The Indian Air Force has pressed into service three aircraft to evacuate hundreds of passengers stranded at the Chennai airport where operations were suspended due to heavy rains and water logging on the runway.

The IAF said that it has received clearance from the authorities to ferry civilian passengers from Chennai to Delhi and the operations would begin post-noon on Thursday.

Two C-17 from ‘INS Rajali’ airbase in Arakkonam, about 60 km west of Chennai, and one C-130 J aircraft at Tambaram airbase, have been stationed for reconnaissance missions, the sources said.

Airports Authority of India chairman R K Shrivastava in New Delhi said that around 250-300 passengers are stranded at the Chennai airport.

These passengers will be airlifted from the Chennai airport to Tambaram and Arakkonam airbase of the air force, he added.

Flight services in and out of Chennai Airport were suspended on Wednesday due to the heavy rains and water logging on the runway and the Airports Authority of India had also issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) to all air operators in this regard.

Aviation authorities had said that the operations could resume only after rains stopped and water receded at the airport.

So far, the IAF has airlifted 200 stranded passengers from flood-hit Chennai to Hyderabad.

Four transport aircraft took off from Rajali Naval air station near Arakonam, about 70 km from Chennai.

The aircraft will land at Air Force Station, Begumpet on Thursday afternoon, an official of the Air Force Station said.

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