Times News Network
Mumbai, Aug 7: As if packing the bags to catch a flight on a Sunday was not bad enough, passengers spend several hours stranded at the Mumbai airport as rains played havoc with schedules. About 25-30 domestic flights were rescheduled, while the rest were delayed by 35-40 minutes, said an airport official.
The delays began from early morning and grew as the day progressed, forcing airlines to reschedule many flights. Though rainfall eased in the evening, poor visibility continued to disrupt operations.
To compound the woes, the main runway of the Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL) - the new name for the city airport - was closed for operations from 3.15 pm to 4.15 pm.
"Emergency maintenance work was ca rried out to level the patches that had appeared on the surface of the runway due to the heavy downpour," said a MIAL spokesperson. Regional executive director of Airports Authority of India, S R R Rao, who handles the airport's air traffic control said that the closure did not result in any significant flight diversions as it was done during the lean traffic period.
For the airlines though, closure of runway coupled with poor visibility and delays in take-offs and landing due to rains resulted in schedules going haywire.
"Almost all domestic flights were delayed by over 30 minutes," said an airport official. Jet Airways, Mumbai-Pune flight 9W 202, which took off at 9.30 am reached Pune, only to return and land here. "It departed again, after the weather cleared after three hours," said an airline spokesperson.
Delays affected schedules of flights of most domestic carriers like Air Deccan, Indian Airlines, Go Air and Spice Jet. The most affected were flights to destinations like Goa, Hyderabad, Mangalore.