Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Kolkata: Planes flown out, terminal roof bolstered ahead of Cyclone Amphan strike

Kolkata: Seven small planes scampered out of the city to safety; airline ground staff rushed to secure the larger aircraft with chocks and chain down ground handling equipment; electricians lowered floodlights from high masts in the apron area; engineers anchored aerobridges; and a team inspected the terminal roof, plugging leaks and re-seaming the joints.
Kolkata airport, which has largely worn a deserted look since March 24, sprung back to life on Tuesday as airlines and airport staff attempted to minimise the damage that might be made by Cyclone Amphan that is steadily barrelling towards the city. “Wind speed of 110-115km/hour gusting at 130km/hour is expected to strike the airport around Wednesday evening . Torrential rainfall can cause inundation,” airport meteorological office head G C Debnath warned Kolkata airport authorities late Monday evening, triggering evacuation of smaller aircraft. IndiGo relocated four ATRs and SpiceJet flew out three Bombardier Q400 planes. Only Air India subsidiary Alliance Air was unable to shift the three ATR aircraft. “There are 45 planes, most of them Boeing B-737 or Airbus A-320 aircraft, that are still stationed at the airport. Chocks have been set to prevent them from rolling. All ground-handling equipment, like step ladders and luggage trolleys, have been secured,” airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee said. A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued, suspending all cargo flights from Tuesday midnight till Thursday midnight. On Tuesday, five cargo flights operated to Kolkata; two domestic flights by IndiGO, one domestic and an international flight by SpiceJet and a US-Bangla Air fight from Dhaka.
In the apron area, the 18 aerobridges have been anchored with high-tensile steel wires. The floodlights from the 40-odd high masts, each 30-m high, have been lowered to prevent them from buckling in the wind.
20/05/20 Times of India
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