New Delhi/Kochi, Aug 19 (IANS) State-run Air India’s subsidiary — Alliance Air — will commence operations from Kochi naval base to aide the rescue operations in flood-hit Kerala.
According to the airline, flight operations will commence from August 20.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu in a series of tweets said that due to disruption of flights from Kochi Airport, a joint team sent by the Ministry approved to commence scheduled flights by Alliance Air ATRs between Bangalore and Kochi naval air base.
Prabhu further said that more destinations, including Madurai, will be added soon and that other airlines are also likely to join the effort.
“In view of disruption of flights from Cochin airport due to floods, a joint team sent by @MoCA_GoI has approved starting of scheduled commercial flights using ATRs by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, between Bangalore and Cochin Naval Air base. #KeralaFloods,” the Minister tweeted.
“The flight operations between Bangalore and Cochin Naval air base will be starting from 20th August morning. More destinations such as Coimbatore, Madurai are also in the pipeline. Other airlines are likely to join this effort too. All possible steps are being taken #KeralaFloods.”
Earlier in the day, Alliance Air operated a proving flight to the Kochi naval base.
“As an exemplary initiative to fly out stranded people, AI’s subsidiary Alliance Air operated a non-commercial proving flight on an ATR (turboprop) to Kochi’s naval base with a team of DGCA, AAI and flight safety officials,” Air India said in a statement.
“This whole exercise is aimed at confirming the feasibility of having Alliance Air operate more flights to Kochi’s defence airbase with turboprops to evacuate passengers.”
The development comes as the state reels under torrential rains and the worst floods the state witnessed.
The grim situation has left the state with only two operational civil airports at Thiruvananthapuram and Calicut, as operations at Kochi airport have been suspended till August 26 on account of rising water levels in the operational area.
The civil airport in Kochi is severely flooded and stands closed till August 26.