Heavy showers play havoc with airline schedules, main runway at intl airport closed.
Mumbai: Dozens of passengers are stranded and around 161 domestic and international flights were cancelled due to the closure of main runway at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) on Wednesday after the city witnessed heavy downpour. The runway at international airport remained shut due the heavy rains, flooding and poor visibility, while flights took off from the secondary runway.
The total number of cancelled flights from Tuesday midnight to Wednesday 8 pm stood at 161 domestic and international flights.
A domestic flight belonging to Spicejet that landed at CSIA on Tuesday night overshot the runway and got stuck in mud. According to airport authorities, the process of removing the disabled aircraft has been affected due to continuous rains resulting in soft soil in the area. While earlier the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) for closure of the main runway had been extended up to 6 am, Thursday, it was then brought forward to midnight of September 20. Meanwhile, the flight operations were shifted to the second runway (Runway 14).
“As of now, 63 flights of Jet Airways, eight of Indigo, one GoAir and three Spicejet flights got cancelled due to the heavy rains,” said an official from Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL). On Tuesday, around 56 flights were diverted to Goa, Bangalore and Hyderabad. However, airport authorities confirmed that not a single diversion was witnessed on Wednesday.
But several flights were delayed after the closure of main runway and heavy rains. “My son’s flight was supposed to reach the airport by 7 am from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it is 1 pm now. The indicator shows that the flight has been cancelled. We don’t know how to get confirmed details about the flight,” said Subaida Khan, one among the visitors at International Airport.
On Tuesday night, SpiceJet B737 VT-SGZ, operating flight SG 703 Varanasi to Mumbai, with 183 passengers on board skidded off onto unpaved surface due to wet runway, which was caused due to heavy rains. “Engineers from other airlines like Air India are helping to tow away the stuck aircraft,” said a police official at the site.
The aircraft was eventually was retrieved at 9.38 pm on Wednesday.
Chaos increased at the airport premises in the evening hours after the number of passengers waiting for direct/connecting flights increased.