Chennai airport’s boundary wall has been damaged at 17 locations after water from Adyar river gushed into the airfield last week and forced a shutdown of operations.
Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathy Raju who inspected the airport on Monday morning said, “For now, fencing has been done in those 17 spots to at least prevent the entry of animals into the runway.” After water entered the runway, he said, radars and navigational aids in the airport were affected. A total of 1,741 flight services were affected when the airport was closed from December 1 to 5; also 22 aircraft and 1,500 passengers were stranded at the airport. “There are lessons we ought to learn. Anyway, we are looking to see if the height of the radar can be elevated; communication was completely affected in these floods and if communication breaks down, various things get affected,” he added.
After several days of closure, the Chennai airport was opened for passenger services on Sunday with three Air India flights to Port Blair, Hyderabad and Delhi and a Jet Airways and IndiGo to Bangalore. On Monday, round-the-clock operations for both domestic and international started. But there were only 21 departures and 21 arrivals.
The Minister said quite a few airlines had started operations and eventually, in a day or two, normality would be restored at the airport. He said there would be a study to look at various issues that would also include the Metro Rail facility. Mr. Raju said he visited Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and during the conversation, she asked him about the breakage of glass panels at the airport.