Young airport • grown-up duty free – Cochin welcomes you ….
Keralites (that’s what people from Kerala are called) love Cochin International, their friendly local airport.One of India’s youngest world-class airports, welcoming Cochin is also the country’s first Public Private Partnership airport. It was created thanks to private investment from over 10,000 non-resident Indians from 30 countries; the travelling public; service and retail providers; and other stakeholders.
Cochin International (COK) is located in Nedumbassery, about 30km from Kochi (formerly Cochin) city. Carrying over 4.3 million passengers in 2010, it’s Kerala’s largest and busiest airport with flights connecting the region and indeed the nation with destinations from Sharjah to Chicago.
The airport is used by 16 national carriers and acts as a hub or key city for Air India Express, Air India, GoAir, IndiGo, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. Soon, the Airport-Seaport Express Road will also connect this land hub to Kerala’s sea hub, Cochin Port.
Cochin International has a 10,000 square metre Domestic Terminal, and a spacious International Terminal. Both have relaxing lounges, superb shopping and delicious eateries that offer a real taste of colourful Keralan cuisine. The Domestic Terminal’s shopping arcade has over 20 retail boutiques including the Kerala Handicrafts and Leather store. Browse for last-minute gifts, fashion, leather goods, art, antiques and local specialities like crunchy cashews and exotic spices.
The Arrivals hall features currency exchange and tourist information services but its piéce de resistance is the 13,000-square-foot Cochin Duty Free Arrival Shop. Here you can buy luxury gifts, cosmetics, chocolate and confectionary, tobacco and alcohol and liquor products, great news as this saves you lugging heavy bags from one airport to another.
Top-shelf liquor brands to look out for include Grey Goose or Absolut Vodka; Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater Gin; Sailor Jerry or Lambs Navy Rum; and Bardinet or Fundador Spanish Brandy. For tobacco products, look out for multi-buy bargains from Benson & Hedges, Marlboro, State Express and Dunhill.
The 5,000-square-foot Cochin Duty Free Departure Shop is located on the upper floor of the International Terminal. It carries many exclusive lines of brand-name merchandise, from gold and costume jewellery to cosmetics, tobacco products and cutting-edge electronics, with the airport striving to offer the region’s absolute lowest prices on such luxury goods.An intelligent first purchase is a designer watch, to get you to your flight on time. Big hitters in the wrist-wear market include Versace, Pierre Cardin, Swatch, Fossil and Aviator. If it’s your eyes that need protection, opt for some signature sunglasses from Gucci, Prada, Ray Ban, Oakley, Christian Lacroix or Ted Baker.
Duty-free stores are always heaven-scented and Cochin’s is no exception. Look out for limited-edition offers on eau de cologne from D&G, Davidoff, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Lancaster or Ralph Lauren. For the lady in your life, select an exotic new eau de parfum from Cacharel, Cosmopolitan, YSL, Calvin Klein, Elizabeth Arden or Givenchy.
For goods like hair straighteners, curlers or men’s electric shavers, products from BaByliss, ghd, Carmen, Remington and Philips are a steal at tax-free airport prices.
Prestigious names like Pernod Ricard and Moët Hennessy often join forces with Cochin International Airport’s souvenir shops to celebrate Onam, Kerala’s largest festival (in August, September and October) with prize draws, in-store exclusives and car competitions. This makes picking up a bottle of Moët, Hennessy Whisky or Chivas Regal an even more attractive prospect than usual.
So whether you go home with a brand new car or simply happy to have explored the delights of Kerala, the warm welcome and service-with-a-smile you’ll receive at Cochin International Airport will have made your trip worthwhile.
Tax Free Travel Airport Shopping Guide to ……