Kochi: A long-cherished demand of the Kerala diaspora and the business community here turned into a reality when an Air India non-stop flight from London landed here on Friday.
The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) welcomed the AI 1186 aircraft with a water salute.
As part of promoting direct connectivity to Europe, CIAL has decided to waive off entire landing fee for airlines operating direct European services to Kochi.
The decision will give an instant advantage to the national carrier as it has scheduled direct London-Kochi flight till September 27.
The Air India flight from London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) landed at Kochi on Friday with 130 passengers on board.
A 'follow me' vehicle service was facilitated by CIAL and as the aircraft entered the taxiway link, the fire tenders of CIAL Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting team gave a water salute.
The Air India flight departed to London with 229 passengers.
Air India has scheduled LHR-COK-LHR direct flight services till September 27 as part of Vande Bharat mission.
There will be two services weekly. The Friday flight is scheduled to land here at 0400 and will depart to London at 0600 whereas the second service will arrive at 0015 on Sundays and depart at 1220 on the same day.
This is the first time that the national carrier is operating a direct London service from Kochi and back.
CIAL had taken the decision to waive off the landing fee for airlines operating direct flights from Europe years ago and has been in discussion with many of them.