Airport shut till Sunday

Airport shut till Sunday

Airport shut  till Sunday

The waterlogged Chennai airport threw the plans of hundreds of passengers in a quandary on Tuesday.

With the runway flooded, the airport will remain shut till Sunday. The tarmac was submerged in one-and-a-half feet of water, while around 35 aircraft belonging to various operators were in the waterlogged parking bay.

Around 1,500 fliers, including the son of a Union minister, and 2,000 workers were stuck inside the terminal building for hours as 66 arrivals and 53 departures from the airport, since 8pm on Monday, were cancelled.

Later, 90 passengers were sent to Bengaluru by buses and 200 passengers were transferred to the city.

The airport has become a sort of relief camp as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) struggled to move people to safety.

Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju said everything has been “paralysed” at the airport.

“If the rain stops, then only we can give you some type of time frame, but if it won't stop then we can't say anything. If water recedes, only then we will be able to do something,” the minister added.

Earlier, the AAI said it has issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) to all air operators with regard to suspension of flight operations till 6 am on Wednesday. However, after a review in late evening, officials decided to start operations only on Sunday
“The runway is flooded but the terminal building is safe,” said AAI chairman R K Srivastava.

In a statement, low-cost carrier SpiceJet stated: “Passengers at the airport are being taken care of by our officials and proactive measures have been taken to inform them about the cancellations and rescheduling of flights. Refunds have also been offered to cancelled flights and alternatives have been offered where ever possible.”
The Railways has cancelled 23 trains, while 11 have been diverted.

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