Delhi airport has suffered a double whammy. The first blow was the closure of a runway at the IGI airport that has led to flights being staggered as well as caused fares to soar and this has been followed by a man-made disaster – smog. Not only is it making the lives of Delhiites a misery as it is virtually choking the very life out of them, it has also affected travellers who are facing rail, road and flight delays. The visibility at Delhi airport is so poor due to the smoke that authorities are having to intervene to ensure full safety of all.
This morning as many as 50 were affected flights by up to two hours. In fact, just one of the three runways was available to the aeroplanes. And this happened with airport officials having to grapple with over 45 incoming and outgoing flights – every hour!
It was revealed by official sources that the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport faced a situation where the shorter runway 9/27 was shut down due to extremely poor visibility conditions. This left only runway 10/28 functional. The shorter runway was re-opened during the day when conditions improved.
And, as things panned out, runway 11/29, which is the third runway, has been shut from today itself for three days to carry out essential maintenance.
This forced airlines to reschedule morning flights to non-peak hours in the evening. This affected a huge number of travellers adversely. It was revealed thereafter that a major part of the departing flights were delayed.
The exact nature of the problem was revealed by the Indian Meteorological Department. It said that runway visibility between 7 am and 8 am was less than 200 metres and improved only by 11 am.
It left airlines scrambling to inform their passengers about the change in schedules. Jet Airways in its Twitter post said, “Due to heavy air traffic congestion at #Delhi, departure delays up to 90 minutes are expected at Delhi airport till 1900 hours”