Flight operations which were suspended at the Delhi airport on Monday morning due to poor visibility, have now resumed. But still many flights continue to be delayed. As the visibility dropped below 50 meters, the city witnessed the dense fog of this winter which affected the operations in the morning hours. Dense fog delayed five domestic and seven International flights, while one flight got cancelled today. As thick fog covered the national capital, Indian Railway services were also hit badly. Around 56 trains in Delhi were delayed, 20 were rescheduled, while 15 got cancelled due to low visibility in the region.
Yesterday, on the last day of the year 2017, over 90 flights were affected due to dense fog at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, the heaviest of the year. Over 270 flights were delayed, nearly 50 diverted and an estimated 35 were cancelled. No flight could take off from the airport here for nearly four hours between 7.30 am and 11.05 am on Sunday, according to an airport official. Take-offs from the IGI Airport require a minimum visibility range of 125 metres. However, as Delhi airport had advanced technology for low-visibility landings, and had called the CAT IIIB system (short for category three), aircraft qualified to land in the visibility of 25-50 metres could arrive.
There were, however, nearly 50 diversions to nearby airports as many pilots deployed by airlines were not trained in CAT IIIB instrument landing system, the source said. “Runway visibility since 5.30 AM has been between 50-75 metres. This is so far the worst fog we have experienced this year,” RK Jenamani, Director, India Meteorological Department, Delhi area and IGI Airport had said yesterday.
An official from the Met department termed it the “worst” fog of the season. While visibility improved to 2,000 metres later in the day and operations were restored to normal, there were consequential delays throughout the day and a waiting time of upto six hours was common. Many took to Twitter to share pictures of the overcrowded domestic terminal where passengers could be seen sitting on floors and occupying staircases.
Earlier, flight operations at the Patna airport were affected as dense fog engulfed the aerodrome and visibility dropped below the required limit.