Sunday, July 03, 2022

India’s Kochi Airport An Important Link For Flights To and From Sri Lanka

The airport in the South Indian city of Kochi announced on July 2nd that it has started accommodating ‘technical landings’ for refueling flights to nearby international destinations. The arrangement has been made keeping in view the needs of several carriers operating flights to and from fuel-starved Colombo airport in Sri Lanka.

For the first time, Cochin International Airport (COK) has started facilitating technical landing for refueling flights operating to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The airport can handle large twin-engine jets such as the 777, A330, A350, and 787.

In the last few days alone, several aircraft operating on the Colombo-Europe and Colombo-Middle East sectors have stopped at Kochi for refueling. As of July 2nd, Kochi airport has supplied 4,75,000 liters of fuel to such flights.

According to the airport, since June 29, 6 SriLankan Airlines flights bound for Sharjah, London Heathrow, and Frankfurt, two flights operated by Air Arabia to Abu Dhabi, and one flight operated by Jazeera Airways bound for Kuwait used the technical landing facility.

The airport is in talks with several airlines flying to Colombo and offering to use this facility. Kochi’s proximity to the Sri Lankan capital and its ability to handle big aircraft make it an ideal fuel stopover location. The Financial Express quotes the airport’s Managing Director S Suhas as saying,

“When we have foreseen the change in fuel distribution dynamics in the region, we upped the ante by recalibrating our apron management systems. Now more airlines have started contacting us and we are sure that this will boost our revenue potentials.”

Several airports around the world generate extra revenue by offering technical landings over and above regular operations. The airport in Kochi sees this as a good opportunity to bring in more cash while assisting air operations in and out of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis, with inflation moving beyond 50%, with everything costing a lot more, including food items. The country’s fuel reserves have also taken a massive hit, with the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka issuing a notice asking all airlines to carry extra fuel for their return journey.

However, this move will likely come at a cost for some carriers, particularly those that deploy smaller aircraft to the country. The problem is acute in the short-haul sector using narrowbody aircraft like A320 and A321, which have a smaller fuel carrying capacity. When these planes have to land at a third airport, the costs go up.

03/07/22 Gaurav Joshi/Simple Flying

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