Cochin International Airport races against time to restart operations

The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) which suspended operations on August 15 after rainwater

Published: 23rd August 2018 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd August 2018 04:00 AM   |  A+A-

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Representational image. (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

KOCHI:  The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) which suspended operations on August 15 after rainwater flooded the operational area, is racing against time to resume services before the deadline as it has suffered some vital damages in its infrastructure, including runway. CIAL which was shut for flights until August 18 in the beginning and then extended the suspension of operations to August 26, has now further extended the date to August 29 for restarting operations. However, even starting the full-fledged operation of the airport on August 29 is still doubtful as it has to complete a host of works in the stipulated time. 

CIAL has to carry out the profile milling of its taxiways associated with the runway by removing the top layer of the old asphalt base in order to roughen the surface. Further, the friction on the runway has to be tested and approved by the Airport Authority India officials for the opening of the airport.Besides, the navigation equipment installed at the airport have to be calibrated, including Instrument Landing System, which will allow the aircraft to take off and touch down on the runway from both directions of the same tarmac, Distance measuring equipment (DME), a transponder-based radio navigation technology, runway lightings and PCN (strength)  and other equipment in the ATC before the opening of the airport. 

The compound wall construction and other allied works related to it can be completed in a time-bound manner. The opening of the airport will depend on how soon other works can be completed by the officials, said sources in the airport. CIAL has suffered a cumulative loss of Rs 230-250 crore after the flood water submerged the airport. 

A solar field set up at the airport which brought the recognition of the first solar-powered airport in the world has also become dysfunctional after the flood water submerged the photovoltaic cells. 
For restarting the operation of the airport, solar power is not essential as it has other means to charge the equipment. But CIAL is moving ahead with an idea of making operational its solar field too before the deadline.

Date extended to August 29
A review meeting held at CIAL on Wednesday has decided to start operations at 2 pm on August 29 against the deadline of August 26. The decision was taken in view of most of the stakeholders, including airlines and ground handling agencies, expressing concerns over mobilising man power, said a release from CIAL.  It was informed 90 per cent of the staffers got affected by the flood and are out of station. Nearby hotels, restaurants, and eateries still remain closed. As central Kerala is yet to recover from post-flood trauma, it is a daunting task to arrange local commutation, logistics, of catering items which will cause a cascading effect on the passengers. In view of these apprehensions, CIAL decided to extend the date of resuming operations for three more days, said the release. 


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