A Correspondent

Thanks to the increase in domestic tourists visiting the State since October last year

With the onset of tourism season about 6,000-7,000 persons used the airport per day

CIAL to start a trade fair and exhibition centre

Nedumbassery: Even as the civil aviation industry is experiencing a downturn globally, Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has registered a steep increase in the movement of passengers, thanks to a surge in the number of domestic tourists visiting the State.

The statistics available with CIAL suggests that though the total number of passengers using the airport grew only by 9 per cent during the first seven months of the current fiscal, it has jumped to over 13 per cent in the three months starting October 2009. CIAL had projected a growth rate of 10 per cent in its annual passenger movement at the start of the financial year.

According to CIAL Managing Director C.G. Krishnadas Nair, the number of domestic travellers moving through the airport had moved up from 4,000-5,000 persons per day to 6,000-7,000 persons with the onset of the tourism season in the State.

Given this sudden surge in the number of domestic passengers visiting the State and a steady growth in international sector, the company has now upgraded the expected number of passengers through here as 40 lakh a year.

During the last financial year, the international segment posted a growth of 13.52 per cent but the domestic sector faced a negative trend as both the aircraft and the passenger movement registered a marginal decline.

Mr. Nair said that CIAL plans to tap the large inflow of tourists to the State by promoting Kochi as the gateway to the ‘God’s Own Country’ by starting an exclusive tour division to coordinate between the tourists and the tour operators. This would enable the company to charge a commission apart from ensuring business for the tour agents without spending much on advertisement and other related expenses, he said.

Mr. Nair said CIAL would start a medium size trade fair and exhibition centre apart from opening more retail shops at the airport to tap the expected growth in traffic to Kochi. He said the airport company would conduct a seminar on the development of marine products exports in March as part of its efforts to develop Kochi as a hub of perishable cargo export in South India. At present, Saudi Airlines and Deccan 360 were carrying out freight services from here. The airport company was in consultation with the Emirates Airlines to launch its cargo carrier to Kochi.

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