- A FedEx flight from Bengaluru made a runway excursion while landing
- The incident, however, did not disrupt flight operations
- It was decided to suspend airport operations due to strong crosswinds
Flight operations at Mumbai airport, that was shut till 7 pm in view of the landfall of cyclone Nisarga, will now restart an hour early, at 6 pm. The decision was announced after the severe cyclonic storm,, which made landfall at Alibaug near Mumbai this afternoon, crossed Mumbai by 5 pm.
The decision to temporarily shut the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport was taken after a FedEx flight from Bengaluru made a runway excursion while landing. While there was no disruption in flight operations, it was decided to suspend airport operations in view of the strong crosswinds which can interfere with take-offs and landings, sources said.
"In consultation with AAI, considering the strong crosswinds, it has been decided that no arrivals and departures will take place between 14:30-19:00 hrs," an official statement read.
The country's financial capital has been put on high alert in view of the cyclone. The Banda-Worli sea link in the city has been closed to traffic. Public places like beaches, parks and promenades along the Mumbai coastline have been declared no-go zones by the police. More than 19,000 people across the state have been moved to safety.
Last evening, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to the people to stay home for the next two days, saying the cyclone could be "more severe" than any that the state has faced till now.
The city's civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, has been circulating a list of dos and don'ts. People have been asked to shut gas and electric mains, stay away from windows, and keep mobile phones and power banks charged.
Besides Maharashtra, Gujarat, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have been put on high alert as parts of these states and the union territories fall on the path of the cyclone.
The cyclone -- the second to hit the country within a month -- comes as Maharashtra is struggling to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
With more than 70,000 cases, the state is the biggest virus hotspot in the country. In his address yesterday, Mr Thackeray said, "There is a dual challenge, virus and cyclone, and we will have to face it".