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Pilgrims' rush benefits Nedumbassery airport

A Correspondent

500 pilgrims use the airport daily


Airport offers taxi service to and from the temple

Helicopter taxi to Nilackal yet to begin service


Nedumbassery: With the Sabarimala temple opening for this year's Makaravilakku festival, the domestic terminal of Cochin airport here has been witnessing an unprecedented flow of pilgrims from neighbouring States.

According to airport officials, the number of devotees was way beyond the expected levels with a majority of them landing from Hyderabad, closely followed by Bangalore and Chennai.

According to tourism sources at the airport, an average of 500 pilgrims had been using the airport daily since the beginning of this two-month season.

The figure reached 800-900 in the last couple of days. “Unlike previous years, the number of pilgrims departing from here too has been on the higher side,” said an official.

Domestic tourists to the State, especially from north India, were increasingly opting for an air travel despite a hike in ticket prices, he added.

As part of its efforts to tap the growing market for devotees, the airport company has been providing airport cab services to and from the temple.

A helicopter taxi service to Nilakkal, introduced by the airport company in association with Bharath Airways Private Limited, is yet to operate following some regulatory issues.

The Travancore Devaswom Board gave permission to CIAL for operating the service to Nilackal in September, subject to the security clearance and permission from the authorities.

CIAL has been reporting a consistent growth in domestic traffic on the back of a sharp jump in the number of domestic tourists arriving here.

Domestic traffic in the airport here during the last fiscal grew by a healthy margin of 26.7 per cent, along with a 6 percent increase in domestic aircraft movements.

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