New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) The Central government expects to make the Bhubaneswar airport operational by 1 p.m. on Saturday, as the state remains cut off from rail and road channels in the wake of cyclonic storm Fani which made landfall earlier in the day in Odisha.
According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, damage assessment was carried out at the airport and required repair work is being conducted expeditiously.
“Based on the feedback and action taken it was decided that Bhubaneswar (airport) will resume commercial flight operation from 1 pm on May 4,” a ministry statement said late on Friday night.
As per the statement, after the gradual withdrawal of cyclone Fani from Bhubaneswar, a damage assessment was carried out by Airports Authority of India team.
The team reported damage to the passenger terminal building and ATC tower. However, repair works and alternative arrangements are being made.
In New Delhi, a senior ministry official said: “We will work during the night hours also to restore the damage and make airport functional by Saturday. The air-connectivity has to start as soon as possible as road and railway will take time.”
The official further said that AAI will move communication system and other equipments to Bhubaneswar airport.
The Bhubaneswar airport handles a total of 40-flight movements per day.
In order to minimise the damage at Kolkata, the airport in the city is likely to remain closed for flight operations on Saturday. The airport handles a total of 440 flight movements per day.
Earlier in the day, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu directed Ministry officials to continuously monitor the situation arising in the wake of cyclonic storm.
In a tweet, Prabhu said that aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will be issuing revised advisories to airlines as and when necessary.
“Directed Secretary @MoCA to continuously monitor the situation. DGCA will be issuing revised advisories to Airlines as and when necessary. Taking all possible steps for passenger safety and to minimize their inconvenience. #CycloneFaniUpdates #CycloneFani,” Prabhu tweeted.
The DGCA revised the closure time for the Kolkata airport due to extremely severe cyclonic storm.
In line with the DGCA directive, the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata shut operations starting 3.00 p.m on Friday till 8.00 a.m on Saturday.
On Thursday, the DGCA had issued an advance order to cancel all flights to and from Kolkata between 9.30 p.m on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday to ensure safety of operations.
Fani, with wind speed touching nearly 200 kmph, made landfall earlier on Friday on the eastern coast in Odisha. It will cross several districts in the state before advancing to West Bengal.