Cochin is an important port city and spice trading center of Kerala. Cochin Airport, also known as Nedumbassery International Airport in Kerala, is India's first aviation venture owned by public. Cochin International Airport is the first International Airport in the country outside the ambit of the Government of India. Cochin Airport was executed with massive public participation in a record time. Cochin International Airport is a state Government sponsored Project, with public participation mostly from Non Resident Indians (NRIs) of Kerala from all over the world.
Cochin Airport is owned by Cochin International Airport Limited, a public limited company in which the Kerala Government has the single largest stake. CIAL is managed by a board of directors comprising political leaders, industrialists, NRIs and representatives of financial institutions. Besides the Kerala government, CIAL's shareholders include the Federal Bank, State Bank of Travancore, Bharat Petroleum, Air-India, Housing and Urban Development Corporation and nearly 10,000 Non Resident Indians from 30 countries.
Cochin Airport is built on a 1300-acre plot and boasts of having India's second longest runway (3400 meters). Its parking space can accommodate some 1,500 cars. Kochi Airport’s domestic terminal has 100,000 square feet of built-in area and the international terminal occupies 140,000 square feet. The airport has been constructed to enable any type of wide-bodied aircraft to land, with state of the art facilities. It is one of the few airports in India, which is capable of handing the huge Airbus A380. Read on to know more about Cochin International Airport.
The history of Cochin International Airport dates back to October 1991, when the State Government decided to pursue the new airport project, instead of expanding the existing naval airport. The Ministry of Civil Aviation showed its green signal to the project, in March 1993. In May 25, 1999, Cochin International Airport was formally inaugurated by the then President of India - K. R. Narayanan. In June 1999, the domestic operations were shifted to this airport, from naval airport at Willingdon Island. The inaugural flight from Cochin International Airport was plied by Air India, on June 10, 1999.
Currently, ten domestic airlines operate from Cochin International Airport. These include Air India (Mumbai, Trivandrum), Air India Express (Calicut, Mumbai, Trivandrum), GoAir (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai), Indian Airlines (Agatti, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Trivandrum), IndiGo Airlines (Delhi, Hyderabad), Jet Airways (Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai), JetLite (Delhi, Hyderabad), Kingfisher Airlines (Agatti, Bangalore, Calicut, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hydrabad, Mangalore, Mumbai, Trivandrum), Paramount Airways (Chennai, Goa), SpiceJet (Delhi, Mumbai).
The international airlines operated from Cochin International Airport include SilkAir (Singapore), Saudi Arabian Airlines (Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh), Qatar Airways (Doha), Oman Air (Muscat), Kuwait Airways (Kuwait), Indian Airlines (Muscat, Sharjah), Gulf Air (Bahrain), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), Emirates Airline (Dubai), Bahrain Air (Bahrain), Air India Express (Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Muscat, Salalah, Sharjah), Air India Dammam, (Jeddah, Riyadh) and Air Arabia (Sharjah).