The Cochin International Airport (COK) has just announced that it will remain shut, and all flight operations will be suspended until 2pm on Saturday, August 18.
This news comes after the water in the nearby Chengalthodu canal overflowed, causing the flooding of the runways. An official release from CIAL said: “All operations have been suspended since the inflow of water is still on a rising trend.”
“We are looking to drain out the stormwater. All are requested to cooperate,” the statement added.
How has it affected travellers to and from Oman?
Passengers stranded in India can reach out on emergency numbers 0484 305-3500 and 0484 261-0094.
The situation has also caused confusions among those looking to travel from Muscat to Kochi, this week for Eid Al Adha and the South-Indian festival of Onam.
Flights are being diverted to the airport in Trivandrum, while arrangements are also being made for flights in other nearby airports.
Meanwhile, an Oman-expat travelling from Kerala told Y that he was provided the option to take a flight to Oman from either Calicut or Trivandrum. While his flight was rebooked for free, he stated that he wouldn’t be paid for 200kms, six-hour journey.
Another passenger who was to travel to Kochi tonight [Wednesday], told Y that his his flight, IndiGo, offered him two options – to either retract his ticket with a full compensation or transfer the ticket to Calicut or Trivandrum.
Lack of communication
Several travel agents are citing that airlines have been vague in providing details about the cancellation of flights, which is causing mass confusion among travellers from Oman to the state.
One travel agent, who wished to remain anonymous, told us: “We’ve been inundated with calls today from passengers who said that their airlines asked them to check with the travel agents for reimbursing their money for the tickets.
“While we’re happy to do so, we were then alerted by the airlines that the flights weren’t cancelled but would be diverted to other nearby airports. This means that their tickets are still valid.
“The airlines are providing conflicting information to passengers,” he added.
An unfortunate situation
An Indian-expat is in a limbo after his flight to Kochi was cancelled. He was due to get engaged post his arrival – but is now having to reschedule the date.
What’s the situation in Kerala?
After a brief reprieve from the rains for two days, parts of Kerala are now back to being battered by strong rains. This has forced authorities to open the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki reservoir.
Due to the heavy rains in the northern hilly districts, several landslides and floods have also been reported from districts like Wayanad, forcing thousands of people to move to relief camps.
As of Wednesday, the shutters of 33 dams in the state have been opened, and many districts are now under water.
It has been reported that almost 4,000 people will be shifted from the banks to various relief camps in the Idukki district.