Chennai rains: Airport closed, flights suspended

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New Delhi/Chennai, Dec 2: All international and domestic flights to and from Chennai have been cancelled and the Chennai International Airport at Meenambakkam has been shut till 12 noon on December 6, the civil aviation ministry announced on Wednesday.

As many as 12 domestic and 12 international arrivals were diverted on Wednesday and 34 aircraft were stranded at Chennai airport, said an official statement.

Chennai rains shuts airport

According to the ministry, only one international flight arrival was cleared owing to a medical emergency.

[In pics: Rains create havoc in Chennai, rail, road, air traffic disrupted]

The unprecedented torrential downpour forced all navigational aids within the airfield to be switched off due to water logging, leaving only the secondary surveillance radar available.

By 6 am on Wednesday, the entire operational area of Chennai airport was submerged under seven feet of rain water.

However, air traffic services for the overflying traffic were not affected.

Arrangements were made to transport 90 passengers by buses to Bengaluru and 200 more to Chennai.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) established emergency contact numbers +91 44 22563100 and +91 8056220066 for assistance.

Meanwhile, budget carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday said it was closely monitoring the situation in Chennai following the ongoing deluge as operations at the city's water-logged airport had been suspended till further orders.

"We are closely monitoring the situation in Chennai. All our operations at Chennai Airport have been suspended till further instructions as the airport is water-logged and the tarmac is submerged in one and half feet of water," SpiceJet said in a release.

"Refunds have also been offered to cancelled flights and alternatives have been offered where ever possible," GP Gupta, chief administrative officer of SpiceJet, said in the statement.

On Tuesday, low-cost carrier IndiGo said all flights operating out of Chennai were temporarily cancelled following closure of the airport.

"IndiGo assures all passengers will receive 100 percent refund against the flight cancellations made on grounds of weather conditions, and cancellation and change fee will be waived off for affected passengers till further notice," it said.

"All employees have been accommodated at safe locations," it added. The unprecedented rains, the worst in 100 years, have battered Tamil Nadu's northern districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Cuddalore.

IANS

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