Normalcy returns at Chennai airport: Civil Aviation Minister

PTI Chennai | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on December 07, 2015

Chennai 07-12-2015---- Civil Aviation Minister Gajapathi Raju addressing the press at Chennai Airport on Monday. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan.

Normalcy has returned to Chennai Airport, which was closed down following the unprecedented deluge last week, and it was for airlines to resume operations in full swing, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathy Raju said today.

After taking stock of the situation at the airport, Raju met Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at the state secretariat.

Speaking to reporters after his nearly half-an-hour meeting with her, Raju said that “lessons” have been learnt following the deluge that paralysed flight operations, with stranded passengers being evacuated from the military base at nearby Arakkonam.

“Normalcy is already there. Only airlines have to take a call,” he said replying to a query if normalcy had returned at the airport and if operations could be resumed in full swing.

The estimate of the loss was being done but it was “premature” to quantify the same even as “lessons” had been learnt, Raju said.

For instance, radar, among other costly equipment, had been affected and had it been placed at a higher position than it was, the loss of operation hours could have been minimised, Raju said.

Raju inspected the airport and expressed satisfaction about quick restoration of operations despite damages caused to navigational aids and to the perimeter wall of the airport due to rains.

He asked all airlines to quickly start operations of both domestic and international flights as per their regular schedules.

The Minister appreciated the officers for the “outstanding work” in normalizing the functioning of the airport in such a short time.

On his discussion with Jayalalithaa, Raju said they centered around working together to cope with such a disaster.

“This is a disaster... we are working in that direction (of coordination),” he said adding while Chennai is a “premier” city, the airport here is a key one.

Meanwhile, a total of 35 flights operated at the airport here although international services were yet to go on full steam. As many as 18 flights of state-owned and private carriers, arrived from various cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Goa among others, officials said.

Similarly, 17 flights to various destinations including Delhi, Mumbai, Port Blair and Bangalore took off, they said.

International flight operations commenced since 6 a.m. today. An Air India Express flight arrived at 10 am this morning, Airports Authority of India said in a release.

Published on December 07, 2015
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