MUMBAI witnessed a delay of more than 40 per cent flights on December 4 and 5 due to low visibility at the airport in the wake of cyclone Ockhi. Flights to and from the airport saw major delays, reveals data of a ticket booking website. “Owing to cyclone Ockhi, which has been making its way up along the western coast of India, flight operations to and from Mumbai have been impacted. About 44 per cent of all inbound and outbound Mumbai flights have been delayed over the last two days with the average delay being around 50 minutes,” said Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder, Ixigo, a ticket booking website.
The IMD’s Santacruz observatory recorded 53.8 mm rain on Tuesday owing to cyclone Ockhi off the Mumbai coast. “This is all on account of heavy rains, low levels of visibility and congestion at the airport. We request travellers to check the flight status before reaching the airport,” Bajpai added.
Officials from the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) that manages the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) said flight operations were normal on Monday and Tuesday. “There was a 15-minute delay of flights on an average. There was no problem at the airport. Delays could also be due to specific issues at the end destinations,” a MIAL official said.
According to data presented by Ixigo, 262 flights were delayed from a total of 587 domestic flights and 118 of 357 international flights were delayed at the Mumbai airport on Wednesday. Officials said the delay in flights in the past two days further affected flight services on Wednesday. Jet Airways said it saw a delay in departure of each flight by 45 minutes on Tuesday. “Bunching of flights due to delay in flights on Tuesday was caused today,” a senior ATC official said. The data adds 13 flights were cancelled in all at Mumbai airport on Wednesday. The major delay in flights was witnessed between 5 am-10 am Wednesday, with 120 domestic flights and 45 international flights getting delayed.
To avoid any flight cancellations from affecting their travel plans, some passengers switched to trains. “I took a Rajdhani to Delhi to escape the Mumbai airport congestion. Although it took a day longer by train, inclement weather conditions at the Mumbai airport makes flight traffic worse so, I wanted to avoid it,” Kala Maheshwari, a banking professional who stays in Goregaon, said.