Sri Lankan crisis: Over 120 aircraft made technical landing in Kerala airports

A top view of the Cochin International Airport.

A top view of the Cochin International Airport. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Kerala airports lent a helping hand to crisis-ridden Sri Lanka by providing technical landing facilities for the airlines bound for Colombo and flying out to West Asian and European destinations from Colombo, for refuelling and crew exchange.

Over 120 aircraft have made technical landings in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports since the political turmoil and shortage of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) gripped the country. Apart from Kerala airports, a good number of flights are also opting for Chennai airport for refuelling according to their convenience.

Since the last week of May, 91 aircraft made technical landings at the Adani group-run Thiruvananthapuram airport, which is closer to Sri Lanka in terms of aerial distance compared to other airports, to fuel up, while the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) facilitated the technical landing of 30 aircraft so far. Further, these two airports together have around 120 requests for technical landings till July 31 in view of the crisis in the island nation.

Speaking to The Hindu, a senior official close to Thiruvananthapuram airport said: “though the crisis is a blessing in disguise for the south Indian airports, we have been providing landing facility here more on a humanitarian ground as the majority of the technical landings are made here during the peak hours of the airport. However, we are doing our level best to offer the facility for all the aircraft bound for or from Lanka without upsetting our peak-hour traffic” .

The spokesperson of CIAL said a discount of 25% in landing fee is offered for flights in international routes for refuelling at the Cochin airport, which has an in-built hydrant fuelling system to meet the quick turnaround requirement of international carriers.

In a facebook post, Bharat Petroleum said “We are pleased to support Sri Lankan Airlines with refuelling of their long-haul flights at Indian airports. To overcome the jet fuel shortage there, more than 100 flights have been refuelled at Thiruvanathapuram, Chennai and Kochi airports, over the last fortnight by mobilising the assets and manpower for the on-time service, at a very short notice,” it said.

According to experts, the technical landing of foreign carriers is also a breather for the airports in south India as there is already a shortage of around 25 percent of flights after the COVID-19 outbreak, affecting the revenue of airport operators significantly. An airport will get around Rs 1 lakh for each technical landing. Earlier, the state government had slashed the tax on ATF to five percent for international carriers in a bid to attract more flights for refuelling. Similarly, the ports in the South also benefited earlier as mother vessels to Colombo were diverted to Cochin port following the crisis in Colombo port.

Landings in Kerala airports
91 aircraft have made technical landing for refuelling in Thiruvananthapuram airport so far
Cochin Airport facilitated technical landing of 30 aircraft bound or flying out of Lanka
Both two airports have requests to provide the facility for around 120 flights till July 31
An airport will get a fee of around Rs 1 lakhs for each technical landing

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2022 5:08:12 pm |