V J Kurien, managing director of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), has said that heavy mist was the reason for as many as four flights being diverted from the airport on Sunday. Kurien told reporters here on Monday that nearly 400-metre-area of the runway was covered in thick mist early on Sunday, rendering it highly risky for landing of aircraft.
Oman Air WY225 flight from Muscat to Kochi was the first one diverted to Bangalore early on Sunday. Then, an Air India Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi-Delhi flight, AI466, was sent back to Thiruvananthapuram. The third flight to be re-routed, again to Thiruvananthapuram, was Air India flight AI054 from Mumbai to Kochi.
Kurian explained that the mist was too heavy, and the new landing facilities installed recently at CIAL were not yet fully operational. They are still in the testing stages, he said. “We have to wait for a couple of more months before RADAR becomes fully operational. Approvals from the naval airport authorities as well as coastal surveillance agencies are to be obtained before other technical works such as linking of radio signals is established,” he said.
To expand the duty-free shopping zone at the airport, a fully air-conditioned, 40,000 sq ft store room is being readied, he said. On the proposed second international terminal, he said, the paper work is being finished for tendering the civil structure on a cost of ` 250 crore. The terminal will have a carpet area of 15 lakh sq ft and three stories with an estimated cost of `850 crore, he said.