Domestic air services to several parts of India bore the brunt of the shutdown called by the opposition on Monday, leading to cancellations of 96 scheduled services. One international flight also had to be cancelled, airport officials said.
"In view of no-show by passengers, many private airlines also resorted to cancellations. Some of them also clubbed their flights when the shutdown started," the officials said, adding the cancellations and rescheduling had a spiralling effect on onward services.
International operations, by and large, were smooth since a majority of the incoming or outgoing flights were scheduled for the early hours of the day, when the shutdown was yet to make a major impact, the officials added.
According to information available with airport authorities, Kingfisher cancelled at least 26 flights, Jet Airways 17, Jetlite 13, Indian Airlines 18, IndiGo nine, GoAir seven and Spicejet two.
"We are yet to get information on some of the short-distance scheduled perations between the smaller cities."
Kingfisher, for example, attempted to salvage the situation by combining several of its flights with other services. The other carriers also resorted to a similar strategy to accommodate stranded passengers.
Officials at the airports said that a majority of the cancellations were from opposition-rules states. The Kolkata International Airport in the Left-ruled West Bengal remained completely closed, save a few flights that operated in the morning.
Even the usually bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, among the busiest in the country, also wore a near-deserted look as pre-paid and metered taxis and autorickshaws remained off the roads.
The airport authorities at the Mumbai airport arranged for some 20 busses to be deployed by the state government from the domestic terminal and six more from the international terminal to ferry passengers to various destinations in the city.
But passengers in Bangalore, for example were not that lucky, as some 1,200 of them who had landed by 15 flights since morning had to cool their at the airport, about 40 km from the city point, with no taxis and or buses to hail.
"We are caught unawares. We thought we will be able to reach the city by Volvo bus. But that is not to be. After waiting four hours, I have called my friend to pick me up," said Bharat Kumar, a sales representative with a private firm.