The downpour that lashed Delhi on Thursday flooded Terminal 3 of the Delhi Airport, exposing the inability of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) in dealing with seasonal rains. The afternoon deluge and the resultant chaos ended up delaying 50 flights. While four flights were asked to go-around, a Jet airways flight from Jodhpur was diverted to Jaipur.
Built at a cost of Rs9,000crore, Delhi airport’s Terminal 3 (T3) was once again in the news for the wrong reasons, as rainwater made its way into the arrivals hall of T3, severely affecting passenger movement.
“I cannot believe that I was at an airport of ‘international standards’. There was ankle-deep water and airport developers did not have any contingency plans,” said Sharad Sethi, a passenger.
Though the conveyor belt and other facilities were working, lifts and escalators had to be shut, due to which passengers had to walk long distances.
Met department officials said it was a rare scenario, with the Delhi airport receiving 117mm rainfall in one hour. The Met called the weather phenomenon a “cloudburst”.
“Delhi airport witnessed a cloudburst between 2.35pm and 3.35pm, reaching upto 117mm (11.7cm). It is an unusually intense spell for the Delhi airport. It’s something not witnessed in the last 100 years,” said RK Jenamani, director of the airport Met department."Due to the cloudburst, drains adjoining the arrivals hall of Terminal 3 filled to capacity and overflowed. This led to the excess water spilling into the domestic arrivals area of T3," a DIAL spokesperson said.
Rainwater entered the arrivals hall of Terminal 1, from where domestic flights operate. As a result, incoming domestic passengers and baggage were diverted to T3’s international area. “DIAL’s engineering team is at work in T3. We hope to restore normal operations shortly. The runways are fully operational and all flights are landing and taking off normally, subject to weather-related delays,” the spokesperson added.
The rainfall also led to the closure of a new approach road connecting Terminal 1 to Terminal 3, forcing passengers to take alternative routes. “Passengers were advised to take NH-8,” said a traffic police officer.
An Air India official said, “The crew members arrived late. We had to delay several flights. Some passengers who reached late were accommodated in another flight.” However, DIAL claimed that no flights were delayed or baggage misplaced due to this diversion.