Freak duststorm hits flights
The Air Traffic Control blamed “high velocity winds” for the situation. A sudden squall of blustery winds and light rain lashed the city, bringing down the mercury, reports Vijaita Singh.Updated: May 06, 2008, 01:52 IST
A second squall in two days threw nine flights into Delhi off-course, and delayed 24 others by between two and five hours on Monday evening. The backlog stretched late into the night, though airport sources said international flights were not hit.
Passengers bound for Delhi found their flights diverted to Lucknow and Jaipur, where many were stuck at the time of going to press. Bad weather had forced four flight diversions on Sunday evening as well.
The Air Traffic Control blamed “high velocity winds” for the situation. A sudden squall of blustery winds and light rain lashed the city around 7.30 pm, bringing down the mercury by around seven degrees.
For passengers stuck in transit, however, there was no relief.
Fliers complained airlines provided scarce information as they spent hours waiting for their flights. The lounges spilled over, there was no place to sit even on the floor, and the toilets began to stink under the load of literally thousands of users.
“There was this mad rush. People were sitting on the floor and on the staircases, and so many others were standing,” said Dilip Pasricha of Vasant Kunj, who was waiting to board a flight to Mumbai.
Advertising professional Sushant Mishra said he had been waiting for his Jetlite flight to Bhubaneswar practically all day. “It was supposed to leave in the morning. It’s evening now, and I still haven’t heard anything from officials. Now they say the weather is bad,” he said.
A senior airport official said: “There was congestion in the air following bad weather. The backlog continued till late in the evening. Flights started landing from 10 pm onwards.