Budget airline IndiGo on Monday informed that it would operate flights from the Kochi naval base to provide more air connectivity to flood-hit Kerala. The state has been hit by the worst-ever floods in a century. A senior official at the Civil Aviation Ministry said that Jet Airways was also planning to start operations from the naval base.
Air India Group's Alliance Air yesterday started operations from the naval base. The base is being used for commercial flights as Cochin International Airport is shut till August 26 due to flooding of the runway. Alliance Air yesterday operated four flights to and from the naval base and ferried around 256 passengers.
In a statement issued on Monday, IndiGo said that it would continue to operate eight round-trip relief flights from Kozhikode, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Trivandrum. This would be in addition to "flying three daily additional relief flights (round trip) from Kochi naval base effective August 21, 2018 to August 26, 2018", the airline added.
Last week, aviation regulator DGCA had asked scheduled domestic airlines to mount additional flights in view of the closure of the Cochin airport.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said that the regulator was also monitoring airfares for flights connecting Kerala as this was a unique situation of 'humanitarian crisis'. The move came after concerns were raised on social media about the steep fluctuations in air ticket prices to and from Kerala.
"Over 10.78 lakh displaced people, including 2.12 lakh women and one lakh children below 12 years of age, have been sheltered in 3,200 relief camps. Today, 602 persons were rescued from various places as the rains receded," Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan yesterday said.
So far, over 350 people have lost their lives in the floods and landslides in the state where over 10.78 lakh people have been displaced since August 8.
(With inputs from PTI)