Fog sets in, Delhi airport not fully equipped (Lead)

December 10th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) Air travellers in New Delhi had a tough time Wednesday morning as the first fog of this winter set in, delaying over a dozen flights, but the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is yet to operate surface movement radars that are essential in low visibility conditions on its new runway.Airport officials said the third runway at IGIA had been equipped with surface movement radars but they were yet to get permission to operate the equipment. As a result, the runway could not be used Wednesday morning.

R.K. Jenamani, meteorological office director of IGIA, told IANS: “The first fog of this winter season hit the capital, including the airport, today (Wednesday).”

About 10 to 15 flights, due to take off Wednesday morning from the domestic airport, were delayed by 30 minutes to an hour due to poor visibility, an airport official said.

The fog led to runway visibility dropping below the required 750 metres, thus affecting the flight schedules of various airlines, he said.

“The visibility fell to 625 metres and only a single runway was operational in the morning,” the official added.

Last week, Arun Arora, associate vice-president (corporate communications) of Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), said the radars were undergoing trial and efforts were being made to get them installed before fog sets in. He also stated that everything was being done to lessen the impact of the fog.

DIAL, which runs the Delhi airport, had asked the airlines to ensure that CAT IIIB trained pilots are employed on Delhi-bound flights. CAT IIIB is a device that helps pilots locate runways even in extremely low visibility conditions.

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