This airport fails stress test on day of disruption

KOLKATA: Calcutta airport’s less than flattering reputation in terms of passenger amenities took a further beating amid Monday’s weather-induced mayhem that had briefly propelled it to the top of the global list for delayed and cancelled flights, reports The Telegraph.

Crosswinds and heavy rainfall triggered by a deep depression had forced air traffic control to divert 26 flights during the day.

Many more were cancelled or delayed, leaving thousands of passengers stranded for hours without even basic amenities like seating and food.

Airport officials said operations were partly affected by a manpower shortage since many employees, including those of airlines, could not report for duty because of inclement weather.

When conditions improved enough in the afternoon for aircraft to land and take off one after the other, the airport’s infrastructure cracked under the pressure of traffic.

The wait for baggage at the conveyor belts stretched to more than an hour in some cases, the time spent in boarding queues evoked memories of lining up for cash post-demonetisation and finding a trolley provided the joy of winning a lottery.

As the minutes ticked by, many of the passengers complained about feeling claustrophobic, forcing the cabin crew to reopen the aircraft doors. “Some got up and stood near the doors to breathe some fresh air. It was raining heavily and the wind was strong. It seemed the plane was going through turbulence even on the ground,” Soma said.

Light snacks were served by the airline, although it did little to calm the anxious passengers.


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