*Direct flights from Doha to Kochi may resume on August 26
Direct flights from Doha to Kochi may resume on August 26 as the Kerala airport plans to reopen that day.
The airport owner CIAL (Cochin International Airport Limited) on Tuesday said, “We hope that we can resume operations on August 26 as announced earlier.”
Kerala’s largest airport at Nedumbassery near Kochi was shut down on August 15 due to heavy rain and floods, which caused the runway, taxiway and apron to be submerged.
It was initially slated to resume operations at 2pm on August 18, but owing to the severity of the floods, it was deferred to August 26.
Qatar Airways and Indian carriers – Air India Express, Jet Airways and IndiGo operate direct flights between Doha and Kochi.
Qatar Airways has already rerouted its flights - QR516 and QR517 between Doha and Kochi (Nedumbassery) to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport until August 25.
Air India Express has already diverted its Kochi flights to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
Thousands of Qatar residents from central Kerala have been relying on Nedumbassery airport to fly to Doha.
Doha, which also provides excellent connectivity to the three international airports in Kerala – Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode, has been a popular transit point for thousands of Malayalis living in North America and Europe besides the Middle East.
CIAL said that flood waters have completely drained off its runway, taxiway and parking bays. It also stated milling work on the runway will be completed in two days. It said cleaning work inside the terminals is in progress and re-construction work has already begun.
“To ensure utmost safety, all runway lights (almost 800 of them) have to be removed, tested and refitted. Another challenge is the re-construction of the flood-hit perimeter wall. We have lost almost 2,600 metres of the wall,” a CIAL update on Tuesday said.