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Airports in Kerala

Cochin Airport

Also known as Nedumbassery Airport or Kochi Airport. Cochin is quite a small clean well organised airport compared to many in this region of India with some 3 million passengers passing through it each year.

The airport is privately owned with much of the revenue being ploughed back into the airport to improve services, although it is also profitable and a great source of pride to many Keralites.

As with many Indian airports there is a separate domestic and international terminal although unlike Mumbai they are bang next to each other.

Cochin Airport is about 35km from the city center and will cost around Rs 800 ($15) for an air conditioned taxi from Ernakulam

KarmaKerala meets our visitors at the airport after passing through customs and accompanies them to their first stop/hotel.

If you are not a Karma Kerala customer but would like to arrange a pickup, please contact us.

The Story of the Airport

E.M. Babu remembers only too well what life was like in the early 1990s, before he and a group of other overseas Indians working in the Middle East helped fund a new international airport in Kerala, the lush green state at India's southern tip.

At that time, the flight from Dubai to Kerala was routed through Mumbai, with domestic connections to the state's colonial-era capital, Cochin, departing the next day. What is today a four-hour flight was an overnight ordeal.

For the Keralites, who speak a regional language, Mumbai felt like a foreign country as Hindi-speaking customs officials rifled through their bags, confiscating gifts brought back for loved ones, and rapacious travel agents fleeced them on hotel rooms. "For us, the airport was not an investment, actually. It was like a dream come true," says Mr Babu, who runs a business in Dubai.

While most people around the world associate their local airport with little more than the chore of travel, for many overseas Keralites Cochin International Airport is as much a source of regional pride as one of their state's cultural or historic monuments.

The brainchild of an enterprising senior Indian civil servant, V.J. Kurian, it is India's first privately held international airport and the country's first big infrastructure project to harness the wealth of the non-resident Indian community. "The NRIs had a very crucial role. If they had not put in the money and taken the risk, this airport would never have been," says S. Bharath, the airport's present managing director.

Immediately on arrival at Cochin, it is clear that this airport is different. The bright yellow paint and decorative Keralan architecture betray a pride absent from the country's government-built facilities.

The airport was incorporated in 1994 when Cochin's existing navy-owned facility, which could cope with only a handful of flights a day and closed at dusk, became overloaded. The government of Kerala did not have the money for a new airport. So Mr Kurian came up with a plan to fund it entirely through loans and donations from the 4m Keralites then working abroad, mainly in the Gulf. He reasoned that if one in five of them lent Rs5,000 (£60, $122, €89) that would cover much of the cost of the project.

The scheme failed - in the end, fewer than 11,000 overseas Keralites put in money - but even then their involvement provided an important political constituency that Mr Kurian could draw on whenever the project ran into bureaucratic hurdles.

Mr Kurian begged and borrowed more funds, including loans from banks and contributions from service providers such as Air India, the ground-handling agent, in exchange for stock and a share of the revenue. He also invited a group of wealthy overseas Keralites such as Mr Babu to invest more in exchange for seats on the board.

"The whole process was a confidence-building exercise," says another of these investors, P. Mohammed Ali, who runs a business in Oman. "When the trust was created, the rest was automatic."

In 1998, the airport opened at a cost of only Rs2,830m, a fraction of what the government is today investing in airports in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

It is now highly profitable. Passenger traffic grew by more than one-third last fiscal year to nearly 3m and there are plans to build an airport city consisting of golf courses, hotels and business parks.

The airport has also helped Kerala become one of India's premier tourist destinations, with foreigners coming in droves to cruise in the region's placid tropical backwaters or try its Ayurvedic medicine.

Karipur Airport

The Karipur Airport better known as Calicut International Airport is situated in Malappuram district near Kozhikode (Calicut). The airport has daily flights connecting several parts of the world.

The surrounding of the airport is full of hills and valleys. The most important part of his airport is its runway with about 6000m and with a special feature of lead-in lighting system.

This is the first airport to have this facility to avoid hazardous terrain. The whole system is designed in such a manner that one group of light is sighted from the preceding group and thus finally lead the aircraft to the proximity of threshold of the runway.

Kozhikode International Airport

Calicut International Airport also known as Karipur Airport, is located at Karipur in Malappuram district, near Kozhikode (Calicut), Kerala, India.

The airport is located 26 km from the Calicut Railway Station and 27 km from Manjeri town

Airlines currently operating from Calicut Airport are Air India, Air Deccan, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, and Sri Lankan Airlines

There are flights to the Gulf states and to some of the major cities in India

Thiruvananthapuram Airport

Thiruvanathapuram or Trivandrum International Airport is one of the international airport of Kerala established in 1932 as a part of the Kerala Flying Club. It is about 3.7 Km from Thiruvanathapuram, it got recognised as an International Airport on 1 Jan 1991. The airport was the most busiest of the airports in Kerala, befor the inauguration of the Cochin International Airport located at Nedumbassery. The Trivandrum airport has regular flights connecting all major parts of India and international places like Sharjah, Oman, Singapore, Colombo, Bahrain and few other countries.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012 Posted in Kerala Travel

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