Airports Authority of India (AAI) have appealed to residents in and around Chennai airport premises to not disrupt air traffic by burning tyre and plastics during the Pongal Bhogi festival.
Bhogi celebration is the customary bonfire preceding Pongal, the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu.
During the Bhogi festival, the smoke emanating from the residential areas around the Chennai airport, caused by burning of tyre and plastics along with old materials in their homes surrounds the airport runway.
As a result, flight services at the Chennai airport are severely disrupted on the morning of Bhogi festival every year.
In 2018, 73 departures and 45 arrivals were affected. Incoming flights suffered delays of several hours and were unable to land in Chennai resulting in diversions/cancellations/ delays of flights, Authorities had to re-route flights to other airports affecting thousands of passengers in the process. The impact of smog during the Pongal festival in 2019, 2020 was slightly less.
With just a few days left for Pongal this year, the public has been requested not to burn products such as tyres and plastics which can cause a lot of smoke. Residents living near the airport should also avoid burning waste in the streets.
This way, the services at the Chennai airport will not be affected and the environment will also be protected from pollution.