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Travel industry news

28 Aug 2018

BY Jennifer Morris


Jet Airways partners with NGOs to provide relief to flood-hit Kerala

India’s Jet Airways has waived air freight charges on all domestic cargo shipments of relief material to Kerala after the region was hit by some of the worst flooding in 100 years.

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More than 360 people have lost their lives and as many as 700,000 have been displaced

The airline said it was also working closely with the state administration and several NGOs to support relief and rehabilitation efforts in the tourist hot spot.


So far, Jet Airways has airlifted more than 10 tonnes of relief material including medicines, clothes, baby food, rice, milk powder and bed to the state.


Following unprecedented bouts of heavy monsoon rain and floods in Kerala over July and August 2018, more than 360 people have lost their lives, as many as 700,000 have been displaced, and many are in relief camps across the state.


The worst affected areas lie in the stretch between Chalakudi and Aluva, including Kochi airport (domestic and international), which is flooded and now closed until Wednesday August 29.


Jet Airways transported a consignment containing medicines, clothes and food to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund last week on behalf of the Resul Pookutty Foundation, contributions to which were made by a number of well-known Indian residents, including film star, Amitabh Bachchan, Oscar and Bafta-winning film sound designer, Resul Pookutty, and actress Alia Bhatt.

Vinay Dube, chief executive, Jet Airways, said: “Jet Airways takes great pride in standing united with the communities it serves. While our efforts to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the devastation in Kerala are small measures given the scale of the destruction, we are taking every possible step to help people recover from this life-altering tragedy.”

In addition to waiving off airfreight charges, Jet Airways had already been capping its economy fares on all of its non-stop domestic flights to/ from its operating destinations in Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Kochi) and Mangalore.


The airline has also been operating additional flights on both domestic and international sectors.

Effective since Friday, Jet Airways will operate daily flights to the Naval airfield at Kochi from Bengaluru.

Jet Airways has extended the waiver for guests holding confirmed tickets and travelling into and out of Cochin until August 29. As per the waiver, date/flight change fee from the original travel date or choosing an alternative destination which is close to Cochin airport, refund, no-show penalties and fare difference if any, due to the closure of the Cochin airport have been waived off. Passengers can change dates up to September 15, 2018 from the original travel date.


The tourism industry in the southern state of Kerala accounts for 12% of its economy.


"I think about 75 to 80% of cancellations have happened during that period," Ellias Najeeb, president of the Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry, told Al Jazeera.


"And all the tourists that were staying in the affected areas have gone back."


A similar percentage of September bookings have been cancelled, the news site reports.


The Foreign Office said more than 58,000 people had been rescued and thousands more were awaiting relief.


The flood relief and rescue is in full swing across the state with the Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and NDRF supporting evacuation efforts.


The government of Kerala has withdrawn the red alert that had been in place across the state.


Floodwaters have begun to recede in a few affected areas, and the Met department has predicted little to no rain for the next 5 days.


Both Trivandrum and Calicut/Kozhikode airports are operational and Kochi airport is operating Air Alliance flights out of the Naval base in Fort Kochi.


Special trains are running from Trivandrum and Ernakulam to Kolkata from Monday 20 August 2018 and train services are expected to be restored on all lines by that evening.


The arterial roads in Kerala are still badly damaged with a lack of connecting bridges. Hence, travel within Kerala by road is only advised in extreme cases and undertaken with great caution.


Those travelling to or already in Kerala/Kodagu, are advised to closely monitor travel advice and media reports and follow the advice from local authorities.


The Kerala government has issued information on its official page.


To leave Kerala, people are advised to take the safest road to the nearest airport and board a flight out of Kerala to another Indian state - as most international flights departing Kerala, especially to the Gulf, are full.


The airport helpline numbers can be found on the FCO website.


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