Rediff.com
Print this article

Cyclone Fani: No flights at Bhubaneswar airport on Friday

May 02, 2019 22:14 IST

Further, no flight will depart or arrive at the Kolkata airport between 9.30 pm of May 3 and 6 pm of May 4.

Flights to and from the Bhubaneswar airport have been cancelled for May 3 as 'extremely severe' cyclonic storm Fani heads towards Odisha and the east coast, even as Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday requested airlines to offer assistance in rescue and relief operations.

The cyclone is expected to hit the Odisha coast on Friday.

 

Other states on the eastern coast, such as West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, are also expected to be affected by the storm.

Flights from Bhubaneswar airport stand "cancelled" on May 3 and no flight will depart or arrive at the Kolkata airport between 9.30 pm of May 3 and 6 pm of May 4, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in an advisory on Thursday evening.

The aviation regulator said that "resumption of flights" at Bhubaneswar and Kolkata airports "will be with positive clearance from their respective air traffic control".

The civil aviation minister said all authorities concerned have been alerted to be ready to deal with cyclone Fani and the situation will be monitored at the highest level.

"Alerted all concerned to be ready to deal with Cyclone Fani.

“Airports Authority of India issued alert to all coastal airports to ensure all precautions, SOPs (standard operating procedures) put in place immediately," Prabhu tweeted.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) owns and manages over 100 airports across the country.

The situation will be monitored at the highest level and "airlines and all others (are) to be fully ready," Prabhu said.

Exhorting the aviation sector to rise to the occasion, he tweeted, "All airlines are requested to offer all assistance for rescue and relief operations in view of cyclone Fani.

“All relief material should be airlifted to be delivered to officially designated agencies."

Prabhu said that a "control room is being set up".

The operations of various domestic airlines have been affected due to the oncoming cyclone.

Budget carrier IndiGo issued a travel advisory on Twitter, saying, "Due to Cyclone Fani, flights to and from Visakhapatnam have been cancelled for today (May 2, 2019)."

The airline said its flights to and from Bhubaneswar were "disrupted" on Thursday and that all flights to and from the Odisha city have been cancelled for Friday.

The low-cost carrier, which has around 44 per cent of the domestic passenger market share, advised affected passengers to go to one of its website links "to opt for alternate options or get a refund".

Vistara airline also issued a travel update on the micro-blogging site.

It said as Fani is likely to impact Bhubaneswar and Kolkata on May 2 and May 3, it is waiving "change and cancellation fee" for flights that will depart or arrive from these two cities between May 2 and May 5.

"Fare difference if any, will be applicable for date changes," the full-service carrier said.

In a statement, GoAir said it "is waiving cancellation and change fees for Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Ranchi flights for travel between May 2 and May 5".

"Passengers are allowed to re-book their flights within 7 days of scheduled departure," the airline said.

Vistara and GoAir have around four per cent and nine per cent of domestic passenger market share, respectively.

Air India announced on Twitter that no penalties for "re-issuance, date change, no-show, cancellation and refund" would be charged if a passenger is travelling to and from Bhubaneswar and Vishakhapatnam between May 3 and May 5.

Fani is the most severe cyclonic storm since the super cyclone of 1999 that claimed close to 10,000 lives and left a trail of destruction in vast swathes of Odisha, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JWTC).

India Meteorological Department (IMD) sources said it is also the first cyclonic storm of such severity to have formed in April in India's oceanic neighbourhood in 43 years.

Fani lays centred over west-central Bay of Bengal, about 430 km south-southwest of Puri in Odisha, 225 km south-southeast of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and 650 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal, according to the latest bulletin of the IMD.

Photograph: PTI Photo

© Copyright 2019 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.