CHENNAI: The employees of the Chennai International Airport can’t forget how water engulfed the tarmac on December 1 last year. Aircraft were stranded, surrounded by the surging floodwaters of the Adyar river that flows beside.
For the first time in its history, the Chennai airport was forced to shut operations for five days “It was like a Hollywood film,” recalls R Narayanan, an employee, who witnessed the devastation.
“The day the heavy rains began, we noticed a surge in the level of the Adyar river. At night, as water was released from the Chembarambakkam reservoir, the runway turned into a sea.”
The Chennai airport suffered huge losses due to the five-day shutdown: business losses to the tune of Rs 35.5 crore and losses worth Rs 31.06 crore due to damages to communication and navigation equipment and other facilities.
Once the floodwaters receded, airport authorities began to chalk out a plan of action to flood-proof the fourth busiest airport in the country after Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. A three-phase plan was made, of which the first phase has been completed successfully.