Kolkata airport looks deserted as cyclone ‘Remal’ forces flight suspensions, BA

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The terminal building of the Kolkata airport wore a deserted look after the suspension of flight operations shortly after noon on Sunday due to the looming threat of severe cyclone ‘Remal’. Such a sight was unprecedented as the airport, which like any other international hub was usually bustling with activity, now stood deserted except for security personnel, Airports Authority of India staff and a handful of airline employees.

On Saturday, the airport authorities took the decision to suspend flight operations from 9 pm on Sunday afternoon.

Passenger trolleys stood in neat rows, untouched, because there were no travelers in sight. Security remained vigilant and maintained their usual vigilant posture throughout the property.

“The atmosphere almost indicated that the terminal building would not open for operations yet,” an AAI official said.

The last flight from Kolkata airport, an IndiGo bound for Bangalore, took off at 12.16 pm after which operations ceased till 9 am on Monday morning, he added.

In the period leading up to the suspension, 39 flights took off and 41 landed at the Kolkata airport, with nine departures and seven arrivals canceled between early morning and afternoon, the AAI spokesperson said.

During the 21-hour flight suspension, a total of 394 flights, both domestic and international, will be affected, disrupting travel plans for many passengers.

Airlines like Air India, Vistara, IndiGo and SpiceJet started issuing travel advisories through their social media platforms from Saturday evening, providing updates and guidance to passengers. In a press statement on Sunday, IndiGo said it has “rescheduled and canceled a number of flights due to Cyclone Remal. Passengers have been notified in advance of all changes and will be provided with real-time updates on social platforms. Mitigation measures have been put in place to reduce inconvenience to passengers due to from the cyclone.

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In view of the potential impact of Cyclone Remal, Kolkata airport authorities have taken precautionary measures, in line with meteorological reports predicting heavy winds and rainfall.

The decision to suspend operations was taken after a stakeholders’ meeting on Saturday, chaired by NSCBI Airport director C Pattabhi, based on the forecast showing wind speeds in excess of 50 to 60 knots, with gusts up to 70 knots.

  • Published on May 27, 2024 at 2:53 PM IST

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