Amphan damages aircraft and two hangars
Structures that collapsed were unauthorised: Airport director
At least two hangars of Air India at the Calcutta airport collapsed, one plane was smashed and portions of the terminal’s roof were blown away during Wednesday’s storm.
Airport officials said hangars 16 and 17 collapsed because of the cyclone and a four-seater Cessna aircraft, which was parked in hangar 16, was damaged after the structure crashed on it.
A 42 seater ATR- 42, which was parked inside hangar 17, was brought out by the airline authorities and parked outside, just as many Calcutta’s were taking out their cars from flooded garages.
“That was the reason why the aircraft did not suffer any damage even though hangar 17 had collapsed,” an airport official said.
However, the nose of the aircraft turned 180 degrees because of the strong winds, the official said.
“The two hangars that collapsed were more than 50 years old and owned by Air India. We had asked them to remove the hangars several times because those were unauthorised constructions but they have not done so,” said airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya.
“The aircraft that got damaged was parked by a private aviation company. For the last two years we have been asking the company in vain to remove the aircraft.”
Air India officials could not be reached. Phones of at least two officials were unavailable through the day.
Bigger aircraft are parked on the tarmac in the open. Officials said that earlier 52 aircraft used to be parked at the airport overnight. Now, the count has come down to 42 because of the lockdown.
In several parts of the terminal, roof made of corrugated sheets was blown away.
Officials said the roof had three layers of corrugated sheet and insulation. As the top layer was removed, there was a huge amount of water seepage, flooding parts of the terminal.
“The roof will be repaired quickly,” said the airport director.
Portions of the airport’s tarmac were flooded. “The main inundation was on the Kaikhali side. We were trying to pump the water out but were unable to do so because the adjoining areas were waterlogged,” the airport director said.
The airport was closed till 5am on Thursday. An official said the airport finally became operational at noon with the take-off of a Spice jet flight to Delhi.
A flight from Russia had arrived at 2.30 on Thursday to evacuate 103 Russian nationals who were stuck because of the lockdown.
According to airport sources there was a delay in starting flight operations because several branches of trees had fallen on the tarmac and portions of the runaway, which needed to be cleaned.