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July 6, 2010

Rain & strike combine to ground airlines, flyers

Filed under: General — aerotowfeeq @ 10:55 pm

The monsoon struck northwest India on the worst possible day for air passengers, who faced major cancellations on Monday due to the bandh called by the opposition. While road blocks and suspension of public transport facilities delayed passengers from getting to the airport, torrential rainfall over places like Kullu, Dehradun and Shimla also led to a further cancellation of flights.

Delhi itself saw about 20 flights getting cancelled through the day while Mumbai recorded 47 cancellations. Kolkata too barely saw any operations and which in turn disrupted flights from nearby airports like Guwahati and Imphal. Most airlines worked on a reduced schedule, having combined flights for which the number of passengers was low.

According to sources, passengers of flights that had been combined on Sunday were informed in advance. β€˜β€˜In cities like Mumbai, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, where streets had been blocked and public transport suspended, passengers were unable to reach the airport and many ended up cancelling their reservations. Airlines were left with no option then but to cancel flights and if some passengers had turned up, they were accommodated in other flights,” said an airline official.

In Mumbai, where the public transport was affected severely, the airport management had to specially deploy special buses to ferry arriving passengers to various locations in the city. “A total of over 90 flights were affected on Monday as passengers were unable to get to the airport,” said a Mumbai International Airport (P) Ltd official.

In Delhi, where air traffic was not as severely disrupted as in other parts of the country, there were reports of agitated scenes when passengers reached the airport with much difficulty, only to find that their flight had been cancelled. Incoming traffic from cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Shimla and Kerala was affected. While sources said that as many as 40 flights, both incoming and outgoing, had been cancelled, airlines maintained that very few flights were affected.

Air India officials said that out of 137 scheduled flights from six metros till evening, all barring one operated. Jet Airways and Kingfisher too gave similar updates. Both airlines were allegedly working on a schedule with seven combined flights each. Most of the flights that Kingfisher combined were to operate on the Mumbai-Bangalore route.



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