Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India will operate a 'proving flight' to Kochi's naval base today to study the safety aspects of operating ATR-type aircraft- a 70-seater smaller aircraft that can land even in shorter runway span from there, a spokesperson of the national carrier said.
Air India is trying to find a way to fly in and out of Kochi where the airport has been closed down till August 26, leaving thousands of passengers stranded, the spokesperson said.
Incessant rains in the state have left the airport runway flooded. Kerala is facing the worst rain fury and deluge in a century with 13 of the state's 14 districts under a red alert for the fifth day today.
The 'proving flight' will have a team of officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and other flight safety officials, the spokesperson said.
"If found safe, Alliance Air plans to mount (operate) more flights to Kochi's defence airbase and also pave the way for other airlines with ATR/turboprops (to operate flights from there)," he said.
Air India and its low-cost arm Air India Express had yesterday said their flights scheduled to depart from the Kochi airport will operate from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode till the Kochi airport is made functional.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Kerala, today made an aerial assessment of the damage caused by floods.
According to the information received from the control room of the State Disaster Management, 194 people have lost their lives and 36 are missing due to rains and landslides since August 8. Over 3.14 lakh people have been moved to relief camps.