Mumbai, Nov. 19 -- The city airport recorded probably the highest number of the private charter and helicopter movements on Sunday - 25 private jet sorties in a span of 24 hours - as national political leaders, industrialists and other celebrities landed to Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's funeral procession.
According to the Air Traffic Control officials, this number could be the highest in the airport's history.
While the VVIP movement did not inconvenience passengers, scores of travellers were stranded at the airport for the second consecutive day on Sunday as a major section of public transport services including autos and taxis stayed off the roads.
Airport officials however said that unlike Friday when a few airline crew vehicles were attacked causing flight delays, no flight disruptions or delays were witnessed on Sunday.
Although many travel advisories on how to exit from the airport had been doing the rounds among frequent travellers across several social media websites since Saturday, a significant number of air travellers were caught unawares when they arrived in the city on Sunday.
Worse, food courts and eateries around the airport were shut. "I regretted skipping a meal on board the flight because not a single shop outside the airport was open. Luckily I had a packet of biscuits, saved me," said Pinky Chelaramani, another stranded passenger who arrived from Chennai on Sunday.
"The last time I travelled during such an emergency, a few pre-paid taxis were available at the airport. But since I was prepared to pay extra, I did not the bother to have a back up," said Thane resident Shailesh Patil who was stuck for two hours on Sunday.
Airport sources said that though two buses each were added at the international and domestic terminals to ferry passengers to the nearby railway stations. Prepaid taxis resumed operations at the international terminal late in the evening.
"In addition to buses dropping passengers round the clock to the stations, a few BEST buses on the highway were re-routed to pick up passengers from the two domestic terminals to accommodate more passengers," said a MIAL spokesperson.
Emergency travel advisories issued by some airlines came handy for fliers.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.