Friday, August 24, 2018

Air India Express stays afloat despite closure of Nedumbassery airport

Kochi: Air India Express, which operates the largest number of services from Kerala, managed to hold its operations unaffected to a large extent despite one of its aircraft getting trapped inside the flood-hit Cochin International Airport (CIAL).
According to Air India Express authorities, a Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft used to operate on the Kochi-Madurai-Singapore route got marooned inside CIAL on August 15 when the airport was inundated by floodwater. 
To avoid its aircraft being trapped inside CIAL in the event of a flooding, Air India Express had actually terminated its service at Madurai airport a day earlier when the authorities opened the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam.
However, the crew decided to take the aircraft to CIAL on August 14 after officers assured them the airport operational area was free from floodwater. But things went out of control a few hours after the aircraft landed with floodwater submerging the entire airport. 
When the aircraft got marooned, the crew sealed the engine to prevent floodwater getting into the engine cabin and damaging other vital parts. Company officers said the aircraft, which has now been shifted to the airport hanger, is safe and will be pressed into service after changing its engine oil. 
Of the 92 flights operated by Air India Express from CIAL in a week, only three flights on the Cochin-Madurai-Singapore route were cancelled due to flooding. Air India Express ran the rest of the services after diverted them to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports.
24/08/18 Dhinesh Kallungal/New Indian Express