August 22, 2018 - The total damage caused to the Kochi International Airport during Kerala floods is estimated to between Rs 200 to Rs 250 crore. The airport has been shut down since August 15 after floodwater breached the periphery walls and flooded the runway, making it unfit for use. The airport is expected to start operation after August 26.
Kochi has the busiest airport in Kerala and receives the bulk of its international passengers from the Gulf countries.
"We are working round the clock to restore services at the airport. At present, the focus is on somehow making the runway operational. More than 250 people are engaged in the restoration efforts," Public Relations Officer of Kochi airport PS Jayana said.
After days of efforts, the authorities have managed to drain out the floodwater from the airport premises. Nearly 800 runway lights need to be repaired, besides reconstructing 2,600 meters of periphery wall.
Officials said they are trying to ensure that the perimeter walls are replaced with temporary structures so that the airport's security is not breached.
The massive flooding inside the airport has also damaged solar panels. The Kochi airport has the distinction of being the world's first airport to be run on solar power.
"Well, we are proud of the fact that the airport functioned completely on solar power. Due to flooding, 20 percent of the panels have been damaged. We are presently working on 50 percent capacity but within a month, things will be normal," the PRO said.
The damage is not limited to solar panels, the floodwater has also destroyed the airport's power storage facility and circuits. Only four out of the eight power storage plants are functional at present. The cost of repairing and replacing solar panels is estimated to be around Rs 10 crore.
The silver lining is that the entire airport is ensured and the estimated damaged of Rs 250 crore will be recovered from the insurance company.
Source: India Today