Rain keeps runway shut for third day

Sep 05, 2011, 06:54 IST | Maleeva Rebello

Normal operations at Mumbai airport remained severely hampered for the third day yesterday after a Turkish Airways plane skidded off the runway during landing and got stuck in mud on Friday.
Flights have been operating from its secondary runway as the rain continued to pose hurdles in the salvage operations.

The Turkish Airlines aircraft is still stranded near the main runway. The deadline to salvage the aircraft has been extended thrice as heavy rain continued to pose hurdles in operations

Commenting on the rough weather, an official from Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL), the airport operator said that it was not possible to say when exactly the runway would be open as it depends on the weather.
An official added, "We are trying our best but the strong winds and continuous downpour has made it very difficult. However, we are trying to ensure that flights get delayed as little as we can."

Yesterday morning, the 8 am deadline was extended to 12 pm as bad weather continued to torment the salvagers who were working day and night. 

By afternoon, the construction of the pavement to remove the aircraft from the mud that it was stuck in was completed. But owing to bad weather, the deadline was further extended to 5 pm.

Meanwhile, it wasn't all bad news at the airport. Much to the relief of passengers, flights ran on schedule.
Walter D'Souza, returning to the city from Bangalore, said, "My flight was on time, which was a pleasant surprise considering the problems that the airport has seen in the last few days."

Vasant Shirodkar added, "I left home late to pick up my brother, as the flights were delayed yesterday but he called me saying that his flight was on time.
I had to make a dash to reach the airport on time."

And if all goes as planned and if the weather gods permit, the runway will be operational today and flights and passengers will not suffer, said an official.

Bomb scare
An anonymous threat call received by Jet Airways staff yesterday claimed the presence of a bomb in Jet Airways flight 9W 592 from Kochi to Bahrain via Mumbai.
A CISF official said that the passengers were disembarked and the flight was inspected however, no bomb was found.
Passengers were put on an alternate flight to Bahrain. The Sahar police are trying to trace the number from which the call was received.

Inputs by Bipin Kumar Singh

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