Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Sri Lankan crisis: Over 120 aircraft made technical landing in Kerala airports

Kerala airports lent a helping hand to crisis-ridden Sri Lanka by providing technical landing facilities for the airlines bound for Colombo and flying out to West Asian and European destinations from Colombo, for refuelling and crew exchange.

Over 120 aircraft have made technical landings in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports since the political turmoil and shortage of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) gripped the country. Apart from Kerala airports, a good number of flights are also opting for Chennai airport for refuelling according to their convenience.

Since the last week of May, 91 aircraft made technical landings at the Adani group-run Thiruvananthapuram airport, which is closer to Sri Lanka in terms of aerial distance compared to other airports, to fuel up, while the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) facilitated the technical landing of 30 aircraft so far. Further, these two airports together have around 120 requests for technical landings till July 31 in view of the crisis in the island nation.

Speaking to The Hindu, a senior official close to Thiruvananthapuram airport said: “though the crisis is a blessing in disguise for the south Indian airports, we have been providing landing facility here more on a humanitarian ground as the majority of the technical landings are made here during the peak hours of the airport. However, we are doing our level best to offer the facility for all the aircraft bound for or from Lanka without upsetting our peak-hour traffic” .

The spokesperson of CIAL said a discount of 25% in landing fee is offered for flights in international routes for refuelling at the Cochin airport, which has an in-built hydrant fuelling system to meet the quick turnaround requirement of international carriers.

In a facebook post, Bharat Petroleum said “We are pleased to support Sri Lankan Airlines with refuelling of their long-haul flights at Indian airports. To overcome the jet fuel shortage there, more than 100 flights have been refuelled at Thiruvanathapuram, Chennai and Kochi airports, over the last fortnight by mobilising the assets and manpower for the on-time service, at a very short notice,” it said.

12/07/22 Dhinesh Kallungal/The Hindu

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