New Delhi: Technical flights have started from rain-hit Chennai airport where operations were suspended on Wednesday following flooding but it may take 2-3 days to resume commercial flights, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said on Saturday.
Airports Authority of India, which runs the Chennai airport, said that restoration of airport systems, communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS) equipment, IT systems, Met equipment is in progress to resume IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) operations for all flights.
IFR is one of the two sets of regulations governing all aspects of civil aviation aircraft operations.
"We started technical flights from Chennai airport. But we are unable to resume commercial flights as the basement of the airport is still waterlogged and power supply of the terminal building has not been restored completely.
"It might take at least 2-3 days to clear the airport for operations," Sharma, who is the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said.
He said four commercial flights operated from the Rajali Naval air station. Two flights of Indigo and one each of Spicejet and Trujet evacuated 319 people from there.
Today, four ferry flights that were parked at Chennai airport departed for Delhi, Mumbai and Port Blair. One cargo flight Singcargo B747 also departed for Singapore via Bangalore.
A total 34 aircraft of various airlines were stranded at the airport due to flooding caused by torrential rains.
Chennai airport had suspended flights till Sunday in the wake of floods. It was yesterday declared fit for operating technical ferry and relief flights.
Following inspection of runway and other areas, the aerodrome was declared available for limited day time operations, under visual meteorological conditions for technical ferry and relief flight from Chennai airport, and subsequently upgrade to all weather operations as and when facilities are restored, an AAI statement had said.
At 1705 hrs yesterday, Chennai airport was made available for day, VFR (Visual Flight Rules) operations for technical, ferry and relief flights, it said adding the runways and the taxiways are clear of water.
VFR are a set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going.
On December 2, AAI had announced that the airport would be shut till December 6 after heavy rains caused flooding of the runway and nearby operational areas.
"Chennai Aerodrome has been closed up to 12 noon of the December 6, 2015. The situation is being closely monitored and any further action will be taken subject to review for resumption of services as soon as possible," the AAI had said on December 2.
On an average, Chennai airport handles 320 landings and departures. As many as 20 international airlines operates from the airport apart from most of the domestic carriers.