In a boost to Air India, aviation regulator DGCA has given its go ahead to the government-owned airline to operate its Dreamliner fleet during the forthcoming fog season even as the regulator has called a meeting of all stakeholders including airlines and airport operators this week to take stock of their preparedness to deal with the fog-related problems.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed Air India to operate its Dreamliner B787-800 aircraft, using CAT III Instrumental Landing System during the thick fog, a senior DGCA official said.
Following the DGCA certification, these aircraft will be able to land even when visibility drops to below 100 meters.
Dense fog conditions generally hits most part of north India between mid-December and mid-February every year, which result in disruption of rail and air services.
The state-run airline has 21 Being 787-800s in the fleet, which are deployed in both international and domestic network.
In order to conduct low-visibility landings an airline requires certification for its aircraft and pilots, who need to undergo ground training, simulator training and flying under the supervision of examiner.
Air India already has trained most of its pilots on the Dreamliner fleet for CAT-IIIB operations.
In a CAT IIIB operation, aircraft can land in visibility of as low as 50m.
Of the 76 domestic airports having scheduled operations, only Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is equipped to handle aircraft movement in dense fog conditions.
DGCA, the official said, has called a meeting of all stakeholders including representatives of airlines and airport operators, among others, this Tuesday to discuss measures taken by them to tackle issues flight operations during the fog.
“Airports Authority of India is in the process of making three more airports – Lucknow, Jaipur and Amritsar – CAT-IIIB compliant. The process is expected to be completed by this month,” the official said.