Mumbai: Flight operations at the GVK group-operated Mumbai airport were crippled partially on Wednesday due to incessant rains lashing the city since Tuesday, with around 20 flights cancelled and another 280 delayed, a live flight tracking website showed.
However, much to the surprise for Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), the private aerodrome operator, the operations were "normal". Due to the unprecedented rains, close to 24 flights were held up on ground until 23:30 hrs. As a result of collective efforts, five flights have departed between 22:30 and 23:10 hours, airport authorities said in a statement.
As of now, all passengers have disembarked from the aircraft and baggage delivery is in progress, the statement said. Some flights coming to Mumbai have been held back to stabilise the situation. Since the entire airport operations and agencies have been affected, it will take a while for the situation to be completely normal, it added. The Mumbai Airport, with crossing runways, handles around 1,000 arrivals and departures per day.
As per the website, there was an average delay of 65 minutes in flights departing from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), with 76 per cent outbound flights affected. Besides, as many as 44 per cent of the incoming flights were delayed by an average of eight minutes. Taken together, a total of around 280 flights were affected due to the rains. A Mumbai Airport spokesperson earlier in the day, had said five flights had to do a go around and there was an average delay of 25 minutes.
"Operations at the airport were normal. The five go-arounds mentioned earlier have landed in Mumbai thereafter. There are a few cancellations of IndiGo today," the spokesperson said in a statement issued in the evening without divulging any details. "6E (IndiGo flight code) 6097 what happened since last 6 hours. Every half hour they changed the flight timing. We are sitting in flight since last 1&half hour but pilot is saying it will take time," tweeted a passenger, who tagged the Ministry of Civil Aviation Twitter handle as well.
"Sir what is happening with Indigo flight 6E6097. The passengers are locked in the flight! Why don't u cancel the license of such pathetic airlines? It may lead to mass genocide," tweeted another angry passenger. IndiGo, in a statement, said, "Due to the unprecedented non-stop rains in Mumbai, there are close to 30 flights on ground. As a result of flooding and water-logging on roads and the subsequent traffic jams, many of our ground support staff, crew and captains have not been able to reach the airport on time. "As a result, the departure flights have also been held up. We are doing everything possible to restore normalcy," the airline said.