Heavy flooding in Kerala has prompted Indian authorities to close Cochin International Airport until Saturday, August 18
Cochin International Airport in the Indian city of Kochi has suspended operations for four days amidst heavy rains and rising water levels caused by the opening of damn shutters on the nearly Periyar River, it was announced on Wednesday.
The airport is expected to remain closed until Saturday, August 18 at 2pm local time, according to the airport’s website. No flights to or from the airport will operate until that time.
5.30 AM 15-08-18
Operations suspended to/from Cochin International Airport till 1400 hrs...due to flood level in and around Airport.
CIAL PR@CC— Kochi Airport (@KochiAirport) August 15, 2018
Both Etihad and Emirates were among the airlines that that were forced to cancel flights to the airport.
“Due to heavy rains and risk of flooding, Cochin Airport is temporarily closed,” an Etihad spokesperson said in a statement sent to Arabian Business. “Consequently, Etihad inbound and outbound flights to Kochi have also been cancelled.”
Etihad added that it is assisting guests with rebooking and onward travel arrangements.
Additionally, an Emirates flight, EK530 on Wednesday, was showing as cancelled on Emirates’ website. The airline could not immediately be reached for comment.
The decision to temporarily halt operations was taken after damn shutters on the Cheruthoni and Idamalayar dams were opened to release excess water brought on by days of heavy rains. Both dams are on the Periyar River, which is in close proximity to the airport.
The dams were opened amid flash floods in Kerala, which have killed dozens of people and displaced nearly 40,000, many of whom were forced to flee to relief camps set up across the state.
“Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinerayi Vijayan posted on Twitter last week. “The calamity has caused immeasureable misery and devastation. Many lives were lost. Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed.”