Hyderabad: Even as domestic air services resumed nationwide, chaos and frustration ruled at the Shamshabad airport here due to several cancellations. According to the RGIA website, seven arriving and 31 departing flights were cancelled on Monday.
This was largely to hard-nosed negotiations earlier on Sunday night between the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and the government of Telangana with the state reportedly insisting it was not in a position to handle more than 20 arrivals and 19 departures a day for now.
As per the original schedule, at least double this number of flights were to operate every day from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Shamshabad.
The last-minute change of plans resulted in several airlines contacting their passengers and informing them of cancelled flights.
Every arrival and departing flight gets a slot at an airport and this requires coordination between different agencies and the airlines. This work went on well into the night to rearrange the flight schedules, it was learnt.
Among the many passengers whose travel plans were thrown awry was Anita Dalal, a passenger scheduled to travel from Kolhapur to Mumbai via Hyderabad on Monday. She was stuck in the chaos after her confirmed Indigo flight was cancelled at the last minute.
“I received a message at 1 am on May 25 that my flight scheduled at 2 pm was cancelled due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. I have been stranded in Kolhapur since the lockdown began two months ago. There have been no other means of transport in Maharashtra, so I finally booked a connecting flight to Mumbai via Hyderabad and it got cancelled too,” she said.
She said officials had provided no clarification yet. “As for the refund, I have been told that money in the form of a credit shell available for other flight options for a year will be given. Who is going to travel in these conditions now? I don’t want to waste that money. I’d rather get that money back, so I can try to hire a car to travel home now,” she said.
At Hyderabad, flights from Delhi, Bengaluru, Bahrain, and Colombo were cancelled. Thirty-one flights to Delhi, Gwalior, Tirupati, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolhapur, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Jaipur, and Bengaluru among others were canceled, according to the RGIA official website.
On Monday, RGIA operated flights from or to Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Vidyanagar (Karnataka), Jaipur, Raipur, Kolhapur, Jharsuguda (Odisha); Kochi, Surat, Ranchi, Varanasi, Belgaum, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Pune. The flights connecting these destinations were to be operated by TruJet, AirAsia India, IndiGo, Alliance Air, SpiceJet, Vistara and Air India.