Thursday, May 27, 2021

Airport operations restart early as storm spares city

Kolkata: Kolkata airport authorities withdrew the suspension of operations an hour before schedule on Wednesday, after strong cyclonic winds and heavy rainfall gave Kolkata a miss. At 5pm, Kolkata airport issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM), announcing the airport’s reopening at 6.45pm. The airport had closed down at 8.30am to ride out the turbulence and was supposed to reopen at 7.45pm.

“The airport received a fair degree of rain during the night. In the morning, there were gusts of wind but nothing strong enough to cause damage. We carried out an inspection around 4pm and decided to reopen. Though it was not possible to operate commercial flights before 7.45pm, the airport was made available for emergencies and cargo operations,” said airport director Pulla Hezekiah.

This is the third instance in which the airport was shut down due to a cyclone warning but didn’t suffer any damage. In November 2019, the airport was shut down to bypass cyclone Bulbul. In May 2019, it was closed for cyclone Phani, but again escaped major damage. Only during Amphan last year did the airport get inundated and an old hangar collapsed. While the airport remained empty all day, the air traffic navigation wing worked as usual, offering services to 500-plus flights.

27/05/21 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

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