Services of nearly 17 flights faced a delay due to the smog blanketing Chennai on Wednesday, following burning of old items for Bhogi festival.
Flights to and from Bangalore, Kolkata, Siliguri, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and New Delhi were affected. Airport authorities said that while there wasn't any disruption of services until 7.30 am, the delay occured later due to smog in the runways.
Nine flights that were destined for arrival from Bangalore, Kolkata, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Delhi too were delayed by an hour. Also, eight flights that were scheduled from Chennai to Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Kochi and Patna also faced a delay. The services are expected to resume soon.
Meanwhile, a few days ago, the Chennai Airport authorities had also requested the public, particularly those staying near the airport, not to burn waste material during Bhogi as it emanates thick smoke, thanked them for cooperating in ensuring minimal disruption of air traffic.
Bhogi is celebrated in Tamil Nadu a day ahead of the harvest festival of 'Pongal', where old items like mats are set ablaze in a symbolic gesture of doing away with the old and ushering in the new. The festival marks the birth of the auspicious Tamil month of 'Thai'.
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. Last year, flight disruptions were minimal owing to smog during Bhogi, while in 2018 departures and arrivals of 115 flights were hit due to thick smoke.