The problem of fog delays may lessen for passengers flying in and out of the Jaipur airport during the upcoming winters, with the process to making it CAT-III compliant likely to be completed soon.
This would make Jaipur airport the second airport in the country after Delhi to be fitted with this high-tech navigation and landing equipment.
The calibration of the upgraded equipment (ILS CAT-III) at the runway has already been carried out by the Airports Authority of India and a report on it is expected to be submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) by the third week of this month, a senior DGCA official said.
Significantly, two early morning flights, one each of budget carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet arriving at Jaipur airport last week, were diverted to other stations after the visibility dropped due to smog.
Instrument Landing System (Category-III) is an advanced navigation aid empowering an aircraft to land under foggy conditions. While a Category-IIIA approach is a precision instrument approach and landing that enables a plane to land with a runway visual range (RVR) of 200 metres, Category-IIIB helps in landing with an RVR of less than 50 metres.
Jaipur Airport is already equipped with ILS (Cat-II), which has an RVR of 300 metres and is not adequate to help flights land in thick fog due to poor visibility.
The official said the equipment calibration report was “likely to be submitted to the DGCA by the third week of this month.”
After AAI sends its report to DGCA, the regulator will take a final call on the issue, he said, adding “once the DGCA gives its nod, Jaipur airport will become the second airport in the country to have CAT-III operations after Delhi.”
“By upgrading the airport to CAT-III level, the traffic bound for Delhi airport can also be diverted to Jaipur during the peak foggy season,” the official said.
Government had in December 2015 announced that 13 more airports, including Amritsar, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Patna and Lucknow, will be made CAT-III compliant to ensure seamless flight operations even during fog.
The fog season in north India generally sets in from the first week of December every year.
Domestic airlines are required to deploy only CAT-III compliant planes and crew trained to fly under low visibility conditions while operating in and out of Indira Gandhi International Airport here during fog season.