Mumbai rains: Air traffic braves the weather, but Juhu airport goes under

Though the Mumbai deluge threw life off-gear for daily commuters, air traffic was relatively less affected. Around 30 flights were delayed at the domestic terminal, while there were no significance delays at the international terminal due to rains.

Seven of these 30 flights were delayed for more than an hour; the services affected included those of Air India, Jet Airways and Go Air. However, passengers faced problems while reaching the terminal to check in on time. Such issues were mostly faced by passengers in the first half of the day.

Airlines were accommodating passengers, who could not reach the airport on time, in the next possible flight. There were, however, no cancellations reported on Friday. Maithili Rao, a senior citizen who was to take off for Amritsar at 10 am, not only had to wait for two hours, but also had a tough time reaching the domestic terminal.

Rao explained, “My husband and I had to shell out double the amount to the rickshaw to drop us to the terminal; we feared we would miss our flight. After reaching the terminal, we realised that the flight wasn't on time; flight SG 346 finally departed at noon.”

The operations from Juhu Airport were suspended due to waterlogging on the runway. The runway shut at 7 am on Friday and was expected to remain closed till 12 pm. Juhu airport officials said that flights weren’t scheduled for the day due to the rain.

A senior airport official said, “In normal conditions, 10 to 15 flights take off in the first half of the day.” Oil rig workers and officers were stranded at Juhu. The airport is a crucial take-off point for private flight operators and companies working in the oil exploration & production sector.

“We tried to pump the water out but the water level increased during the high tide, hence operations remained shut for the entire day. The operations on Saturday will depend on the situation in the morning, after the inspection that will be conducted at 7 am,” added the officer. Some helicopters had to be relocated as their hangars fall in the low-lying area of the Juhu aerodrome.

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