Commercial flights resume operation in Kochi from naval airstrip
Commercial flight operations resumed in Kochi today, 20th August 2018, morning from the INS Garuda naval air station. An Alliance Air flight, which took off from Bengaluru, was the first flight landed in the naval airstrip. Alliance Air is a subsidiary of the state-run carrier Air India. Other airlines are also likely to fly to Kochi.
A joint team of the centre and the civil aviation ministry gave the go-ahead for the flight operations at the Navy’s air station in Kochi, since the Kochi International Airport has been closed followed by rain and flood in the state. The airport will remain closed till August 26, as water is yet to recede from the runways.
Earlier, The Ministry of Civil Aviation had delegated a team comprising officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Airports Authority of India (AAI) to examine the possibility of commencing civilian flights from the naval facility.
Alliance Air will operate its smaller 70-seater ATR 72 planes on this route. There will be two direct flights between Bengaluru and Cochin and one via Coimbatore, according to the airline’s spokesperson.
As per a twitter message from the Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, flights to other destinations such as Coimbatore and Madurai are likely to resume shortly. Meanwhile, The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) has informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they are willing to fly to flood-hit Kerala without taking any payment.