The Indira Gandhi International airport plunged into darkness on Friday evening due to a power grid failure. There was chaos at the international and domestic terminals; conveyor belts stopped working; and, most dangerously, aircraft about to land had to make a go-around as the runway lights went out too. To add insult to injury, sewage was leaking from choked toilets.
A grid failure happened at 8 pm. In 15 minutes, the power failed thrice and though the airport has backup generators, the continuous switch off and on affected operations.
Passengers had a harrowing time. According to highly placed sources, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, travelling in a Chennai-bound Kingfisher flight, was also among those stuck in the chaos.
"There were long queues for checking in. Despite requests from airport officials to use the VIP area, Chidambaram insisted on going through the normal channel," the source said. "He was visibly unhappy and lambasted airport officials for the chaos," he said.
An air traffic control official said that runway lights going off is very dangerous and could have led to a mishap. "Landing in such conditions is like driving on a completely dark road. Two domestic aircraft had to make a go-around when they were about to land," he said.