National carrier Air India and its low-cost arm Air India Express, on Friday said their flights scheduled to depart from the Kochi airport, which has been shut down till August 26 due to floods, will operate from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
While Air India said the new schedule, from Thiruvananthapuram, is for the August 18-20 period, AI Express said the new schedule will be effective till August 26, and the flights will depart from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
The rescheduled flights for Air India are AI 933 to Dubai, AI 047 to New Delhi, AI 682 to Mumbai, AI 511 to New Delhi and AI 510 to Chennai, a release said.
Kochi-based Air India Express operates seven daily flights to the Middle East from the now-flooded airport. Of these, five services connecting Muscat, Salalah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha will be operated from Thiruvananthapuram, while those to Sharjah and Bahrain will be from Kozhikode airport in the north.
AI Express also announced waiver of all penalties for modifications/cancellations/no-show/sector change, along with full refund for cancellations. This facility will be applicable to all flights to and from all the Kerala airports till August 26. The airline deploys 60 per cent of its total capacity from the state.
Against this, most private carriers have altogether cancelled their services to the commercial capital of Kerala, which is also the seventh busiest airport in the country, despite the government asking them to divert the flights to Thiruvanathapuram or Kozhikode.
Kerala is facing the worst rain fury and deluge in a century with 13 of the state's 14 districts under a red alert for the fifth day on Friday.
Floods and landslides have already taken the lives of over 247 people, where 2,11,000 people in 14 districts have been badly hit by the rains and floods and over 32,500 hectares of crops damaged, according to the home ministry's National Emergency Response Centre.