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  India   All India  13 Dec 2016  Cyclone Vardha: Chennai airport left inoperable, 27 flights suspended

Cyclone Vardha: Chennai airport left inoperable, 27 flights suspended

THE ASIAN AGE. | P A JEBARAJ
Published : Dec 13, 2016, 3:33 am IST
Updated : Dec 13, 2016, 7:09 am IST

Some were seen quarrelling with airport staff seeking answers to why the operation had to be suspended without any prior notice.

File picture of The Chennai Airport which suspended its operations on Monday due to heavy rains following Cyclone Vardah. (Photo: PTI)
 File picture of The Chennai Airport which suspended its operations on Monday due to heavy rains following Cyclone Vardah. (Photo: PTI)

Chennai: As cyclone Vardha hit Tamil Nadu with a wind speed of up to 180 kmph, the capital city’s only domestic and international airport went into a lockdown on Monday, bringing flight operations to a standstill even as over two dozen flights had to be diverted to nearby cities.

A total of 27 flights have been cancelled since Monday morning and nearly a dozen flights were diverted to other airports like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Tiruchy even as several flights taking off from the Chennai Airport were delayed by a couple of hours before it was shut down completely.

As rains began lashing the city and its suburbs since Sunday night, flights were operated, though delayed by a few hours, till 6 am on Monday. The situation turned for the worse after the intensity of the rain increased. The first flight to be diverted was a flight from Muscat, Oman. The flight, which was to land at the Chennai Anna International Airport, was diverted to Hyderabad while two flights from Mumbai were diverted to Bengaluru.

With the intensity of the rains and the wind speed increasing by every hour, the airport director, Chandramouli, called an emergency meeting where the decision to close the runway till 3 pm was taken. When the situation did not improve after 3 pm, the suspension of operations was extended till 6 pm and later till 9 pm.

The move brought with it inconvenience to fliers who were left stranded at the departure terminal at both domestic and international airports. Some were seen quarrelling with airport staff seeking answers to why the operation had to be suspended without any prior notice.

The last time the airport’s runway was closed for operations was in December 2015, when heavy rains had lashed the city. The airport was shut for 5 consecutive days, beginning with the night of December 1.

Tags: tamil nadu, cyclone vardha, chennai anna international airport
Location: India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Madras)