Delhi Airport Faces Flooding After Record Monsoon Rains

Delhi Airport Faces Flooding After Record Monsoon Rains

Delhi Airport found itself underwater yesterday as monsoon showers poured down across the city. The sudden rains left parts of the terminal entrance seeing inches-deep water while ground vehicles struggled to get through the apron due to rising water levels. Airport authorities swiftly began cleaning up after the rain settled and normal operations resumed a few hours later.

Multiple Indian airlines parked
Delhi Airport has faced flooding in the past too, raising issues about lack of drainage planning. Photo: Getty Images

Pouring

Residents of Delhi-NCR woke up to thundering showers on Saturday morning. The sudden rain quickly impacted all forms of transport, with roads waterlogged, underpasses closed due to flooding, and long traffic jams. Delhi Airport felt the impact too, with passengers making a video of the situation at around 06:00 AM.

By 06:00, parts of the Terminal 3 entrance saw waterlogging, forcing travelers to walk through the water to enter. While still navigable and not too deep, passengers took to Twitter to vent their frustrations about the situation. Moreover, thousands were delayed due to road closures or traffic jams across NCR.

However, with the rain showing no signs of slowing, operations airside were being affected too. Visuals from the morning show baggage handling and other ground vehicles wading through water to nearby aircraft. While flights were still departing, an hour or longer delays were faced by those who made it to the airport.

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Clean up

Data from FlightRadar24.com shows that flights after 07:00 began seeing delays. Delays ranged from 20 minutes to 2 hours, with 40 minutes being typical for morning departures. This had a ripple effect on flights throughout the day, with services only returning to normal hours later in the evening.

For those living in Delhi, the situation is all too familiar. Indira Gandhi International Airport has seen similar flooding in 2019 and 2013, in similar months. With flooding becoming a recurring issue, many have asked why airport authorities aren’t doing more to combat the challenge.

However, Delhi Airport moved quickly to help passengers yesterday. Cleanup crews were sent to the terminal soon after the waterlogging, and the area was back to normal by 8:00 AM. While passengers still struggled to get to the airport, the situation landside had improved drastically.

As Delhi Airport continues expanding with new gates and infrastructure, drainage is critical to the plan. A worse bout of rainfall than yesterday’s could cause a complete shut down of operations within hours.

Not the only one

Delhi saw its worst single-day rains in nearly two decades yesterday, with 117.9mm of rainfall (for comparison, the entire August saw just 214.5mm), according to The Indian Express. While we don’t know how frequent such showers will be, the airport will be bracing for more disruptions in the dying weeks of the monsoon.

Delhi Airport’s flooding comes weeks after New York-area airports saw a similar situation. Newark Airport was shut down for hours after water reached dangerous levels inside the terminal, while JFK and LaGuardia both also saw waterlogging. Over the years, many airports have also gone through the same challenges. For now, airports globally are likely reviewing their storm plans and making quick improvements.

What do you think about Delhi Airport’s situation yesterday? Let us know in the comments.

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