Operations suspended for four hrs after FedEx flight veers off runway

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OPERATIONS AT Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) were suspended for nearly four hours on Wednesday after a cargo aircraft veered off the runway in wake of heavy rain triggered by Cyclone Nisarga.

FedEx flight 5033, arriving from Bengaluru, landed on runway 14/32. The aircraft was towed away from the runway and there was no disruption in flight operations, said airport officials. “In consultation with AAI (Airports Authority of India), considering strong crosswinds, it has been decided that no arrivals and departures will take place between 1430 and 1900 hours,” read a statement from the airport. Officials said operations resumed around 6.30 pm.

GVK MIAL managing CSMIA saw 20 scheduled flights, including 12 departures and eight arrivals on Wednesday. Flights were scheduled to be operated by five airlines, including Air Asia India, Air India, IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet.

Lack of real-time updates on the airport website as well as on airlines’ websites caused confusion among passengers. Commute to the airport became difficult due to shortage of public transport and poor weather conditions.

Air India flight for Ahmedabad, scheduled to depart at 6 am, was delayed till 7 pm. On Tuesday, IndiGo announced cancellation of 17 flights to and from Mumbai, which were to fly on Wednesday. Only three departing flights were operated: 6E 495 Mumbai-Chandigarh, 6E 6179 Mumbai-Ranchi and 6E 5373 Mumbai-Patna. All these flights flew in the morning and reached their destinations.

According to flight status on its websites, Air Asia flew passengers to Kochi through its only scheduled flight. SpiceJet was originally scheduled to operate six arriving and six departing flights on Wednesday as per the schedule, but three departures and four arrivals were carried out. While all three GoAir flights departed as per schedule, flights arriving from Lucknow and Varanasi had to be delayed due to airport closure.

Vistara had cancelled all flights operating out of Mumbai airport on Wednesday. Returning flights Bombay-Kolkata-Bombay and Delhi-Bombay-Delhi were also cancelled.

In a statement, CSMIA had announced that food and beverage counters will be operational 24×7. These counters will continue to operate under safety measures adopted against the Covid-19 outbreak.

Special precautions were taken for smaller and lighter aircraft, typically used for general aviation (GA), as they are vulnerable to strong winds. Some GA aircraft have been flown out of Mumbai until the cyclone passes while others have been asked to park inside the hangar; the airport has ensured that minimum aircraft are parked on the apron,” read a statement from the airport.

Apart from five special trains on the Central Railway (CR), which were rescheduled, rail and road transport remained unaffected due to the cyclone. The five trains secheduled during the day were rescheduled at 8 pm but finally departed at 8.30 pm after tracks were declared fit for movement.

There were some instances of damage to overhead wires due to high winds, but the rain did not have a major impact on the ghar section of the CR. “Despite no major damage, trains will resume after thorough inspection,” said an official from the CR.

At Vidyavihar, an overhead wire tripped after a tree fell on it. The problem was rectified around 4.30 pm while on the Western Railway (WR), a tree had tilted at Mumbai Central Yard but did not affect train operations. Passenger trains on the WR remained unaffected but goods trains were suspended after noon. BEST bus services also remained unaffected with no waterlogging reported.

Konkan Railway, on the other hand, diverted some trains with the cyclone making a landfall at Alibaug.


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