Cochin International Airport is a major international airport located in the city of Kochi, in the state of Kerala in India. It is the first international airport in India that was built without assistance from the central government funding. It is the largest and busiest airport in Kerala. With almost four million international passenger traffic and more than six million overall passengers that pass through the airport, Cochin International Airport is the fourth busiest in terms of international passenger traffic, and seventh busiest in overall passenger traffic in India. The airport has two passenger terminals each dedicated for domestic and international travellers, and one cargo terminal. There is a new international terminal underway which will have two levels – the ground floor for arrivals and the top level for departures. It is expected to handle 12 million passengers annually when it is ready in 2017. The old international terminal will be converted as the new domestic terminal and the existing domestic terminal will begin serving business jets only.
What to see & do
About 30 kilometres south of the airport is Kochi city, a major port on the southwest coast of India. The city is often referred to as 'Ernakulam', pertaining to the mainland part of the city. One of the major tourist destinations in India, Kochi is known as the "gateway to Kerala" for its magnificent and eclectic mix of Arabic, British, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese influence. Most travellers explore the city for its historical sites and architectures such as in the old neighbourhood of Matancherry with its colonial buildings. The main attraction here is the Mattancherry Palace – more popularly known as the Dutch Palace. Another is the Paradesi Synagogue, which is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth nations. It is located in Jew Town, which is also the centre of spice trade in Kochi. Temples worthy of visit are the Ernakulam Shiva Temple – one of the major temples in the state, Thrikkakara Temple, and Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple. Do not miss the Hill Palace, which is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. Must-visit churches include the impressive Santa Cruz Basilica considered to be one of the heritage edifices of Kerala, and St. Francis Church. For an afternoon or evening stroll and people watching while enjoying coffee, the main tourist street – Princess Street – is the place to go with its line of cafes, restaurants, book stores, art galleries, tea shops, and souvenir stores. To learn more about Kerala's culture, visit the Museum of Kerala History, Kerala Folklore Theatre and Museum, or enjoy a Kathkali performance – an ancient form of dance-drama traditional to the state.
How to get around within Kochi
Getting around Kochi is convenient and inexpensive despite the city not having a local intra-city train service. However, there is a subway called the Kochi Metro under construction and many suburban areas are well-linked via regular passenger and long distance express trains. The public bus network and bus services are excellent and economic. For tourists, the auto rickshaw found at almost every bus stop and important landmarks is a good and cheap method of getting between the city's attractions. Taxis are safer and more comfortable than the auto rickshaws and are readily available everywhere and is a convenient option when heading to an unknown destination. Kochi is also a bicycle-friendly city with dedicated tracks and walkways and is a good option for both tourists and locals to travel around the city.
How to get there
Cochin International Airport receives regular domestic and international flights from almost all the cities in the Middle East and a few cities in Southeast Asia. 22 airlines operate its services in the airport going and coming from more than 30 domestic and international destinations. Air Asia India, Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, and Indigo, among many others, are the airlines serving Cochin International Airport. Air India Express has its primary hub in the airport and connects to multiple cities in the Middle East and has the most number of flights coming to and from Dubai. During tourist season, there are regular direct chartered flights from Europe and the United States.
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