Flooding Closes Big Indian Airport


One of India’s largest airports will be closed until at least Aug. 26 after torrential rains put ramps and runways under about three feet of water. Cochin Airport, in the southeastern state of Kerala, has had almost three times the normal rainfall this monsoon season and the airport was closed last Thursday. The airport, which ironically is the country’s only 100 percent solar-powered facility, has about 70,000 movements a year and more than 10 million passengers go through.

Closing the main airport for more than a week is a big hardship so airlines and local authorities are now looking at setting up a temporary international airport at a nearby navy base. Kochi Naval Base hosted commercial traffic until 2000 and Air India was reported to have flown a test flight there on Saturday. Other carriers have moved operations to Thiruvananthapuram, about 130 miles south of Kochi. More than 100 people have been killed by the unprecedented flooding over the past few weeks.