Kochi airport to receive more evacuation flights this month

Private carriers, chartered airlines seek approval for operating more services

Published - June 04, 2020 12:24 am IST - KOCHI

The Cochin International Airport has handled nearly 10,000 persons returning home after they were stranded in the lockdown across the globe. The airport is now preparing to receive flights from destinations such as Cairo in Egypt and Cebu in The Philippines.

Apart from the national carrier Air India, a number of private airlines and chartered airlines have approached the airport authorities in Kochi to obtain approvals for operating evacuation flights, said a communication here.

The Vande Bharat Mission took off with the first airline touching down in Kochi on May 7.

The airport handled 8,554 inbound passengers, most of them from the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries, the USA and Europe. Air India and Air India Express operated 48 flights. Air India also operated stopover flights from San Francisco, Yerevan and Kiev.

The airport also received 12 special flights operated by the national carriers of countries such as Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Maldives, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. They flew back to their countries with more than 1,000 citizens/permanent visa holders, who were stranded in Kochi.

A chartered flight operated by Air Peace from Lagos, Nigeria, brought 312 persons to Kochi. Both Air India and Air India Express are planning more international flights.

An Air India flight from the East African country Djibouti will land here at 7.45 p.m. on June 5. The national carrier will operate a Vietnam-Bombay-Kochi flight on June 7; Cairo-Bombay-Kochi flight on June 16; Kiev-Delhi-Kochi flight on June 19; London-Bombay-Kochi flight on June 22 and Cebu (The Philippines)-Bombay-Chennai-Kochi flight on June 23.

Apart from their scheduled operations from the Gulf countries, Air Malta is planning an evacuation operation from Malta on June 9 and a British Airways flight is slated for June 10.

The airport has handled a total of 205 international cargo flights since March 2020. The total exports were 4,644 tonnes of cargo from Kochi. The import volume was 223 tonnes. About 75 per cent of the exports comprised fruits and vegetables.

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