Chaos prevails at Chandigarh Airport as airlines arbitrarily cancel 9 flights
Hundreds of passengers harried as airlines cancel flights amid security concerns due to Indo-Pak tension.Updated: Feb 28, 2019 00:02 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chaos and confusion ruled the day at the Chandigarh International Airport after various airlines cancelled nine flights as a precautionary measure amid the border tension between India and Pakistan.
While nine flights were cancelled amid security concerns, one 8:30am flight did not take off due to bad weather at Kullu.
Airport chief executive officer (CEO) Suneel Dutt said cancellation of flights was the airlines’ own decision since the airport was not officially shut down. “Operations will remain normal on Thursday,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had issued NOTAM (notice to airmen) that there will be no commercial flights’ movement in border airports of Amritsar, Pathankot, Srinagar, Jammu, Shimla, Dharamshala, Kullu and Leh. Though there was no flight from Chandigarh to these airports, the notice did not include closure of the Chandigarh airport.
Yet, sources said, rumours of shutdown of even Chandigarh airport and security concerns in the region prompted airlines to cancel some flights after noon, leaving hundreds of passengers harried.
As the day began, IndiGo and GoAir’s two Chandigarh-Srinagar flights returned to Chandigarh as Srinagar airspace was closed.
Later in the afternoon, IndiGo announced cancellation of all its four flights scheduled after 2pm, including those to Dubai, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. This was followed by cancellation of three flights by Jet Airways on the Mumbai, Lucknow and Delhi routes.
PASSENGERS SCRAMBLE FOR RESCHEDULING
As airlines announced flight cancellations, a bevy of passengers scrambled to reschedule their flights or seek refunds, even as several, including actor Jimmy Shergill, were stranded.
Danish Mushtaq, a business from Srinagar, said though he rescheduled his flight for Thursday, the IndiGo staff was not sure whether the flight will operate.
Gurdeep Singh from Nawanshahr, who was waiting to catch a Mumbai flight in the afternoon, said he had missed his appointment at the US embassy on Thursday morning due to the cancellation. “It will be arduous to rework the appointment,” he added.
Several passengers got their flights rescheduled from Delhi for odd hours and the left airport in a rush, while others complained about delay in intimation of cancellations.
Siddarth Kumar, who had to fly to Mumbai, said he got a cancellationmessage when he reached the airport, leaving him no scope to chose other options.
FLIGHTS ON SCHEDULE TODAY
Airport spokesperson Deepesh Joshi said all flights will leave as per schedule on Thursday.
Two Jet Airways flights have been suspended till March 30, one between Chandigarh and Pune at 2.40pm, and another between Chandigarh and Delhi at 5.30pm. But this was purely due to operational reasons, he said, adding that there was no intimation of cancellationsby other airlines operating here.
First Published: Feb 28, 2019 00:01 IST