Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Cochin International Airport Ltd. (CIAL) and the State IT Mission will come together to promote growth in their respective sectors, Shriram Bharath, Managing Director of CIAL, said here on Thursday.

At a press conference, Mr. Bharath said an informal understanding had been reached between them.

“This will be a unique synergy, which will be mutually beneficial with both parties in a win-win situation,” he said.

The mission’s objective of promoting the growth of IT and related industry in the State go hand in hand with the airport’s goal of wooing more airlines and passengers, he said.

The hypothesis behind the association is that the growth of IT industry will lead to an influx of IT professionals and those from related areas to Kochi and other parts of the State, which the airport can exploit to its advantage. Besides, it will also benefit the company’s own information technology park, he said.

This association can also fuel the arrival of more airlines. Mr. Bharath recollected how the airlines asked for a potential passenger base while he approached them for connectivity to Europe and America from Kochi.

“The airline authorities had said that tourist traffic alone was not enough as it was seasonal. They demanded business travellers, which would be a reality with the association of CIAL and the State IT Mission,” he said.

This means that the airport now is on firm footing in demanding European and American connectivity.

He said that if the message from the meeting convened by the Chief Minister with airline authorities in August were to go by, Air India would launch European and American services from Kochi by December or January.

He said the airport had made an informal proposal to Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic, the initial response to which was positive.

Supporting his claim for better connectivity, Mr. Bharath said statistics showed that nearly 8,000 passengers flew out of Kerala monthly to various European and American destinations. They were now depending on connection services from Chennai, Mumbai and West Asia. “To start with, three services in a week will be sufficient to meet the existing demand.” The airport was trying to woo Jet Airways to make Kochi its base for its West Asia operations from March, he said.