Alliance Air (India) (9I, Mumbai Int'l) has been given the go-ahead to start regular flights out of INS Garuda, an Indian naval air station located in Cochin, as part of efforts to evacuate passengers stranded at Kochi Int'l. The airport has been closed until the end of the week given severe state-wide flooding in Kerala.

“The flight operations between [Bangalore Int'l] and Cochin Naval airbase will be starting from August 20 morning," Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said via social media.

The ministry subsequently confirmed in a statement that the Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l) unit had been given the go-ahead to operate Bangalore-INS Garuda-Bangalore (two flights) and Bangalore-Coimbatore-INS Garuda-Coimbatore-Bangalore (one flight) using ATR72-600 equipment effective August 20. Jet Airways will also operate one flight on Tuesday, August 21, from Bengaluru to Garuda INS using its ATR72 fleet.

Kochi airport will remain closed at least through August 26, 2018, due to severe flooding. It was initially due to reopen on August 18, but intensifying rains have worsened an already precarious situation with vast swathes of the airfield still under water.

The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also asked the airlines to redirect their flights originally intended for Kochi to Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. Air Arabia, Emirates, Etihad Airways, flydubai, Jazeera Airways, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Saudia, and SriLankan Airlines have redirected their international services out of Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram, while others have suspended their flights altogether.

According to the ch-aviation capacity module, IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi Int'l) is by far the largest operator at Kochi with a 30.05% market share by weekly seating capacity.

So far, 357 people have been confirmed dead in the floods with hundreds of thousands having been displaced. While monsoon rains and small-scale floods are an annual occurrence at this time of year in southern India, this year's rains have been particularly strong and accompanied by widespread mudslides.