Heavy rains halt operations at airport, many flights affected

Mumbai:Flight operations at the Mumbai airport were suspended for nearly half an hour as visibility dropped well below the required 550 meter-mark following heavy rains and lightning that lashed the metropolis this evening.

Around 20 flights were affected with seven of them being diverted to Hyderabad, Vadodara and Ahemedabad airports and the rest forced to ‘go-around’ (abort landing on final approach) when the only runway was closed in the evening, airport sources said.

The airport handles around 930 arrivals and departures a day, with 42 movements per hour on an average.

“The visibility dropped to 250 meters at around 1849 hrs (6:49 pm), forcing the airport authorities to shut operations.

It could only be resumed at 1916 hrs (7:16 pm) after the visibility improved,” the source said.

Heavy rains coupled with thunder and lightning lashed the metropolis this afternoon, slowing down movement of vehicular traffic and suburban trains.

The city is fearing a repeat of the massive floods last month that brought the megapolis to a grinding halt as most part of the island city, home to around 20 million residents, went under floodwaters and slush.