Stuck in jam, fliers reach airports late

Sep 05, 2012, 06:53 IST | A correspondent

As a major portion of an under construction slab of the ongoing metro rail came down on the arterial Andheri-Kurla road at 4.25 pm yesterday, air travellers making their way to the city's two airports � domestic and international � were caught in the gridlock, forcing some of them to miss their flights.

Passengers residing in the eastern suburbs were the most affected, as some of them missed their international and domestic flights. “I left Ghatkopar at 4 pm to board a 6.20 pm flight at the domestic airport. I reached the Andheri-Kurla road at 4.20 pm, and for the next hour and 20 minutes, my vehicle didn’t move. 

Passengers from the eastern suburbs
Nowhere to go: Passengers from the eastern suburbs were the most affected, as many missed their flights due to the traffic jam. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Only after I enquired with a traffic cop, I was informed of the mishap,” said Arun Bhagat (55), a trader from Ghatkopar. “When I reached the airport at 6.05 pm, the counters were closed and the airline refused to transfer me to another flight, even refusing to hear my reason for late arrival.

I saw many other passengers, who underwent a similar ordeal, struggling to convince the airline staff of other airlines,” said Bhagat. Boarding terminals at the domestic airport shut gates 40 minutes prior to any departure.

International passengers of over a dozen flights scheduled for departure between 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm were, however, lucky.

Passengers scheduled to board flights during this period reached the international airport before the collapse, as airlines request them to check-in three hours prior to departure. Passengers caught in the jam were ones having flight departures between 8 and 8.30 pm. But, they managed to reach the terminal in time, as the gates close one hour before departure.

“I left my place at 3.50 pm for a Dubai flight scheduled to depart at 8.30 pm. Due to the heavy traffic, I reached the airport at 6.30 pm. I was lucky that despite the delay, I got there in time,” said 37-year-old Kurla resident Hanif Mohammed.

“Due to the metro bridge collapse, the vehicular traffic on the Andheri-Kurla road was affected for about two hours. Normal traffic movement resumed after 6 pm,” said V H Dhatrak, senior police inspector, Traffic, Airport.  

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