Cochin International Airport

CIAL – Cochin International Airport

Cochin International Airport (COK), commonly referred to as Nedumbassery Airport, is an international airport situated in Kochi, Kerala, India. Recognized as one of the most bustling and important airports in South India, it is positioned approximately 25 kilometers northeast of Kochi’s city center.

Cochin International Airport, managed by Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), holds the distinction of being India’s pioneer airport developed through the Public Private Partnership (PPP). Notably, it stands as the world’s foremost fully solar-powered airport. Situated 28 km northeast of downtown Kochi, it ranks as the third busiest for international passengers and the seventh largest overall in India. As of 2022, the airport facilitates 61.8% of Kerala’s total air passenger movement. Boasting three terminals, including India’s inaugural charter gateway—the exclusive Business Jet Terminal—it has provided dedicated service for over 24 years, connecting 31 countries, partnering with 24 airlines, and annually welcoming over 10 million passengers to its state-of-the-art facilities.

Although not publicly traded, the company has a sturdy foundation supported by 19,000 investors spanning 28 countries, primarily expatriate Keralites. This diverse investor base has played a pivotal role in nurturing the airport, a significant initiative realized by the State Government, which remains the largest investor, holding a stake of approximately 34%. Notably, the company has consistently distributed dividends since 2003-04, with a cumulative payout reaching 317%. The airport, with its three terminals, collectively possesses a peak-hour handling capacity of 8,000 passengers.

CIAL has garnered a well-deserved reputation for operational efficiency and unwavering adherence to international standards. For the past four years, the Airports Council International (ACI) has recognized CIAL as the “Best Airport” in the Asia-Pacific region for airports handling 5 to 15 million passengers.

Cochin Airport, identified by its IATA code COK, commenced operations in 1999 and has continuously expanded its infrastructure since then. Encompassing an expanse of approximately 1300 acres, the airport is classified as an Aerodrome Reference Code 4, denoted by the letter E. Its strategic coordinates at 10°09’13.81″N latitude and 76°24’25.31″E longitude place it prominently on the map. Situated 30 feet above sea level and located 28 kilometers from Cochin near the Ernakulam Junction Railway Station, Cochin International Airport serves as a crucial transportation hub.

Renowned for its precise geographical positioning and exceptional aviation facilities, the airport boasts an Aerodrome Reference Temperature of 29.60°C. It features distinct terminals for domestic and international flights, along with a dedicated Business Jet Terminal. The runway, measuring 3400 meters in length and 45 meters in width, is Code E compatible, accommodating a diverse range of aircraft, including Boeing 747, 777, 737, Airbus 340, 330, 310, 321, 320, 319, Embraer, ATR-42, and ATR-72.

Cochin International Airport offers advanced amenities, including a CAT 1 Instrument Landing System, CAT 3-compatible AGL system for RWY 27, and a sophisticated Visual Docking Guidance System. The airport’s air traffic services operate 24/7 through the Area Control Centre, Approach Control Centre, Tower Control, and are supported by Airport Surveillance Radar systems. Technological features include an automated in-line baggage system, CT-based image scanning, and a comprehensive CCTV network with high-resolution cameras.

The electrical system ensures continuous 24-hour operation, facilitating the functioning of essential components such as central air conditioning, fire alarm systems, and state-of-the-art escalators. Lighting systems, including approach, runway, and taxiway lighting, adhere to international standards, guaranteeing safe and efficient night operations. Cochin International Airport prioritizes energy-saving methods and provides backup power for critical lighting components.

The airport’s commitment to quality extends to communication and navigation, featuring an instrument landing system, Doppler VHF omnidirectional range, omnidirectional radio beacons, range-finding equipment, VHF communications equipment, and a 45-meter-tall control tower.

Affiliated Entities

CIAL possesses three wholly owned subsidiaries. Firstly, there is CIAL Duty-Free and Retail Services Ltd (CDRSL), overseeing the duty-free operations at the airport. Secondly, CIAL Infrastructures Ltd focuses on planning and executing green energy production initiatives. Lastly, Cochin International Aviation Services Ltd (CIASL) manages MRO activities along with two hangars.

In addition to these subsidiaries, CIAL is affiliated with Kerala Waterways & Infrastructures Ltd (KWIL), with an equal investment partnership with the Government of Kerala. KWIL collaborates with the government by providing technical expertise and overseeing the renovation of the west coast canal, spanning from Kovalam in the south to Bakel in the north.

Environmental Sustainability Efforts

CIAL is committed to the responsibility of engaging in environmentally friendly projects to mitigate the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2015, Cochin International Airport achieved a groundbreaking milestone by becoming the world’s first fully solar-powered airport through the inauguration of a dedicated solar plant. Expanding its green energy initiatives, CIAL also ventured into a hydroelectric project commissioned in 2021, located at Iruvanjippuzha in Arippara, Kozhikode district, with an installed capacity of 4.5MW.

Further solidifying its commitment, CIAL inaugurated a new solar power plant on March 6, 2022, transforming the airport from a power-neutral facility to a power-positive one. The 12 MWp Payyanur plant, situated near Payyanur, Kerala, increased the cumulative installed capacity of CIAL’s solar plants to 50 MWp. This includes seven plants within the airport premises, a solar carport, and the one at Payyanur. Collectively, CIAL’s solar power plants generate an impressive 200,000 units of power daily, surpassing the airport’s daily consumption of 160,000 units.

For its visionary approach to entrepreneurship in sustainable energy, Cochin International Airport received the prestigious ‘Champion of the Earth’ award in 2018, the highest environmental honor instituted by the United Nations.

In an industry often criticized for contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, CIAL recognizes its responsibility to invest in green energy projects, setting an example for sustainability in aviation. The 2015 solar power plant initiative not only marked a historic achievement but also resulted in a substantial reduction in both carbon footprint and operational costs. Presently, CIAL annually generates an impressive 73 million units of clean and green energy, positioning itself as the second-largest power producer in Kerala after the Kerala State Electricity Board.

Portfolio of Developments

CIAL is undertaking an ambitious venture, managing a portfolio of 163 active projects, with 9 being of paramount importance and deemed highly prestigious, in alignment with its ambitious expansion plans. The focus is on enhancing infrastructure, including the construction of a new 5-star hotel in partnership with the acclaimed IHCL (TAJ) group, a new transit accommodation, renovated cargo terminals, utilization of commercial spaces in front of the international terminal, and the addition of aircraft parking bays. The airport also aspires to establish itself as a major hub for aircraft maintenance, repair, and operation (MRO) services for both domestic and foreign carriers.


Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) operates under the governance of a board of directors. The esteemed Chairman of CIAL is Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan, the honorable Chief Minister of Kerala. The board comprises key individuals, including Shri. P. Rajeeve, Minister for Law, Industries, and Coir; Shri. K. Rajan, Minister for Revenue and Housing; and Dr. V. Venu, Chief Secretary, all played pivotal roles in the airport’s administration. Additionally, the board includes Shri. E.K. Bharat Bhushan, Former Chief Secretary and former DGCA chief; Smt. Aruna Sundararajan, Former Telecom Secretary; Shri. M.A. Yusuff Ali, Chairman & MD of Lulu Group International; Shri. N.V. George, MD of M/s Geo Electricals Trading & Contracting Company Ltd, Sharjah; Shri. E.M. Babu of M/s Majeed Bukatara Trading Esst, Dubai, UAE; and Dr. P. Mohamed Ali, Founder of Galfar Engineering and Contracting Co. Shri. S. Suhas IAS, the government nominee, currently serves as the Managing Director of CIAL.


Cochin International Airport comprises three primary terminals, namely domestic (T1), business jet (T2), and international terminals (T3). Additionally, the airport features dedicated facilities for domestic cargo, as well as international export and import cargo terminals.

Terminal 1 (Domestic):

The Domestic Terminal Complex features dedicated arrival and departure zones, covering a vast floor space of 600,000 square feet. With the capability to handle 2,000 incoming and 2,000 outgoing domestic passengers during peak hours, it seamlessly incorporates modern passenger amenities. The ambiance is characterized by a blend of warmth and traditional Kerala-style architecture. Cochin Airport provides top-notch facilities catering to domestic travelers, managing all domestic flights within this well-equipped complex.

Terminal 2 (Business Jet Terminal):

Cochin International Airport (CIAL) proudly holds the distinction of being the fourth airport in India to feature a specialized terminal designed exclusively for business jets. This innovative facility is specifically tailored to deliver personalized services for charter and private jets, establishing itself as India’s inaugural Charter Gateway. Spanning an impressive 40,000 square feet, the business jet terminal caters to both international and domestic business jet operations. Notable amenities include a ‘safe house’ facility for security-exempt individuals, an exclusive private car parking area, a drive-in porch, a grand lobby, five luxurious lounges, a business center, a duty-free shop, a foreign exchange counter, and a sophisticated video conferencing room.

Boasting dedicated aircraft parking, efficient terminal management, and a passenger handling approach that prioritizes the shortest distance from the car door to the aircraft door, Terminal 2 emerges as a distinctive gateway terminal, showcasing the essence of ‘Brand Kerala’ on a global scale.

Terminal 3 (International):

Unveiled to travelers in March 2017, the state-of-the-art international Terminal 3 seamlessly blends design excellence with optimal functionality. Boasting five entry gates, 84 check-in counters, and 80 immigration counters, the terminal sprawls over a vast expanse of more than 150,000 m2 (1,614,587 sq ft) across four levels. Engineered for streamlined passenger movement, the terminal is equipped with 10 escalators, 21 elevators, and three moving walkways.

Terminal 3 is not just a testament to efficiency but also a pioneer in sustainable energy solutions. Featuring a solar carport facility generating 2.7 MW of power and accommodating parking for 1,400 cars, it, in conjunction with the solar carport at Domestic Terminal 1, constitutes the world’s largest solar carport. This impressive facility boasts a collective capacity of 5.1 MW and provides parking for 2,800 cars.

Functionality is seamlessly integrated into the terminal’s layout, with each level serving specific purposes. The ground level caters to arrivals, housing customs counters, bank facilities, a shopping complex, a VIP lounge, arrival duty-free shops, and a baggage claim area. The second level, positioned 5.5 meters above ground, manages arrivals with immigration counters, e-T-Visa counters, health check counters, and convenient moving walkways.

Ascending to the third level, located 10.5 meters above ground, passengers enter the departure facility area. Here, they encounter a check-in area, emigration counters, a departure duty-free shop, VIP lounges, airline offices, prayer rooms, and another moving walkway. The fourth level, elevated to 15.5 meters above ground, transforms into the departure security hold area. This level boasts a food court, restaurant, airline executive lounges, a smoking lounge, a bar, and a comfortable reclining area. In its entirety, Terminal 3 stands as a marvel of modern airport design and functionality, offering a comprehensive and seamless travel experience for passengers.

Key features of Cochin International Airport:

  1. Ownership: Cochin International Airport is the first airport in India to be built and operated under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. It is owned by Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), a public limited company formed by the Government of Kerala, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), and other investors.
  2. Inauguration: The airport was officially inaugurated on May 25, 1999, and commenced its operations on July 10, 1999. Since then, it has become a major gateway for travelers to Kerala and other parts of South India.
  3. Terminal: Cochin International Airport has a modern and well-equipped terminal that handles both domestic and international flights. The airport has undergone various expansions and improvements to meet the increasing passenger demands.
  4. Runways: The airport has one primary runway, which is 3,400 meters long and capable of handling wide-body aircraft.
  5. Connectivity: Cochin International Airport is well-connected to various domestic and international destinations. It serves as a hub for several airlines and offers flights to major cities in India, as well as to destinations in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, and other regions.
  6. Award-Winning: Cochin International Airport has received several awards and accolades for its innovative practices, sustainability initiatives, and passenger-friendly facilities.
  7. Solar Power: Notably, the airport is known for its commitment to sustainability. In 2015, it became the first airport in the world to be entirely powered by solar energy. The solar power plant installed on its premises generates more energy than it consumes, making it a role model for other airports worldwide.

The information provided here is based on the airport’s status up to September 2021, and there may have been further developments beyond that date.

Cochin International Airport is the largest airport in Kerala with many advanced facilities. Located nearly 30 km north-east part of Kochi at Nedumbassery.  It is the first Greenfield airport in the country that was constructed as a joint venture with private participation. Other airports in India are constructed with the influence of the Airport Authority of India. Cochin International Airport was set up in the model of Public-private partnership. It can be a new attempt in the sector of civil aviation infrastructure in India.

As a joint venture, the major shareholders of Cochin International Airport are Non-Resident Indians. Central & Kerala Governments hold 13% of the shares while 74% of the shares belong to private participation. Major stakeholders include NRIs from more than 30 countries, financial institutions, the traveling public, and providers of airport service. One of the busiest airports in India, Cochin International Airport offers state-of-the-art facilities and conveniences.

The airport is traditionally designed and has the influence of unique Kerala architecture.  In order to channel the services, this airport features three different terminals.  It has relatively a small domestic terminal which has a capacity of handling approximately 500 travelers at a time. There are more than twenty check-in-counters in this airport terminal out of which five of them have premium facilities. The waiting room at this terminal can accommodate more than 400 passengers. In addition to the above facilities, the Kochi Airport has a recreational area and a tiny food for the convenience of travelers.

The international terminal of Cochin Airport is spacious and large with 5 premium check-in counters and 37 best gateways to check-in.  It is the fifth airport in India that uses the facility of an in-line baggage screening system instead of the manual and traditional form of using X-ray scanning devices.  With 4 baggage carousels and around 20 counters for passport verification, this airport guarantees a smooth and efficient flow of traffic.

The cargo terminal has all state-of-the-art facilities in the country which could handle around 40000 MT of cargo in the previous year. Besides, the cargo terminal has registered already for a 25% annual growth. It has the biggest cold storage facility in India at its Center for Perishable Goods while the Center for Dry Cargo inspects the import export cargo. The terminal for cargo also has an area for warehouse facilities known as Transshipment Cargo Complex. The strategically located Cochin International Airport provides easy access to the major three National Highways in Kerala.

Cochin International Airport (CIAL) the first Greenfield airport in India developed under a public-private partnership model located at Nedumbassery, about 25 kilometers northeast of Kochi city is an international airport that operates completely on solar power.

Location: Nedumbassery, Kochi
Phone : (+91) 484 2610115, 3053000, 3053300

Cochin International Airport is a major international airport in India. It is also an important international air cargo center in the country. People use this airport to visit Kerala and travel to different places. Many domestic and international planes run from this airport. It locates at Kochi which is the business and industrial center of Kerala. This is the first airport in India that works fully on solar energy.

Full Name: Cochin International Airport
Latitude: 10.1518
Longitude: 76.393
Phone: +91 484 2610115

Cargo Center
The air cargo center of Cochin International Airport has all the modern facilities. It is an international air cargo center with more than 1,00,000 sq. ft. storehouse and office space. Many cargo companies are there at this airport. Almost 80 planes carry cargo from this airport to different places daily.

Facilities at the Airport
Kochi International Airport offers many facilities. This airport has 14 guestrooms. Travelers can use them to stay. The airport also has a childcare room. There is a large parking area. Visitors can keep their vehicles in this area of the airport. This airport offers many shops and book stalls. People love to buy books and other items from them.

There are computers at the check-in counters. So, passengers can enjoy the best services. Cochin International Airport has the best display system to show the flight details. It also offers a banking facility. Travelers can hire taxi services at the airport but they need to pay the money first and then enjoy the service. This airport offers conference halls. Many business centers are also at Kochi International Airport.

There are many restaurants and coffee shops in this airport. They serve Indian, Chinese and continental dishes. People visit them to enjoy different types of cuisines.

You can enjoy good shopping at Cochin International Airport. Travelers can buy many items at the duty-free shops at the airport. They sell handicrafts, fashion items, perfumes, wine and beer, and electronic items. Try to enjoy shopping if you travel through this airport.

Kochi is the business center of Kerala. You can see good development in this city. It also has many beautiful tourist attractions. Cochin International Airport is an important part of Kochi.

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