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Sunday, 19 August, 2018, 12 : 30 PM [IST]
Civilian flights to commence from Kochi naval air station from Monday

As per the Hindu report, flights to and from Kochi will commence from Monday as the authorities have made arrangements at the local naval air station for civilian flights after the local airport was inundated due to heavy rains and shut for operations.

The decision was taken after Air India subsidiary Alliance Air conducted a test flight from Bengaluru to Cochin on Saturday. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had delegated a team comprising officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviaiton (DGCA), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Airports Authority of India (AAI)  to examine the possibility of commencing civilian flights from the naval facility.

Alliance Air will operate its smaller 70-seater ATR 72 planes on this route. There will be two direct flights between Bengaluru and Cochin and one via Coimbatore, according to the airline's spokesperson.

"In view of disruption of flights from Cochin airport due to floods, a joint team sent by @MoCA_GoI (Ministry of Civil Aviation) has approved starting of scheduled commercial flights using ATRs by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, between Bengaluru and Cochin Naval Air base," Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Civil Aviation, Government of India announced on Twitter.

He added that subsequently more destinations such as Coimbatore and Madurai will be connected and other airlines are also expected to pitch in.

According to sources, arrangements will also be made to enable passengers to undergo security checks. An x-ray baggage inspection system, two door frame metal detectors, hand-held metal detectors, trolleys will be shifted from Thiruvananthpuram airport to INS Garuda.

The Cochin international airport has been shut for flights till August 26 and commercial airlines were asked to shift flight operations to nearby Thiruvananthpuram and Calicut airport.

The naval air station catered to civilian flights until July 1999, when the Cochin international airport was commissioned.