German cruise liner Aida Aura docked in Kochi on March 30

The international terminal of the Cochin International Airport Limited here on Tuesday witnessed a huge movement of international ‘turnaround’ tourists, thanks to the German cruise liner Aida Aura that docked in Kochi on March 30.

As many as 949 international tourists in three aircraft landed here from Germany during the day to board the luxury cruiser while about 827 passengers who had disembarked from the ship, returned by the same aircraft.

The turnaround operations got off to a formal start as the first chartered flight from Frankfurt landed here by 2.25 a.m., followed by three other flights from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Senior officials of CIAL were present at the airport to coordinate the simultaneous arrival and departure of tourists, which continued till 9 a.m.

Large coaches and luggage vans were pressed into service to assist the guests.

Though a lean hour, arrangements were made at the immigration counters to expedite the clearance procedure apart from setting up a help desk outside the arrival lounge to carry out the paper works. All the arriving guests were taken straight to the Kochi port to complete the immigration and check-in formalities for boarding the ship.

With Kochi fast emerging as the prime cruise destination in the country, CIAL is taking more proactive steps in developing a ‘cruise exchange’ by connecting the airport with the Kochi port. With the initiative, it proposes to improve the number of chartered aircraft landings at the airport here and seeks to expand revenue from its core service of aircraft landings apart from earning directly for its role as the facilitator.

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