy rain and landslides continuing on Saturday, water level has been receding in the other districts, much to the relief of a few.
The scheduled reopening of Cochin International Airport on Sunday came as a relief for expats who were looking forward to spending at least two days of the long weekend with their relatives back home.
“According to the latest update from authorities, the airport will resume operations by 12.30pm (IST) on Sunday,” an Air India Express official in Abu Dhabi said.
However, even if they manage to fly out on Sunday, it has become difficult to find a return ticket from Kochi for Tuesday night or Wednesday morning (when office resumes in the UAE). Most of the flights are full.
For those who can extend their leave and aim for a weekend return, the fares are unbelievably high, with one pegged at more than Dh7,000.
At 6pm on Saturday, Emirates’ website showed it was set to resume services to Kochi only from Monday. For flight EK532, a Dubai-Kochi economy class ticket for Monday night was at Dh2,040. There are no return tickets available in the same category, but a first class ticket comes at Dh5,045, which makes the overall cost Dh7,085.
Etihad, too, will be back on service from Monday. An Abu Dhabi-Kochi economy class ticket was available at Dh1,403. However, return tickets for next week are sold out.
Some of the budget airlines will resume service on Sunday. Air India Express’ first flight to Kochi is on Sunday at 8.50pm and fares start at Dh890. However, a return ticket is available only from Wednesday and costs Dh2,004. So, one round trip ticket may cost around Dh2,900.
An Air Arabia Sharjah-Kochi ticket for Sunday costs Dh775, but the return ticket is available only for Thursday, at a cost of Dh1,539, placing the overall cost at Dh2,314.
News Source – Khaleej Times, Videos – Mathrubhumi.