Private carrier Jet Airways has joined Air India arm Alliance Air in announcing flights to Kochi naval air base. The INS Garuda air strip was granted the Centre’s approval for civilian use on Saturday, following closure of the main airport in the city due to unprecedented rains. Jet Airways said it would operate one flight on Tuesday from Bengaluru to Kochi.
Alliance Air on Saturday announced starting of flight from Monday on its 70-seater ATR aircraft. Jet Airways, too, operates ATR planes. The Centre said on Sunday that a joint team of multiple aviation-related bodies and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) inspected the Kochi naval base, a day after announcing operation of commercial flights from the base from Monday to aid rescue efforts.
Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu said the watch hour at Vijayawada and Begumpet airports has been extended to facilitate relief operations by IAF aircraft. Watch hours refers to the time during which the airport remains open for operation. “A Joint team comprising representatives from DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation), BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security), CISF, AAI (Airports Authority of India) and Indian Navy carried out inspection of #Cochin Naval Base today to check the feasibility of scheduled operations from there,” Prabhu said in a tweet on Sunday. The clearance for civilian use of the naval airfield was provided following a safety risk assessment and laying down of standard operating procedure based on a test flight by Alliance Air on Saturday.