Cyclone Michaung: Chennai airport shuts operations due to heavy rain
Schools, colleges, offices and banks have been closed on Monday and Tuesday in at least four districts of Tamil Nadu including Chennai
CHENNAI: Authorities on Monday halted operations at Chennai airport after the runway was submerged due to torrential rain a day before Cyclone Michaung makes landfall on the coast of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday morning.
Chennai airport closed the airfield for arrival operations from 9:17am till 11.30am. Following a review, the airport announced on X, formerly Twitter, that the airfield had been shut for arrival and departure operations till 11pm “due to severe weather conditions”.
The airport, counted as one of India’s busiest airports, handles an average of 500 flights every day.
A Chennai airport official said the flight operations were normal on Sunday but they were forced to shut the airport today due to the cyclonic storm.
“We will, however, review the situation by 8pm to take a call if the operations will have to be suspended further,” a second airport official said.
Cyclone Michaung is expected to make landfall on the coast of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said, with sustained winds of 90-100 kph (56-62 mph), gusting to 110 kph.
Videos on social media showed planes with their wheels submerged in water at the Chennai airport and floodwater sweeping away cars through the streets in parts of the city.
News agency PTI said the Meteorological Department has reiterated its forecast of heavy rainfall, accompanied by gales in parts of Andhra Pradesh over the next three days from Monday to Wednesday. Due to the incessant rains, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) have stopped devotees from taking the holy bath at Sri Kapilathirtham waterfalls.
Air India and Akasa Air have offered a one-time waiver of rescheduling/cancellation charges for passengers due to the weather. “All passengers who are unable to travel to and from Chennai between 4th Dec 2023 to 10th Dec 2023, can rebook their travel for any date on or before 17th Dec’ 2023 at no additional cost, by calling our Akasa Care Centre on +91 9606 112131,” Akasa Air said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
33 flights to Chennai were diverted to the Kempegowda International Airport on Monday, a PTI report said quoting Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) officials.
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