EVEN AS flight operations continued at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on Wednesday, 24 IndiGo flights were grounded after the airline’s staff failed to reach the airport on time owing to heavy rain and traffic disruption in the city.
IndiGo, in a statement, said that due to the unprecedented rain in Mumbai, 24 flights have been grounded.
“Close to 24 flights held up on ground until 23:30 hours. With all ongoing collective efforts, five of our flights have departed between 22:30 and 23:10 hours. As of now, all passengers who have arrived have disembarked from the aircraft and baggage delivery is still in progress.”
“Some flights coming into Mumbai have been held back to stabilise the situation. Since the entire airport operation and agencies have been affected, it will take a while for the situation to be completely normal,” it added.
“As a result of flooding and waterlogging on roads and the subsequent traffic jam, many of our ground support staff, crew and captains have not been able to reach the airport on time…,” the airline said.
Flight operations were affected amid bad weather and visibility dropping to around 500 m in the afternoon.
While an average delay of 65 minutes for departures has been reported, official data regarding delays and cancelations was not issued by the Mumbai International Airport Limited until late Wednesday.
IndiGo announced a waiver of cancellation fees on all their flights in and out of Mumbai until September 5, while Vistara and Air India waived charges for September 4. Sources said passengers had to wait for up to two hours for their baggage at conveyer belts.
Vishal Gondal, who travelled on IndiGo flight 6E 566 from Bengaluru, said, “The flight landed before time but no ground staff was available. We waited for someone to arrive and help us disembark from the aircraft. The pilot announced on landing that 80 per cent of the airline staff had not been able to reach airport due to the rain and waterlogging.”
Saranya Subramanian, whose mother and grandmother flew into Mumbai on IndiGo flight 6E 998, said her family had to wait for nearly three hours after landing to disembark from the aircraft.
“My mother and 87-year-old grandmother were coming from Chennai. They weren’t able to disembark until 9.45 pm due to a shortage of airline staff. My grandmother has a fracture and needed a wheelchair. She was not given one until she arrived at the baggage claim belt,” she said.
Subramanian added that even after waiting for a long time, the duo did not get their bags and will have to return to the airport on Thursday to claim their luggage.
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