New Delhi: Vistara airline has started special flights from Trivandrum to evacuate passengers stranded in Kerala due to heavy rains. Vistara does not operate in Trivandrum, but due to Kerala floods, the airline has made special arrangements to help the people.The operations at Cochin airport have been suspended till Saturday as the operational area got affected due to heavy rains. Several airlines, including Vistara, had to cancel Kochi flights. However, Vistara will be operating Cochin (COK) flights to and from Trivandrum instead, on 16 August and 17 August in order to provide customers an option to get within driving distance of Cochin.

“We are operating special flights to Trivandrum in view of Kochi airport closure. Flights will operate from Delhi and Chennai," Vistara said in a tweet.

So flyers have the option to fly from Trivandram, instead of Cochin, Vistara said. Customers can be re-booked, if they so request, to fly to / from Trivandrum instead of Cochin, on a first-come-first-serve basis, the airline said, adding that there will be no fee or fare difference payable.

Commerce minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted saying the government has asked all airlines, domestic and foreign, to reschedule their Cochin flights either from Trivandrum or from Calicut.

Jet airways has extended the waiver on penalties for date/ flight change, refund, no-show and fare difference if any, on all confirmed tickets for flights operating to and from Kochi up to 18 August 2018.

Air India also tweeted out saying on 16 August, our Kochi-Sharjah-Kochi and Kochi-Bahrain-Kochi will operate to/from Kozhikode. All other Kochi-bound flights will operate from/to Thiruvanthapuram.

Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has advised airlines to operate relief flights to flood affected Kerala and not to overprice air tickets. DGCA has also told airlines to operate relief flights to help passengers who have landed at Bangalore, Coimbatore and Chennai on Wednesday after their flight to Kerala got diverted.

The death toll in Kerala due to flooding has risen to 80. The Kerala government has sounded a red alert in 14 districts of the state and opened 35 dams in the state.

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