It what is seen a s a first early signs of long return to normalcy the Airport officials in Chennai have received requests from national carrier Air India to operate flights after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) announced day-time operations of passenger flights from the airport.
“Air India has informed us that it will operate a chartered flight to Port Blair and one flight to and fro Chennai today,” sources told PTI .
The Air India chartered flight to Port Blair, AI-549, is scheduled to take off at 10am while the airlines’ flight AI 429 from New Delhi is scheduled for arrival at the Chennai airport at 1.40pm, they said. The same flight AI 430 (AI 429 on return) will depart for the national capital at 2.45pm.
A total of 34 aircraft belonging to various airlines were stranded at the airport when the AAI had decided to shut the airport till December 6 in the wake of battering rains that left the facility unusable.
A naval base at Rajali, about 60 km from Chennai, was used as a makeshift airport for civilian flights after severe torrential rain forced the closure of the Chennai airport earlier this week.
The AAI had declared the runway fit for operating technical ferry and relief flights after an inspection by its staff. A decision regarding full-fledged operations will soon be taken by the aviation regulator, DGCA.
Four ferry flights that were parked at Chennai Airport departed for Delhi, Mumbai and Port Blair on Saturday while one cargo flight Singcargo B747 departed for Singapore via Bangalore.
On an average, Chennai airport handles 320 landings and departures every day. As many as 20 international airlines operate from the airport, apart from most of the domestic carriers.