Dubai: Flight operations between the UAE and Kochi are set to resume on Sunday evening with the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) announcing that it will reopen by noon or 10.30am UAE time after the closure due to flooding on its premises.
The airport in the south Indian state of Kerala had suspended flight operations since 9pm (IST) on Thursday and had extended the closure of the airport till 3pm on Sunday. However, CIAL on Saturday announced that it will resume operations at 12 noon on Sunday, three hours ahead of the earlier plan.
“Apron water level is receding. Started cleaning operations,” the airport stated on its Facebook page at 11:30am (IST).
In a 12:55pm update, the airport added that six out of eight stranded aircraft at its premises departed with crew (ferrying without passengers). “The remaining two will fly to their destinations tomorrow as scheduled services.”
At least two airlines operating between the UAE and Kochi have confirmed resumption of services from Sunday evening.
Etihad and Air India Express
Air India Express (AIE) flight IX429 from Kochi to Abu Dhabi will be the first flight to the UAE taking off from Cochin International Airport at 5:20pm (IST), P.G. Prageesh, chief of corporate communications, AIE in India confirmed to Gulf News.
“Flight EY 282 is scheduled to depart Abu Dhabi at 1.55pm and arrive in Cochin at 7.30pm local time. The return service, EY 283, is due to leave Cochin at 9.25pm, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 11.55pm,”Etihad Airways said in a statement to Gulf News.
“Larger aircraft will be deployed to Cochin in the coming days to help move guests who have been unable to travel due to the flood disruption,” it added.
Though the airport is reopening by noon, the AIE flight IX 435 at 1.30pm to Dubai will still depart from Thiruvananthapuram as the arrangements had already been made for that flight, said Prageesh, However, IX 411 will be operating from Kochi to Sharjah at 10:45 pm local time, he added.
“From Monday, we expect to operate all Air India and Air India Express flights between the UAE and Kochi as per their scheduled timings,” another official in Dubai said.
“There are chances for some delays and we request the passengers to continue to cooperate with airlines,” the official added.
Meanwhile, Emirates on its website stated that it will continue to operate Kochi flights from Thiruvananthapuram with already announced schedules till Monday.
As of 5pm on Saturday, the airline had not issued any statement on the resumption of services to Kochi.
There were no further updates from Fly Dubai either. The airline told Gulf News that its statement provided on Friday remained valid.
Air Arabia website stated that it will operate the Sharjah-Kochi flight to Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.
Dozens of flights between the UAE and Kochi were diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports in Kerala following the closure. Some flights were cancelled and several flights were delayed as well.
Air India, Air India Express and Etihad Airways had waived off the charges for modifications made to bookings of Kochi flights till Sunday.