The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has closed the inundated Chennai International Airport due to severe floods in the South Indian city.
The airport was closed down on the night of 1 December after endless rains resulted in water logging of the runway.
Initially, the AAI suspended operations until 3 December. However, a review of the condition forced it to extend the closure further.
The airport is likely to be opened on Sunday, depending on the weather conditions.
Around 1,500 passengers, who were stranded at the airport, were evacuated.
An AAI official was quoted by The Economic Times as saying: "People could not leave because the road outside the airport is submerged in knee-deep water. We have arranged for six buses to evacuate passengers."
The airport staff, comprising 2,000 employees, were also stranded.
The temporary closure of the airport has seen cancellation of 119 flights, including 66 arrivals and 53 departures, till the noon of 2 December.
Low cost airline SpiceJet chief administrative officer GP Gupta said: "All our operations at Chennai Airport have been suspended till further instructions as the airport is waterlogged and the tarmac is submerged in one-and-half feet of water. Refunds have also been offered to (those booked on) cancelled flights and alternatives have been offered wherever possible."
Evacuation process is underway with around 1,000 passengers rescued by Army personnel on 3 December. Arrangements are being made to make limited commercial flight operations from the nearby Rajali Naval Air base.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation and Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma was reported by DNA India as saying: "Air India and some private airlines have agreed to operate six flights from Arakkonam tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
"Manual ticketing for the flights will be done at the Rajali Naval Air base. Passengers can carry only hand baggage in these flights, check-in baggage will not be allowed. Railways will operate shuttle services from Chennai Beach station to Arakkonam."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel notice yesterday, advising international passengers to postpone non-essential travel to Chennai.
Image: Chennai International Airport closed due to severe floods. Photo: courtesy of User:Tshrinivasan/Wikipedia.