With a steady increase in the volume of passenger traffic on air bubble flights to India, Kerala has eased restrictions and quarantine rules for international arrivals in the unlock 7.0. Kerala is one of the few states to have scrapped mandatory institutional quarantine for asymptomatic international flyers from abroad. All of Kerala’s four international airports – Cochin, Trivandrum, Kannur, and Calicut – are open for international arrivals and departures. However, travel to Kerala is subject to certain regulations before departure and after arrival amid the pandemic.
Before you undertake travel to India
After booking air bubble flights tickets to Kerala, international travelers need to fill out a self-reporting form on Air Suvidha (download the app or log on to Delhiairport.in), and register their details on Kerala’s COVID Jagratha portal. They are also required to apply for an e-pass and show the same to health officials at the arrival airport in Kerala. Please note the e-pass is mandatory for you to exit the terminal.
Other than filling a self-reporting form on Air Suvidha, you must fill a self-declaration form provided by the Government of Kerala before departure or after arrival.
If Kerala is your first port of entry
If Kerala is your first port of entry in India, you need not apply for exemption from institutional quarantine on condition of being asymptomatic. It means you don’t need a negative RT-PCR test report for flying directly into Kerala. You will only undergo 7-14 days of mandatory home quarantine as per Kerala’s quarantine rules for international arrivals.
If Kerala is not your first port of entry
If Kerala is not your first port of entry in India and you travel on United Airlines or Air India’s air bubble flight to Kerala via Delhi or Mumbai, a negative RT-PCR certificate is mandatory for taking domestic connection flights to Kerala from the first port of entry, Delhi or Mumbai. You can either travel with a negative COVID test report from the port of origin/departure or get tested upon arrival at the first port of entry, Delhi, Mumbai, or Hyderabad.
RT-PCR Testing for air bubble flights to Kerala
If you choose to travel with a negative COVID health certificate, you need to take a RT-PCR test and upload the test result to Air Suvidha within 72 hours before undertaking the journey from the port of origin/departure. Those who traveled before or on November 12 had to get tested for the Novel Coronavirus within 96 hours of their scheduled flights to India. It is now 72 hours, according to the Government of India’s new/revised guidelines for international arrivals. Those traveling with a negative RT-PCR certificate are exempted from both institutional quarantine and home quarantine. All they need to do is self-monitoring of their health for 14 days.
After arrival at Kerala airports
Carrying e-pass from the origin/departure is mandatory for traveling to Kozhikode/Calicut International Airport (CCJ) in Kerala. The airport has no counters to issue e-pass. If you travel to Trivandrum Airport (TRV) without an e-pass, you are likely to be put under institutional quarantine until an e-pass is arranged for you. Luckily, you won’t be sent back. At Cochin International Airport (COK), a handful of international arrivals can register their details manually upon arrival. Kochi Airport has the provision for flyers from abroad to fill the form manually.
Quarantine rules for travelers on a short trip
A short visit to Kerala is allowed for only 8 days, while you can make a regular visit to the state for only 6 months. Registration on Kerala’s COVID Jagratha portal is equally mandatory even for a short visit. Those on a short visit to the state are exempted from any sort of quarantine. Those on a short trip for any purpose other than tourism don’t have to obey the Kerala’s quarantine guidelines only on condition of being asymptomatic. Currently, tourist visa to India is suspended.
COVID Testing Facility at Cochin International Airport
Cochin International Airport is the first airport in Kerala and the sixth Indian airport to have launched a dedicated COVID testing facility in the airport premises. In addition to international arrivals and departures, the general public can choose to get tested at the airport’s COVID testing facility where both RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests are available. The RT-PCR test results are delivered within 6-8 hours from the time samples are collected. It takes only 15 minutes to provide antigen test results. A RT-PCR test costs Rs 2100 per individual, while a rapid antigen test is priced at Rs 625, as per the fixed rates from the government of Kerala. The 24-hr COVID testing counters are located in the arrival areas of T1 and T3 terminals.