KOCHI: The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has jumped to the third position from fourth in international traffic during the period of January-May 2021, as airports across the country reported a gradual increase both in passenger traffic and aircraft movement after the second wave of COVID-19 subsided.

Domestic traffic at the airport is also picking up, witnessing a two-fold increase in June 2021, a CIAL release said.

In April alone, CIAL facilitated 1,38,625 international passengers, emerging as the second busiest airport in the country in terms of international traffic. During the initial five months, the total figure registered at the airport including both international and domestic passengers was 15,56,366. S Suhas, managing director of CIAL, attributed the increase in traffic to the efficacy of the state government in establishing Kerala as one of the safest places to arrive during the pandemic period and CIAL’s pro-active approach in making the airport a safe travel hub.

As per the instructions of the state government and the board of directors, CIAL has implemented several measures to ensure the steady growth of traffic. As soon as the Dubai authorities made amendments in its travel protocol mandating a Rapid-PCR test for Indian passengers, a testing centre was set up at the airport to ensure hassle-free movement of passengers and increase traffic growth.

Following these participatory actions, the airport saw a steady increase in passenger volume during June 2021. From just shy of 3,000 on June 1, the passenger volume increased two-fold to 7,012 on June 30, taking the total figure for the month to 1,43,366. The airport handled 1,139 aircraft movements during June.

“The Kerala government installed free RT-PCR testing facilities at all airports for the international arrival passengers. An integrated travel facilitation strategy was launched at the airport wherein officials of district administration, health, revenue, police departments have been working round-the-clock for increasing the comfort level of the passengers,” said Suhas.

“CIAL has adopted the COVID protocol management at par with international standards. It implemented innovative ideas like the UV baggage disinfestation system at the conveyor belts of both terminals. These approaches have contributed to the effort of boosting the confidence of passengers,” he said.

The CIAL handled 10 million passengers annually during the pre-pandemic and is all set to facilitate a projected surge in the aviation sector for the forthcoming months for both international and domestic segments, the airport said

Source: New Indian Express