Mumbai rains: Mumbai airport’s main runway opens, flights resume


New Delhi/Mumbai: A day after incessant rains pounded Mumbai and its suburbs, India’s financial capital limped back to normalcy on Thursday. Flights and rail services resumed even as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast that occasional spells of rain, thundershowers were likely to occur.

On Wednesday, rains caused massive disruption in flight operations, delaying suburban train services and forcing a large number of people to stay indoors. At least five people were killed in rain- related incidents in Palghar district.

The rains affected air services as 108 flights were cancelled and suburban train services were delayed by about 15-20 minutes. Schools and colleges in Mumbai Metropolitan Region were instructed to remain closed in view of heavy rains.

Here are the latest updates and developments from Mumbai which is expected to receive more rainfall on Wednesday:

■ Aircraft movements at the main runway of the Mumbai airport was restored last night after the airport operator removed the SpiceJet aircraft which had skidded after landing amid heavy rains on Tuesday.

The operations at runway 09/27 resumed at around 11.30pm after SpiceJet Boeing 737 was moved to the paved area and subsequently to a hanger, a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) official said.

In an exercise, which lasted for almost 24 hours, undertaken by the joint engineering team of national carrier Air India and the MIAL, the aircraft was removed from the runway at around 9.30pm on Wednesday night.

Nearly 180 flights were cancelled during the main runway closure period, which lasted for over 25 hours.

■ Minister of state for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had earlier tweeted, “#AI team assisting #RescueOperation in removal of #SpiceJet acft from #BOM runway, the only airline in India to offer this type of facility.”

■ Mumbai airport, the second busiest in India, has two crossing runways—09/27 (the main) and 14/32 (the secondary runway).

While the primary runway can handle up to 48 arrivals and departures per hour, the secondary runway has a capacity of 35 movements per hour. Overall, there are 930 flight arrivals and departures at the Mumbai airport every day.

■ ANI reports that “Occasional spells of rain/thundershowers likely to occur. Heavy rainfall at one-two places: Forecast by IMD #MumbaiRains.”

■ In Palghar five persons, drowned in nullahs and rivers in separate incidents, a senior district administration officer said, but did not elaborate.

The deceased have been identified as Sandeep Jadhav (42), Rajesh Bhosle (32) Aksah Rai (22), Sandeep Tandel (56) and Rabiulla Aliraja Shah (16), he said, adding Rs four lakh assistance will be provided to their kin.

In Dahanu at least 50 houses were damaged due to the rains and the occupants were shifted to different camps.

■ Over 180 flights at the Mumbai airport have been cancelled since last night due to heavy rains and closure of the main runway after a SpiceJet aircraft skidded off the runway and got stuck in mud, blocking it. The aircraft has still not been removed from there and operations on the main runway remain suspended. According to airport sources, NOTAM (notice to airmen) has been extended till 6 am tomorrow, which means flights will continue to operate from the secondary runway, which has limited aircraft handling capacity. (PTI)

■ The Mumbai local train system, which caters to about seven million passengers every day, was also in a mess, with trains running late. Traffic on the low lying harbour line was suspended for a brief period early today but resumed. Fewer people were seen travelling by trains today as they preferred to remain indoors following the forecast about the downpour. (PTI)

■ An IMD official said that the Santacruz observatory recorded 225.3 mm rain from 8.30 am to 11.30pm last night. Anything about 204.5 mm is categorised as “extremely heavy rain”, he said. The India Meteorological Department (IMD), which had yesterday evening forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall in parts of Mumbai region for Wednesday, in its forecast issued this afternoon, said the city would receive intermittent rains. It said there would be heavy rainfall at a couple of places in the city.

■ ANI reports 63 Jet Airways, 8 IndiGo and 3 SpiceJet and 1 GoAir flights cancelled due to bad weather at Mumbai airport.

■ Jet Airways has issued the following advisory:

“In lieu of the main runway not being available at Mumbai airport till 1830 hours on Sep 20, 2017 the following flights have been cancelled.

We continue to closely monitor the situation in Mumbai. Guests are advised to check flight status before leaving for the airport.

We will allow guests the convenience to amend their travel plans as required, with a waiver on penalties for date/flight change, refund and no shows. Guests may choose to re-book themselves on to alternate flights (with an allowance of one date / time change without any penalty) by contacting our Contact Centre or their travel agent(s).

The waiver is applicable on all confirmed tickets issued for travel on Sep 20 and 21, 2017 for flights into and out of India.”

■ Traffic smooth at Kandivali, Borivali, Eastern Freeway, Kalanagar Bridge, Sakinaka, Haji Ali, Tardeo Peddar Road and Girgaum, Mumbai police tweets.

Earlier, slight water logging was reported at Andheri subway, but traffic is normal at D. N. Nagar. No water logging or traffic diversions reported in Worli including smooth traffic on Sea Link.

No water logging & traffic normal at BKC, Dahisar,Dadar,Parel,Matunga & Tardeo.

■ The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) today issued an appeal requesting people not to “spread and trust” rumours of a cyclone warning. Heavy rains since last night continued today, throwing normal life out of gear in the city and its suburbs, and affecting road and suburban rail services. As rains threatened to paralyse the city, panic messages on a cyclone today went viral on social media and messaging apps.

■ In a bid to stem the panic, the BMC’s Disaster Management Cell issued a tweet, clarifying that no such warning had been issued by the weather department.

“As informed by IMD there is no cyclone warning for Mumbai. Citizens r requested not to spread & trust rumour,” the Cell tweeted.

“In last 1 hr light rain recorded in Mumbai City & Western Suburbs. Moderate rain in Eastern Suburb. Trains & Road traffic normal,” it said in another tweet.

■ According to the BMC, the city today recorded 11.63 mm of rainfall from 8 am to 1pm. The eastern suburb recorded 27.38 mm of rains while the western suburb received 11.68 mm rainfall in the period, it added.

■ The BMC said water logging was reported at several places, including Hindmata, Sion, Veera Desai Road, Air India Colony, Milan Subway, Andheri Subway, Bandra, Dahisar, Chembur and Mankhurd. Pumping machines have been pressed into services in these areas, the corporation said.

■ Incidents of tree and branches falling were reported in 168 places. Besides, there were 21 short-circuits and five cases of wall collapse.

■ More than 50 flights cancelled due to main runway closure at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, ANI reports. Operations going slow on Runway 14 at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport; NOTAM taken up to 1800 hrs, it adds.

■ Mumbai police have issued following updates regarding traffic situation.

— Traffic is currently by and large normal except traffic diversion at Aarey Colony Bridge to Road no. 3 & through linking road 4 SV Road.

— Worli Sea Link, Pedder road, Sion Bridge are open with smooth traffic movement.

— South bound traffic on SV Rd diverted to P.D. Hinduja Rd & North Bound to linking road at Turner road junction Bandra west.

— Khar subway has now been opened for traffic.

— Water logging in Bandra at Railway colony on S V Road. Diversion towards linking road of both directions.

■ The Mumbai Police have also issued high tide warning warned of a high tide at 12.03pm and a low tide at 6.04pm today. Fishermen have been warned against venturing into the deep sea, an IMD official said.

■ From 8.30am on Tuesday to 5.30am on Wednesday, the Colaba observatory recorded 210mm rain, while the Santacruz observatory recorded 303.7mm rain in the period, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

■ Flight operations at the Mumbai airport were affected due to heavy rains and low visibility. The skidding of a SpiceJet aircraft on the main runway (09/27) on Tuesday night compounded the problem further as it forced the private airport operator to shift operations to the secondary runway, which can carry out limited operations. The SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft carrying 183 people overshot a wet runway while landing at the airport in rain-hit Mumbai and got stuck in the mud, officials said yesterday, adding that all passengers were safely evacuated.

■ As many as 56 flights were diverted to different airports till this morning as the main runway continued to be out of use due to the SpiceJet aircraft stuck there, an airport official said.

■ The main runway at the Mumbai airport is unlikely to be functional before this evening as the SpiceJet aircraft remained stuck on it.

■ The Mumbai airport operator has been given NOTAM (notice to airmen) for the main runway till 2pm, which means the flight operations cannot be carried out on it till that time, a senior official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said today.

The clearing of the main runway may take a longer time than expected and the operations there are unlikely to resume before evening, the official said.

■ Following the downpour, several airlines issued travel advisories to passengers. The Mumbai airport, the country’s second busiest airport, handles 930 flights per day with an average of 48 movements per hour.

Mumbai rains: Jet Airways, Vistara, GoAir waive airfare penalties

■ Suburban train services were running late by 10 to 15 minutes, an official said. The trains witnessed lesser crowd today as many people proffered to remain indoors due to the heavy rain forecast.

■ According to Mumbai Police, the Harbour Line train services came to a halt for a brief period in the early hours today but later resumed. Central Railway’s chief spokesperson Sunil Udasi said a few short-destination local trains had to be cancelled yesterday night to streamline the services.

“Since 10 pm yesterday, our services on the main and the harbour lines are running at regular intervals with lesser frequency and restricted speed in water-logging prone areas. Our field staff and supervisors have been deployed to keep a tab on the water level,” Udasi said.

■ Senior railway officers were keeping a watch on the situation and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel were roped-in to manage any crowds at the stations, he said.

■ The trains on the Western Line were also running late by 10 to 15 minutes, according to an official of the Western Railway (WR). The long distance trains which were regulated and stranded at various locations due to heavy water-logging at Nallasopara, Virar have been cleared, WR said in a statement.

■ Some intercity trains like Manmad-Mumbai Express, Gujarat Express, Saurashtra Express, Bandra-Terminus Surat Intercity Express and Mumbai Central-Ahmadabad Shatabdi Express have been cancelled, as per the officials of the Central Railway and the Western Railway.

■ Vehicles were moving, though a bit slowly, on the city’s two major roads – the Eastern Express Highway and the Western Express Highway, the BMC official said.

■ Buses were running normal and there were no diversions in the routes, Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) spokesperson Hanumant Gofane said.

■ The ‘dabbawalas’ of Mumbai today cancelled their delivery of over two lakh tiffins to office-goers in the city in view of the disruption of suburban rail services after heavy rains. The tiffin delivery men use suburban trains to ensure lunch boxes reach their destination on time.

Mumbai rains: airport operations hit, ‘dabbawalas’ cancel deliveries

■ An IMD official said that the Santacruz observatory recorded 225.3 mm rain from 8.30 am to 11.30 pm last night. This quantity falls under the weather category of ‘extremely heavy rain’ (204.5 mm and above), he said.

The observatory recorded over 100 mm in just three hours (5.30-8.30pm), the official added. Mumbai recorded its second highest September rain in a span of 12 hours yesterday, BMC officials said.

■ The rainfall recorded at BMC’s automatic weather stations between 8am and 10pm included Nariman Point (88mm), Worli (110mm), Chembur (112mm), Mulund (94mm), Andheri (208mm), Bandra (128mm) and Borivli (204mm). The MeT department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall till tomorrow. All the agencies concerned have been put on high alert to deal with any eventuality.