Chennai flights suspended, Indian expats collect aid
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said Monday daily flights to Chennai will be suspended for a further two days, until December 9 after torrential rains forced the closure of the city’s airport last week.
The airline normally operates three flights daily to the southern Indian city, which has been hit by its heaviest downpour in a century, leaving the airport flooded.
At least 280 people have been killed and thousands have been left homeless.
Etihad has indicated it will only resume flights after it receives “official confirmation of the airport’s reopening.”
On Sunday the airport reportedly reopened partially to allow some domestic flights to depart.
Other airlines in the region, including Emirates, Qatar Airways, flydubai and Bahrain’s Gulf Air, have also cancelled flights to Chennai.
The first air cargo of aid from the UAE, consisting of bundles of blankets, food and medicines has been sent after residents rallied to collect relief supplies for the flood-hit southern Indian city.
Indian expatriates with family in Chennai told The National on Saturday that they were overwhelmed at the response to text messages calling for essential items.
The first two batches of goods, totalling more than 1.6 tonnes, were sent as air cargo on Sunday.
Supplies from Bur Dubai were sent by air cargo to Bangalore and on to Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu. Material from Ras Al Khor was flown from Bangalore to Trichy to reach Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu state.