Chennai airport is geared to accommodate civilian aircraft that may be diverted due to any possible LTTE air raids in Colombo, agency news reports said yesterday (1).
Air Traffic Control (ATC) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials, who control ground operations, are on high alert to handle flight diversions, takeoffs and landings, and flight parking if Colombo airport is suddenly closed, a news story published by Newindpress.com said.
`Priority will be accorded to such flights. Parking bays will be arranged and the local officials of the airline companies will be alerted to take care of passengers,` Dinesh Kumar, Airport Director quoted as saying by the news story filed from Chennai.
Aircraft would be allotted aerobridges close to the terminal for quick transfers. Chennai airport can handle more aircraft, and the city has enough hotels for passengers if the crisis becomes protracted. In any case, Chennai coordinates ATC operations in south India.
For officials, it is no different from other crises. `We often have flights returning because of bad weather,` he said.
On Sunday, Air Sahara`s Chennai- Colombo flight was a few miles from its destination when the pilot was alerted to the crisis and told to hover for 30 minutes. He returned due to the uncertainty. When the LTTE air crafts attacked Katunayake Air Base recently, it was closed for four hours and Chennai airport handled the landings, with some flights diverted to Thiruvananthapuram.