Just a few days after it received the award for being the second best airport of the world, Sunday’s rain exposed the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s poor arrangement and preparedness for the monsoon.
The early rain caused major water-logging problems at the airport forcing passengers in the international and domestic arrival halls to wade through knee-deep water, while the baggage handling system was left crippled.
According to a senior official at the airport, while the city recorded around 36.6 mm rainfall, the airport recorded 117.8 mm of rainfall in four and half hours between 1 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.
While explaining the reasons for the major water-logging, an airport official said: “The amount of rain water, combined with poor drainage in the surrounding area and topography of the airport led to back flow of water towards the Terminal 3. Incessant rain, poor drainage system in the surrounding area and the comparative low elevation of the airport led to back flow of water, which led to flooding in the terminal area.”
“There was knee-deep water near the exit of the Airport Express Metro and passengers had to wade through it to reach the terminal. Services at the domestic arrivals were the most affected due to flooding which forced the airport authorities to close the functioning of four baggage belts. The situation was brought under control only late in the evening,” the official said.
The spokesperson of Delhi International Airport Limited, the operator of the airport, however claimed: “Due to adequate capacity of all services, operations remained normal.”
DIAL had put its workers on the job of pumping the accumulated water out of the terminals.
“A band of brave cleaning staff waged a losing battle armed with nothing more than bathroom floor wipers,” one airport visitor wrote on his Facebook wall while talking about the poor arrangement at the airport.
DIAL sources said that they had asked the civic agencies like the Public Works Department and the municipal body for providing adequate drainage in the surrounding areas but the work started late and the airport had to face such a situation.
“Local authorities have recently started work on augmenting drainage facilities in the surrounding areas. Upon completion, it is hoped that the said drainage work will stem the back flow of water and prevent recurrence of such incidents,” DIAL spokesperson added.