There is an illustrious history behind the establishment of the Cochin International Airport. On October, 1991 the State government decided to follow up on the new airport project in place of expansion of the existing naval airport. On March 1993 the Ministry of Civil Aviation gave sanction to the project. On May 25, 1999 K. R. Narayanan, the then president of India formally inaugurated the airport. On June 1, 1999 Domestic operations of the Cochin International Airport moved from naval airport at Willingdon Island. On June 10 1999, Air India inaugurated their flight from the airport. On June 21 1999, Boeing 747 for the first time landed on the runways of the Cochin International Airport.
The Cochin International Airport is considered the first Greenfield airport set up in civil aviation infrastructure sector in India in the public-private partnership. The Airport is considered the first international airport in India that has been constructed with only a minority (13%) Central Government stake in a public-private partnership (PPP) project. Thus the government stakes--state and central is limited to 26%. The present chief minister of Kerala, V.S. Achuthanandan is the ex officio chairman of CIAL. The airport is designed in such a way that any type of wide-bodied aircraft can land or take off with the least of hassles.
The airport has been built quite strategically. The Cochin International Airport is situated within easy approach to all three National Highways passing through Kerala (NH 47, NH 17 and NH 49). There is an adjacent Railway line to the airport that connects Kanyakumari to Delhi. The line is located between Alwaye and Angamaly Railway Stations. The Cochin Sea Port-also situated close by the airport is considered one of the biggest in the country. The airport also plays an instrumental role in International trade, travel and tourism. Apart from all the modern amenities, the airport has been planned on a modular basis to suit future requirements. Side by side there is an attempt to decrease the initial investments so as to bring forth revenue at the earliest possible time.
The Cochin International Airport is situated at a distance of 30 km (19 miles) from the central city area of Kochi. The airport is well approachable by pre-paid taxis from the city. The airport is well connected to the tourist areas too. Today it has become Kerala's busiest airport. The Cochin International Airport has a 3,400-metre long runway. The airport is well equipped with all the modern amenities to operate any type of aircraft that is presently used for commercial purposes. In terms of international traffic, Cochin International Airport is the fourth busiest airport in India. The airport served 2.5 million passengers for 2006-2007 including domestic and internatinonal. For domestic and international purposes there are 464 services and 314 services per week in Kochi.
The runways are spread over throughout the panchayats, or local administration areas of Nedumbasserry, Sreemoolanagaram and Kanjoor. Apart from Mumbai and Delhi, the Cochin International Airport has a potentiality of handling the Airbus 380. The airport like other international airports has a domestic terminal and an international terminal. Air India controls the ground works and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd supplies aircraft fuel. Both the companies admit interest-free security deposits in the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL). CIAL holds 440 acres (1.6 km²) of premiere land under their disposition for commercial dispatches. Recently the Cochin International Airport Limited has taken a 35-billion-rupee master plan to generate revenues, which involves an 18-hole golf course, business centre, hotel chains, malls, industrial and IT parks and logistics centre.
From the Cochin International Airport one can avail direct non-stop international flights to Abu Dhabi, Bandar Abbas, Colombo, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh, Sharjah, and Singapore. One can also avail domestic flights to and from Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Agatti, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad and Bangalore by domestic flights. Air Deccan (Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram); Air India (Chennai, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram); Indian Airlines (Agatti, Kozhikode, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Mumbai); Air India Express (Kozhikode, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram); Jet Lite (Delhi, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram); Go Air (Mumbai, Delhi); IndiGo Airlines (Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad,Mumbai); Jet Airways (Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai); Kingfisher Airlines (Agatti, Bangalore, Kozhikode, Chennai, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram); Paramount Airways (Chennai); Spice Jet (Bangalore, Delhi) are the domestic airlines flying to and from the Cochin International Airport.
Air Arabia (Sharjah); Air India (Dammam, Jeddah, Kuwait, Riyadh); Air-India Express (Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Muscat, Salalah, Sharjah, Male); Emirates (Dubai); Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi); Gulf Air (Bahrain); Indian (Bahrain, Doha, Muscat, Sharjah); Jet Airways (Bahrain, Kuwait, Muscat); Jazeera Airways (Dubai, Kuwait); Kuwait Airways (Kuwait); Mahan Air (Bandar Abbas, Dubai); Oman Air (Muscat); Qatar Airways (Doha); Saudi Arabian Airlines (Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh); Singapore Airlines; Silkair (Singapore); SriLankan Airlines (Colombo); Tiger Airways (Singapore) are the international airlines catering to the Cochin International Airport.
For Cochin international Airport, passengers' convenience is the main focus. The airport has a 23,550 sq. metre centrally air-conditioned Passenger Terminal with ample car parking space (for 1100), situated in front of the terminals. Air Insurance counter is also allowed to enable passengers to avail this facility in both phases. There are wide varieties of reading materials besides travel requisites. For screening the registered baggage of passengers, X-ray machines have been provided by Cochin International Airport Limited. The airport also has three well-furnished guest rooms within its premises. The guest room provides comfortable accommodation to passengers. The guest rooms are handled and sustained by Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL). These guest rooms are available to passengers on request. Room charge is Rs.750.00 per day. One can book a guest room along with the flight tickets from the International Terminal Pre Paid Taxi Counter.
The Cochin International Airport is a pleasured destination with a wide variety of world-class products, speciality and gift items, traditional handicraft items and curios unique to Kerala. There is duty free shop at the airport, managed by Cochin International Airport Limited and operated and maintained by Alpha Retail, UK.