Kochi airport closure disrupts plans of UAE-based expats

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Dubai, Aug 9 (IANS) The closure of the Kochi airport till Sunday due to incessant rains across in Kerala has affected travel plans of Indian expats in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who had booked tickets for the long weekend, the media reported on Friday.

The Cochin International Airport Limited on Friday announced the sudden suspension of flight operations at 9 a.m., leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. The airport will resume operations at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

The decision to close the airport was taken after flood water reached the airport’s taxiway.

Ashalatha Gangaprasad, who was set to return home to see her ailing mother, is shattered with the development.

“I have a Sharjah-Kochi 2.05 am Air India Express flight on Saturday. My mother is in hospital… I was set to leave alone as this is an emergency and ticket fares are very high for my family to travel. I hope this flight will be diverted to either Thiruvananthapuram or Kozhikode airports,” she told the Khaleej Times.

Dubai resident Bose Prathap is set to reschedule his travel to Kochi with his family.

“I have tickets booked for an early morning flight on Monday. With the Kochi airport shut till Sunday and heavy rain scheduled for next few days, I had to reconsider my travel plans. This was a long-planned holiday but unfortunately is getting marred by rain.”

Sujith, a Sharjah resident, had planned his trip to Kochi from Dubai on Saturday. He has his housewarming at Kottayam planned for next week.

“I have to check with the airline for any updates and if they cancel the flight, I will have to look for some other flight to Thiruvananthapuram. Even if I manage to get tickets, I’m not sure I will be able to reach my home in Kottayam.”

More than 100 domestic and international flights operate from the Kochi airport in a day.

Though the airport staff was pumping out water from the taxiway and the sides of the airport, nine aircraft that arrived here on Thursday night, are still parked in the bay, unable to fly out.

So far 23 deaths have been reported from various parts of Kerala due to rains and floods.

–IANS

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