Bagdogra Airport Shut For Over 7 Hrs As Cracks Appear On Runway

The crack on the runway was detected at 9.42 am and flights were suspended immediately. The flights bound for Bagdogra that were en route, had to be diverted or turned back.
Bagdogra Airport Shut For Over 7 Hrs As Cracks Appear On Runway

Bagdogra Airport | File

The Bagdogra International Airport was closed for seven-and-a-half hours on Tuesday after cracks appeared on the runway, forcing seven flights to be diverted to Kolkata and three flights, both to and from the airport, to be cancelled.

The incident took place ahead of the airport’s scheduled shutdown from April 11 to April 22 for repair works. The runway and ATC service of the airport are managed by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The crack on the runway was detected at 9.42 am and flights were suspended immediately. The flights bound for Bagdogra that were en route, had to be diverted or turned back, while those that were yet to take off from various airports, were instructed against it.

The incident left around 7,000 passengers stranded as emergency repairs were undertaken. Passengers who were on flights bound for Bagdogra had to be diverted to other airports including Kolkata where they had to wait for several hours. The airport was declared operational again at 5.15 pm.

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A total of 26 flights were scheduled to land in Bagdogra on Tuesday. Airport director P Subramani said, “We are trying to ensure that most of the fights operate so that passengers are not inconvenienced.”

Several passengers however took to Twitter to vent their frustration over the incident and alleged that their respective airlines had not informed beforehand about the diversion and stated that they were left stranded at the Kolkata airport.

Notably, the airport had announced a closure in the month of April to carry out final stage of repair works in the middle portion of the runway. Director Subramani said, “The runway repair work was being done at night for the past two years. Work had started from either end and has now reached the middle section, for which a shutdown is needed.”

“The final top layer of the runway will be laid. That will take around two weeks. A notice to airmen has been issued about the closure. Tuesday's closure was unscheduled. We are confident there will be normal scheduled operations from Wednesday,” he added.

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