Incessant floods in Chennai have inundated air travel, with 19 flights departing to the southern city from Mumbai cancelled, as the airport lies submerged; airlines suspend operations and offer help, refunds and other alternatives to flyers
The massive spate of floods in Chennai has affected air travel, too. Due to the inoperative Chennai airport, all flights to and from Chennai were cancelled. The Mumbai airport had 19 departing flights to Chennai, which were cancelled due to the abnormal and extremely heavy rainfall.
An aerial view of the waterlogged Chennai airport
The submerged airport, which was shut till 6 am yesterday, saw approximately 700 stranded passengers. Nearly 30 aircraft from all over the country have been grounded at the airport, and it is slated to remain shut till December 6. Of the 19 cancelled flights, ten were Jet Airways flights, five Indigo flights, two SpiceJet flights and two GoAir flights.
“Some of the aircraft are also stranded at the Chennai airport and will be able to take off only once the operations resume. Though numbers of the stranded aircraft aren’t known, this will surely have an indirect impact on other operations, as the unavailability of aircraft (throughout the country) will be felt until situation at Chennai airport normalises,” explained an official from Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL).
However, Jet Airways announced that all their flights would be cancelled till today as well. “In view of the prevailing conditions in Chennai and in the interest of safety of its guests, crew and aircraft, Jet Airways has cancelled all its flights to and from Chennai for December 2 and December 3, 2015,” a statement from the airline said.
Jet Airways passengers with confirmed tickets to and from Chennai between December 1 and 4 will be allowed full refund of tickets or a complimentary change of booking to alternative dates, depending on seat availability.
Guests are advised to visit www.jetairways.com or call the airline call centre on (add city code) 39893333 for information on their flights. Information on schedule changes is also available with travel agents. “The airline continues to closely monitor the situation in Chennai,” said a Jet Airways spokesperson.
Similarly, all the SpiceJet operations at Chennai were announced to be suspended till further instructions, as the airport is waterlogged and tarmac is submerged in one and half feet of water. Four SpiceJet aircraft are on standby at the Chennai airport, which would be available, once the airport resumes normal operations.
‘Whole city cut off’
Explaining the situation at Chennai airport and the assistance being provided to the stranded passengers, G P Gupta, Chief Administrative Officer of SpiceJet said, “We are closely monitoring the situation in Chennai. The whole city is cut off from the airport and SpiceJet officials along with the Airport Authority are on their toes providing solace to the passenger with all the available resources.
Proactive measures have been taken to inform the passengers about the cancellations and rescheduling of flights through phone calls, SMS etc. Refunds and alternative options have also been offered where ever possible. We are constantly communicating information and updates through our website and social media platforms.”
An IndiGo Spokesperson added, “Team IndiGo (working in other cities) are volunteering to extend all support to the Chennai staff and stranded passengers. The staff (including the senior managers) is currently stationed at the Chennai airport for more than 24 hours now, to offer all the required assistance on ground, medical aid and to supply food and water to the stranded passengers. IndiGo leadership is liasing with the IMD to receive weather forecast for the next 48 hours.”
Tourism in Chennai and Tamil Nadu at large has also been severely affected because of the floods. Due to the influence of low pressure over Bay of Bengal, the weather forecast says heavy rains would continue to occur over coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for the next 48 hours. Many trees were uprooted due to gusts of winds.