Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Flight ops hit for five hours in year's worst disruption

Kolkata: The cyclonic weather caused the year's worst disruption at Kolkata airport, forcing suspension of flight operations for nearly five hours in the morning and afternoon. The blustery crosswinds prevented landing, forcing diversion of multiple flights, cancellation of a few and rescheduling of a whole many. In all, 148 flights were hit that affected nearly 15,000 passengers.
While it had begun raining since Sunday night, Monday morning flights departed as usual as the blustery conditions did not affect flight operations. However, the situation changed abruptly after 8am with stiff cross-winds blowing across the runway. With planes coming into to land from the north, the wind threatened to cause the aircrafts to drift off the runway. Some flights that were arriving in Kolkata, including two IndiGo flights, had to abort landing and go-around before being diverted to Bhubaneswar airport as the dangerous winds persisted. "Despite the rain, visibility was fine and there was no waterlogging on the runway. But strong gusting winds of 70 kmh and cross-winds at 40-45 kmh in the easterly, north-easterly direction severely affected flight operations," airport Metereological office head GC Debnath said.
"Flights that were arriving were asked to hover over Kolkata till the condition improved. When that didn't happen, they had to be diverted. At one time, Bhubaneswar airport had planes parked in the taxi track," an airline official said. While seven flights were diverted to Bhubaneswar, Guwahati accommodated eight diverted flights. Ranchi, Raipur and Benaras accounted for the rest of the diversions. With flight operations suspended to prevent any mishap during landing and takeoff, passenger crowds began to pile up at the airport. The departure terminal that usually appears half-empty with plenty of vacant seats was packed to the brim.
As seating became a problem, airport officials and airlines decided to use seating area in the arrival terminal to accommodate the overflow.
10/10/17 Times of India