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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Seaside view at Delhi airport: Heavy rain grounds flights

NEW DELHI: The videos doing the rounds on Saturday of a flooded concourse did not surprise people. The strong morning rains had left them expecting such inundation. What astounded them, however, was realising that the scenes were of the forecourt at Terminal 3 and the airside at Indira Gandhi International Airport. Flight operations were also impacted, with five diversions and three cancellations due to the bad weather. Over 100 flights were delayed.
In the first video that went viral on social media, presumably recorded by a passenger, the lanes on the forecourt of T3 are seen submerged in rainwater and passengers trying to protect themselves by standing on elevated portions of the area. In the second video, aircraft are seen parked amid knee-deep water. Another clip shows Aerocity similarly deluged.
In response to the unflattering video clips, Delhi International Airport Ltd tweeted, “Due to sudden heavy rain for a short period, there was waterlogging at the forecourt. Our team was immediately assigned to look into it and the issue has been resolved.”
When contacted by TOI, a DIAL spokesperson later said, “Delhi has been experiencing record-breaking rains since last evening. This morning, due to a sudden and extremely strong downpour, the forecourt of Terminal 3 saw some waterlogging. The primary reason for rainwater moving towards Terminal 3 is the steep gradient of about 17 metres between NH8 and Terminal 3. Due to this slope, the entire portion between NH8 and Terminal 3 acts as a catchment area and channels the water towards the terminal.” The spokesperson claimed the water eventually flowed in the underground drainage system from T3 to the Najafgarh drain.
The spokesperson added, “This section of the drainage system requires widening. DIAL has been working on this issue with state and central government bodies for the past few years. Several discussions have already taken place. We hope the drainage system will be widened soon.”
An airport official also confirmed that flight operations were impacted, with the intense precipitation and gusty winds causing five flights to be diverted to nearby airports. However, the official said conditions improved after 9am. The waterlogging in the forecourt too had cleared by that time.
“Three flights, all IndiGo craft flying to Indore, Lucknow and Hyderabad, were cancelled,” the official revealed. “Four flights were diverted to Jaipur and to Ahmedabad airport. All the diversions occurred between 8.15am and 9am, when the conditions were particularly bad.”

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