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Cyclone Fani: Prabhu asks airport authorities to stay alert, requests airlines to offer assistance

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 2, 2019  | 19:43 IST

(Eds: Adding IndiGo and Air India updates) New Delhi, May 2 (PTI) Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu Thursday said all authorities concerned have been put on alert to deal with cyclone 'Fani' and all airlines requested to offer assistance in rescue and relief operations. The 'extremely severe' cyclonic storm is expected to hit Odisha coast on Friday. Other states on the eastern coast, such as West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, are also expected to be affected by the cyclone. "Alerted all concerned to be ready to deal with Cyclone Fani. Airports Authority of India issued alert to all coastal airports to ensure all precautions, SOPs (standard operating procedures) put in place immediately," Prabhu said in a tweet. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) owns and manages over 100 airports across the country. The situation will be monitored at the highest level and "airlines and all others (are) to be fully ready," Prabhu said. In another tweet, the Union minister said, "All airlines are requested to offer all assistance for rescue and relief operations in view of cyclone Fani. All relief material should be airlifted to be delivered to officially designated agencies." Exhorting the aviation sector to rise to the occasion, he said a "control room is being set up". The operations of various domestic airlines have already been affected due to the oncoming cyclone. Budget carrier IndiGo issued a travel advisory on Twitter, saying, "Due to Cyclone Fani, flights to and from Visakhapatnam have been cancelled for today (May 2, 2019)". The airline said its flights to and from Bhubaneswar have been "disrupted" on Thursday. It added all flights to and from Odisha's capital have been cancelled for Friday. The low-cost carrier, which has around 44 per cent of domestic passenger market share, advised affected passengers to go to one of its website links "to opt for alternate options or get a refund". Vistara airline also issued a travel update on the micro-blogging site. It said as 'Fani' is likely to impact Bhubaneswar and Kolkata on May 2 and May 3, it is waiving "change and cancellation fee" for flights that will depart or arrive from these two cities between May 2 and May 5. "Fare difference if any, will be applicable for date changes," the full-service carrier said. In a statement, GoAir said it "is waiving cancellation and change fees for Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Ranchi flights for travel between May 2 to May 5. Passengers are allowed to re-book their flights within 7 days of scheduled departure." Vistara and GoAir have around four per cent and nine per cent of domestic passenger market share, respectively. Air India announced on Twitter that no penalties for "re-issuance, date change, no-show, cancellation and refund" would be charged if the passenger is travelling to and from Bhubaneswar and Vishakhapatnam between May 3 and May 5. Fani lays centred over west-central Bay of Bengal, about 430 km south-southwest of Puri in Odisha, 225 km south-southeast of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and 650 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal, according to the latest bulletin of the India Meteorological Department (IMD). PTI DSP DPB

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