The Cochin International airport, which had been rendered non-functional since August 14 due to flooding and torrential rains in Kerala, reopened around 2 pm on Wednesday. Indigo flight 667 from Ahmadabad to Kochi, was the first flight in two weeks to land at the CIAL. A number of 33 flights are scheduled to arrive and 30 others are scheduled to depart from the airport today. The number includes both domestic and international flights.
Due to flooding of key areas of the aerodrome such as runway, taxiway, parking bays and apron, the Kochi airport has lost almost 2,600 meters of the perimeter wall. The airport suffered an estimated loss of over Rs 220 crore due to floods. The airport was scheduled to commence operations on August 26, but extended the date by three days after most stakeholders, including airlines and ground handling agencies, expressed concern over mobilising manpower by that date.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is on a two-day tour of flood-affected areas in Kerala. On Tuesday, he visited flood relief camps in Chengannur, Chalakudy and Paravur, some of the worst affected areas. Addressing nearly 200 people at the St Francis Assissi school in Athani, Rahul said, “I want all of you to know that you are not alone, we are with you. We are not in government either in Delhi or in Kerala. We cannot do very big things, but we are going to do whatever we can. In its own limited way, the Congress is collecting funds to help you.” He is scheduled to visit several places including Kochi today.
Kochi airport resume operations today. Follow LIVE updates
Rahul Gandhi visits damaged Cheruthoni bridge in Idukki
HDFC Bank to adopt 30 flood-hit villages in Kerala
HDFC Bank has announced that it will adopt 30 villages in Kerala. As part of its long-term relief and rehabilitation efforts, this initiative is aimed at helping people in the worst-hit parts of the state recover, and encompasses the following:
- setting up medical camps and rebuild health centres affected in the flood
- supporting the renovation/reconstruction of local schools
- imparting skills training to families to restore livelihood
"Had no problem at all landing the aircraft'
Gurpal, the Indigo pilot who flew the flight from Ahmadabad, said CIAL has done a brilliant job cleaning the airport in the wake of unprecedented floods. "I had no problem at all landing the aircraft," he said.
CM Vijayan congratulates CIAL employees after Kochi airport resumes its operations
Pune-Kochi IndiGo flight also lands at CIAL airport
Ahmedabad-Kochi Indigo flight landed first at Kochi airport
Ahmedabad-Kochi Indigo flight landed first at the CIAL airport in Nedumbassery at 2:05 pm. Operations were suspended on August 15 after floodwaters came in.
Jet Airways airlifted over 17 tonne of relief material free of cost in Kerala
Jet also said it continues relief efforts in support of the flood-affected people in the state, adding the carrier airlifted over 17 tonne of relief material free of cost. The airline has also extended its waiver for passengers holding confirmed tickets and travelling into and out of the airport till tomorrow and guest can change dates up to September 15 from the original travel date, it added.
Jet Airways's first flight will land at Kochi airport at 3:50 pm
"Jet Airways will resume its scheduled operations to Cochin International Airport (CIAL) from August 29. The airline's first flight to Kochi (9W 0403 from Mumbai) is scheduled to arrive at 15:50 hrs," Jet Airways said in a statement.
Rahul Gandhi visited relief camps in Chengannur, Chalakudy and Paravur yesterday
Gandhi, who arrived in the state on Tuesday, also visited flood relief camps in Chengannur, Chalakudy and Paravur, some of the worst affected areas. At the camp in Athani, Gandhi, accompanied by Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala, former CM Oommen Chandy, KPCC president M M Hassan and MLAs Anwar Sadath and Hybi Eden, walked through the centre of a hall filled with several families affected by the floods. He shook hands with many of them, asked them their problems and assured them that the party’s local MLA and leaders would help them survive the tragedy.
You are not alone, Congress helping in its limited way: Rahul Gandhi to Kerala people
Touring flood-affected areas in Kerala on Tuesday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi assured inmates of a relief camp near Kochi that his party in its limited way would do everything possible to help the people get back on their feet. Addressing nearly 200 people at the St Francis Assissi school in Athani, Rahul said, “I want all of you to know that you are not alone, we are with you. We are not in government either in Delhi or in Kerala. We cannot do very big things, but we are going to do whatever we can. In its own limited way, the Congress is collecting funds to help you.”
Sad that central govt has not given as much aid as they should: Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi also said, "There are two different visions of India, one is a centralized vision and other is decentralised vision. One respects only one ideology, based out of Nagpur & other respects all different ideas, cultures, different people in this country. That fight is on. The extent of support that the central govt has given should be more. This is owed to the people of Kerala. It is their right. I am sad that central govt has not given as much aid as they should."
Govt must assure people it's going to help re-building houses: Rahul Gandhi
"I have visited a large number of camps yesterday, people are worried. I spoke to Kerela CM too. It is important that the govt gives a sense to the people that it is going to help re-build the houses. Compensation promised should be delivered quickly," says Rahul Gandhi.
Have come here as a support and not to politicise the situation, says Rahul Gandhi in Kochi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi who is in Kochi today, said, "I have come here as a support and not to politicise the situation. I will not comment on the nature of this crisis." He said this on being asked if Kerela floods is a man-made crisis.
INS Garuda naval base served as Kochi’s main airport till 2000
Following the closure of the airport, some of the airlines have moved their Kochi operations to nearby airports such as Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, while some of them have started operating to the naval air base in the city. The INS Garuda naval base served as Kochi’s main airport till the year 2000.
Kochi airport sees almost 55 % of its traffic from international passengers
The seventh-largest in the country, in terms of passenger traffic, the Kochi airport sees almost 55 per cent of its traffic from international passengers. In a report, CARE Ratings pointed out that passenger traffic of around 3.5-4.5 lakh is expected to be affected over a period of 12-15 days, causing revenue loss of Rs 22-27 crore to the airport. “An additional loss of business and revenue for other operations and services at the airport is expected to the extent of Rs 8-12 crore,” the report noted.
Kochi airport lost almost 2,600 meters of the perimeter wall
On Tuesday, CIAL had said that due to incessant flooding, the airport lost almost 2,600 meters of the perimeter wall. It added that the water-logging on the runway, taxiway, parking bays had completely receded but the runway needed some milling work, which was expected to be completed within two days.
Kerala floods claimed 322 lives
Since August 8, heavy rain and floods in Kerala claimed 322 lives, with at least 3.42 lakh people still in relief camps across the state. Before the shutdown, the airport was the seventh largest airport in the country in terms of passenger traffic for 2017-18: A footfall of more than 10 million flyers. In terms of international passenger traffic, it was the fourth largest in the country after Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. On Tuesday, the facility’s power systems — the airport went fully solar three years ago — were being repaired with half of its 40 MW capacity in use. Airport staff were being fed at the restaurants on the premises.
Earlier, Kochi airport was scheduled to reopen on August 26
Within days, the sanitation work was completed and the airport received approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to reopen on August 26. “But both we and the airlines lacked adequate ground staff, many of whom were affected by the floods. Most of them were from around here and they were busy cleaning their own homes,” Jayan said. The reopening date was then reset to August 29. “We will soon commission surveys in the area to prepare plans should such floods ever visit it again. But there is no way to stop such floods and the reaction would likely be the same,” the official said.
Around 300 to 400 workers were engaged in the clean-up operations
However, the airport’s unique public-private partnership ensured that funds and resources were within reach, Jayan said. “We engaged around 300 to 400 workers for the clean-up operations. Equipment was brought in from Bengaluru and the taxiway was recarpeted using milling machines from Tamil Nadu. Each light on the runway was extracted and tested,” said Jayan.
'Kochi airport runway had become the river'
“The runway had become the river. It drowned our substation, all generators, and systems,” Jayan said. For three days, the airport suspended all activity. “None of us officials could even go to the airport to hold meetings. Finally, on August 20, there was some respite and we could start planning our way forward,” the official said. The runway had not been seriously affected and the damaged boundary wall was temporarily fixed using metal sheets. But the airport had lost the utility of four conveyor belts, 22 x-ray machines and almost all power generation systems. Around 800 runway lights had to be tested before they were switched on.
What all got damaged at Kochi airport
The first to go were the boundary walls. Of the 10-km perimeter, around 2.5 km gave way to the fast current. Water flowed to quickly cover the runway, the taxiway and gushed into the lower terminal. The solar system was damaged. Vehicles, including those of passengers, parked in the premises were damaged. An Air India aircraft lay on the taxiway. The damage, according to official estimates: Nearly Rs 300 crore.
On August 15, water reached 4-meters high at some places at airport
On August 15, after a series of flood alerts were issued, furniture was being rushed to the upper floors of this block when the Periyar river flowing nearby surged inside the compound. Overnight, the water swallowed the world’s first fully solar-powered airport, shutting the facility down. “Water reached four meters high at some places. We had been pumping water out since August 10 but since the Cheruthoni and Idamalayar dams were opened together on August 15, it was too much to take,” Jayan P S, public relations officer, Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), told The Indian Express.
Kochi airport officials were on a tight deadline
On Tuesday, outside the Kochi airport’s administrative block, officials rushed sofas to the departure section of the domestic terminal. They were on a tight deadline. After multiple reschedules, the flood-hit airport had announced that it would reopen at 2 pm Wednesday. “We don’t know what we would have done without them… Jaldi karo, jaldi (Do it fast, hurry),” an official said, while urging two workers, from the migrant labour force that forms the backbone of Kerala’s economy, to carry a sofa inside.
Kochi airport is India's seventh largest
Before announcing the reopening of India's seventh largest airport, an airport operator had last Monday said, “A meeting was held at CIAL today to review the damage control activities at Kochi airport, wherein most of the stake-holders including airlines and ground handling agencies expressed their concerns over mobilising manpower." He also said that nearly 90 per cent of the employees of various stakeholders working there were affected due to floods and were out of Kochi.
See how Kochi airport looked like on August 15
This is how Kochi airport looked like on August 15. It is estimated that the CIAL suffered at least Rs 220 crore losses due to the fortnight-long closure of operations.
Pune-Bangalore-Kochi IndiGo flight to land first at Kochi airport
As the Cochin international airport resumes its operations today, private carriers Jet Airways and Indigo today has said they will restart services which were discontinued from August 14 after the airport was shut due to flooding. The first flight which will land at 2:05 pm will be a Pune-Bangalore-Kochi IndiGo flight.
Welcome to our LIVE blog. The Kochi airport and the government schools in Kerala are scheduled to reopen today. Also, Rahul Gandhi is in Kochi on the second day of his flood-ravaged Kerala tour. Follow to get the latest updates.