In the face of imminent release of water from Idukki dam, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has constituted an emergency management cell to take necessary precautions.
CIAL aims to avert a repeat of the ordeal commuters had to undergo when unprecedented flooding threw flight operations out of gear for almost two days last month. The cell under the supervision of airport managing director V.J. Kurian and director A.C.K. Nair has undertaken a slew of measures to prevent water from flooding the operational area of the airport.
On August 5, water from a swollen Periyar, after the opening of shutters of the Edamalayar dam, gushed into the airport premises and flooded the parking bay, taxi bay and partially submerged the runway.
Water flowed into the airport through its drain that runs into Chengal Canal, which is linked to the Periyar.
Mr. Nair said the drainage system had been widened to ensure smooth flow of water from the airport premises. More importantly, water channels had been dug to divert water from outside. Sandbags had been kept ready to make a barrier against the water when needed.
Perimeter walls of the airport have been reinforced to prevent a breach, which was the case last time.
High capacity pumps have been kept ready to pump out water in the event water manages to enter the airport premises. Machines and tools have been kept ready if pulling down the wall or further widening of the drains becomes necessary.
“We are also in constant touch with the Dam Safety Authority and KSEB officials in Idukki. We will be warned before the dam is opened, giving us about six to eight crucial hours to make necessary arrangements,” Mr. Nair said. The flash floods of August had almost taken the airport authorities by surprise as it was the first such instance in the history of the airport.