By Ashoke Raj
New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): An Airports Authority of India (AAI) official on Saturday said there is no immediate plan to shut airports in the wake of cyclone Tauktae as there is no clarity about areas that will be "most affected" due to the natural disaster.
"Right now it is not clear that which area will be most affected due to the cyclone. We do not have a plan to shut the airports as of now," the official said.
A high-level operational review meeting of the AAI is underway with senior officials over the situation.
"After IMD alerted us about the recent cyclone Tauktae, AAI is closely monitoring the weather patterns and how it will affect... Accordingly, if the parameters are not in accordance with the aircraft operation then only we will take action," AAI senior official told ANI.
"It is an operational measure and we are taking care of all these things... All our airport operation personnel, airport directors, and ATCs of the respective airports are trained to deal with such a calamity and they have handled it before as well. Therefore, we are following the set Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)," the official added.
After the cyclonic warning, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed several teams on the ground. At least 24 teams have been pre-deployed and 29 teams are on standby for Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, SN Pradhan, NDRF Director General, told ANI.
A multi-faceted team is monitoring the cyclone vulnerability. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), AAI, DGCA, IMD, Disaster Management Team, and airlines are in touch with the concerned authorities for further decision.
Airlines have also put their teams and operations on alert ahead of the cyclone. Vistara and IndiGo have issued advisories for their passengers that their flights are likely to be impacted.
"Due to the adverse weather conditions expected over the Arabian Sea, flights to and from Chennai, Thiruvanathapuram, Kochi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Goa and Ahmedabad are likely to be impacted till May 17, 2021," Vistara said.
IndiGo tweeted: "Travel Advisory: Due to Cyclone Tauktae, flights to/from Kannur are impacted. You may visit Plan B to opt for alternate options or get a refund."
Warning about the cyclone Tauktae, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday said the low-pressure area over the Arabian Sea near Lakshadweep has intensified into a deep depression and is expected to make a landfall between May 17 and May 18.
The cyclone will hit and affect five states- Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting to review preparations against the cyclone on Saturday. Senior officials from the government and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will be present at the meeting. (ANI)