Kochi airport under water, Navy ready to open air station for flights

In response to a request from the State government, the Navy on Friday agreed to open its air station INS Garuda at the naval base for operation of civil flights.

“While we have expressed our readiness, the DGCA [Directorate General of Civil Aviation] has to assess the situation and see for how long this would be required. If it is just for a day or so, it doesn’t make sense to put in place all the necessary systems, including the baggage screening machines, check-in counters and the like. But the ball is in their court now,” said a senior officer.

By Sunday

Meanwhile, efforts are under way at the Cochin international airport at Nedumbassery to dewater the flooded apron area. Flight operations from the airport have remained suspended since 9 p.m. on Thursday. “If it does not rain, the situation will be better as we are draining out water and will be able to resume operations by Sunday. Till then, flights have been diverted, mostly to Thiruvananthapuram,” a spokesperson of CIAL said.

Limited number

An officer said even if Garuda was opened for civil flights, only a limited number of flights would operate from there. “There cannot be any international flights anyway. Even last year, only half a dozen flights operated from there,” he said.

The airport had remained closed for 15 days during the floods of August, 2018.