Floods force Kochi airport closure till Sunday


National | Written by : IANS| Updated: Fri, Aug 09, 2019, 12:50 PM


Floods force Kochi airport closure till Sunday

Kochi (Kerala), Aug 9 (IANS) Chaos gripped Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) after authorities announced sudden suspension of flight operations at 9 a.m. on Friday leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. The airport will resume operations at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

CIAL Director A.C.K.Nair said the decision to close the airport was taken after flood water reached the taxiway. "We first decided to shut it till midnight, but then extended the closure till Sunday looking at the rising water in Periyar river. At the moment, there is little water on the runway," Nair told IANS.

More than 100 domestic and international flights operate from the Kochi airport in a day. Though the airport staff was pumping out water from the taxiway and the sides of the airport, nine aircraft that arrived here on Thursday night, are still parked in the bay, unable to fly out.

"My son had to rejoin duty in Qatar today, but he cannot fly out," said an anxious father.

Nair said that it was the responsibility of the airlines to ensure alternate arrangements for passengers who were booked to travel from Kochi. "I am told they are doing the needful," he added.

However, with no proper facilities and in absence of proper information, many people were seen running around. 

"I had come to drop my grandchildren who are booked to travel to Dubai. After reaching here we learnt that the airport had been closed. After much effort to contact the airline, we were told to proceed to Thiruvananthapuram, but we are still not being told if the travel is guaranteed. 

"To reach Thiruvananthapuram in such heavy rain will take us at least seven hours, but we are helpless," said an aged couple.

The Kerala government, which was expected to run special buses for passengers to reach Thiruvananthapuram airport, too failed to do so complicating things further.

Incidentally, last year too operations at the Kochi airport were suspended on August 8 after floods hit the state and resumed after a fortnight.