Flight services at Bagdogra Airport near Siliguri in northern part of West Bengal were suspended for several hours on Tuesday morning after cracks on the runway came to the notice of the airport staff.
Airport sources confirmed that this is the third time that cracks were witnessed on the runway of the said airport during the last 30 days. An airport official said on condition of anonymity that the crack was witnessed on Thursday morning during routine inspection following which flight services to and from the airport was postponed for about seven hours. “The cracks happened probably because of the night-long rains last night, he said.
It is learnt that since Thursday morning five flights from the airport were cancelled. Since this morning just one flight landed at the airport. The flights supposed to land there were either diverted to Kolkata or Guwahati or Delhi. The last two times when the field staff of Bagdogra airport located cracks at Bagdogra airport were on March 15 and March 23, 2022. The passengers who were supposed to catch the flights from Bagdogra Airport got stuck there for hours.
Bagdogra Airport’s runway and the air traffic control are managed by the Indian Air Force (IAF). Recently, IAF has shot a letter to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) stating that the runway of the said airport will be completely closed for 14 days from April 11 to April 25 for the purpose of resurfacing the final layers of its flexible portion.
Indranil Ghosh, director of a reputed tea plantation, who has to fly to Bagdogra frequently for professional reasons, told IANS that frequent cracks on the runway is not the only problem with this airport. “The capacity of the airport is for just 5,000 passengers. But the daily footfall is around 20,000 passengers. Hence the airport always remains over-crowded,” Ghosh said.