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Kochi airport's closure hits travel plans of Indian expats in UAE

Press Trust of India  |  Dubai 

Eid holiday plans of thousands of Indian expatriates from Kerala have been hit by the closure of the Cochin International Airport till Sunday after floodwaters submerged parts of the runway, media reports said on Friday.

Many are upset that their extended weekend plans have been disrupted. Most private companies in the country have declared Eid holidays from August 10 to 13.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Ashalatha Gangaprasad said she was shattered with the developments as her mother is critical in Kochi.

"I have Sharjah-Kochi 2.05 am Air India Express flight on Saturday. My mother is in hospital. I was counting hours to reach there and now an update that Kochi airport is shut till Sunday. I hope this flight will be diverted to either Thiruvananthapuram or Kozhikode airports," Gangaprasad said.

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

"We pray for those back home as situation is getting worse," Dubai resident Bose Prathap told the paper.

S Thomas, who was to take a Fly Dubai flight to Kochi on Thursday, told the Gulf that he along with other passengers had to disembark from the aircraft after reached the Kochi airport was shut.

"We don't know if the flight will be cancelled or diverted to some other airport. Anyway it seems there will be further delays. We are all waiting here," Thomas said.

The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) announced that flight operations suspended at 9 am on Friday will resume at 3 pm on Sunday.

Torrential rains in various parts of Kerala over the last few days has resulted in the death of 22 people and the shifting of about 22,000 others to relief centres, officials said.

The Kochi airport was non-functional for a fortnight in August 2018 due to inundation.

It suffered extensive damage, including a 2.6 km long wall that collapsed after the Periyar river overflowed. The estimated loss was then put between Rs 220-250 crore.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 09 2019. 17:00 IST