Mumbai-bound passengers stuck at airports in Tamil Nadu (Lead, Changing dateline)

November 27th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 27 (IANS) Flights to Mumbai from Chennai and the temple city of Madurai, 400 km south of here, were delayed leaving passengers on tenterhooks Thursday.A scheduled flight operated by a private airline bound for the financial capital with 48 passengers on board returned after 40 minutes following a technical snag, sources in the airport said.

K.N. Rajamani, 33, a resident of Vashi, a satellite city on Mumbai’s northern outskirts was worried about his pregnant wife Nitya, 29.

“Though gynaecologists had predicted Nitya would deliver only next week she suddenly developed labour pains today. Since this will be our first child, I want to be by her side,” Rajamani told IANS while waiting for the next flight’s takeoff.

Though he said his mother is with his wife and he was in touch with her on a mobile phone, Rajamani admitted that he was still worried

“There were a few delays, but there are no cancellations of Mumbai bound flights. The flight, which returned due to a snag, will leave soon,” an airport official told IANS.

Stuck at Madurai airport along with many other passengers as the Indian Airlines flight to Mumbai was delayed due to the terror attack, Mumbai resident R Priya was anxious to reach home to join her family despite being in contact with them and knowing they are safe.

“My family is safe but I am just waiting to get back home”, said Priya, who lives in Andheri in northwest Mumbai.

Priya had gone to Kodaikanal - a hill station 400 km south of here for some work — was not sure when she would reach Mumbai fearing delays in Madurai and in Chennai.

Flights of other private carriers that were scheduled to take off from the Madurai airport have also been delayed.

Nearly 50 passengers are stuck at the airport after their Indian Airlines hopping flight to Mumbai via Chennai was delayed due to the terror attack.

“Originally 90 people were to take the flight, out of which 50 were booked for Mumbai. However, a number of people have not checked in as yet and I do not think they would even come,” an official at the airport said.

Passengers that include both foreigners and Indians were clueless as to when the flight would leave and even airport officials did not seem to have much information.

Michael Harrigan, 59, an American national working in Thailand, who was on Chennai flight to return to Bangkok, said he had heard of the attack but was not afraid.

“I am a frequent traveller to Mumbai and have stayed at these hotels. I can understand the harrowing experience of all the people,” Harrigan told IANS.

“I travel all across Asia and I know that being an American I am a potential target. One must keep going as the life goes on,” he added.

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