Chennai Airport resumes operations even as more heavy rains are predicted

Even as the rain battered South Indian metropolis Chennai is attempting to limp back to normalcy; flight services have resumed at the Chennai airport after it was shut down for 4 days on account of excessive water logging. As of now, the runways are open for only day-time flights. Subject to no more heavy rains, the airport is expected to be fully functional by Tuesday.

Train services too resumed on Sunday morning after a gap of four days.

Although there has been marginal improvement in the water logging in parts of Chennai, intermittent rains since Friday last has impacted rescue and relief operations apart from adding to the agony of the affected people. More rains are also predicted due to low pressure developing in the Bay of Bengal.

A chartered plane was the first to take off from the Chennai airport this morning. An Air India flight bound for Port Blair followed with 150 passengers, and two more flights are likely to take off in the evening, including one from Jet Airways. International operations may commence in the next 48 hours if the rain Gods are merciful. The radar and navigation equipment at the airport is damaged, but the airport is able to use the radar from the Indian Air Force.

Personnel from the Airports Authority of India inspected the runway yesterday, and it was declared fit for operations. Flights with relief supplies also landed at the airport yesterday.

In all, some 34 aircrafts belonging to various carriers were stranded at the Chennai Airport when the airport was ordered to be shut down up to 6 December due to heavy water logging. The airport handles about 320 landing/take offs in a day, and that includes international flights.

The central and state governments are actively involved in rescue and relief operations and the national disaster response teams along with the Army continue to be engaged in rescue and relief operations. The focus of the government has also turned to prevention of disease outbreaks.

Chennai received a full month’s quota of rains in just a single day.

The internet and mobile services are being restored in a phased manner across the city. Clean drinking water, milk, and vegetables are in short supply.

Hyundai, Ford, and Nissan were among the auto majors whose manufacturing activities came to a halt due to the water logging. In the IT sector, many companies were forced to go with lean staff and convert office facilities into semi-residential space with the employees forced to stay put.