Aviation

As water recedes, airlines to take stock of damage

CHENNAI

It was the airlines’ turnaround speed that was the differentiator among those who were left stranded at the airport here by nightfall of December 1 and those that weren’t.

In the great lake that the Chennai airport has become from that night, there were 34 aircraft that were left at various places, a picturesque element in the otherwise grim flood stories from the rest of the city, reports Business Standard.

Of the 34 that have stood, the largest number is from Jet Airways at eight. Air India has six aircraft parked there, while IndiGo has only two. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) confirmed the 34 but declined to give the airline-wise break-up.

What were the reasons for Jet and Air India to leave so many of their planes hanging in there? Business Standard asked airline companies about the train of events through Tuesday.

A Jet spokesperson said they waited till 8 pm on the evening of December 1 at Chennai in an attempt to prevent diversion of flights to other airports. By then the call was made to shut down the airport by AAI for three hours since the water level on the runway had risen to two feet and the planes were stuck. The rains did not stop that night and the water level kept rising. By early next morning it was seven feet, according to AAI estimates, and the area was totally submerged. Six of Jet’s planes stranded at Chennai are Boeing and two ATRs.

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