134 flights delayed, five diverted due to fog in Delhi(Lead)

January 1st, 2009 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) Over 134 flights were delayed and five diverted on the New Year’s day at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here, thanks to a thick fog that enveloped the capital city Thursday morning.However, 131 flights were operated in low visibility conditions during the day, an airport official said.

While airport officials said nine flights were cancelled, Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), the airport developer, said in a statement that there was no cancellation due to fog.

On Wednesday, at least 10 early morning flights were cancelled due to low passenger load and anticipation of fog by airlines, but flight operations otherwise remained normal. But the fog reappeared Thursday.

Two domestic and three international flights were diverted to Mumbai and Jaipur Thursday, DIAL said. “The general visibility was 50 metres. Thankfully, however, runway visibility hovered between 150 and 250 metres. Some flights have taken off as scheduled, but most have been delayed or cancelled,” the airport official told IANS.

Flights on an average were delayed by an hour, while many flights were delayed by up to four hours, said the official. In all, 265 flights operated at the Delhi airport by 3 p.m.

The weatherman here has forecast foggy conditions ahead.

Since fogs started hitting the city Dec 22, 19 flights were diverted and 257 flew in low visibility conditions.

Flights operating in and out of Delhi were severely affected by the dense fog Monday and Tuesday as visibility fell below 50 metres. Over 350 domestic and international flights were delayed and 35 flights were cancelled over these two days.

Vehicular traffic also moved at a sluggish pace due to the thick fog. However, no road accidents attributed to the fog were reported Thursday morning.

Joint Commissioner (Traffic) S.M. Srivastava told IANS that the full force was working to ease the traffic situation.

“Our force is limited but has been working around the clock since yesterday. A majority of the personnel worked till 2 a.m. and people were deployed to tackle the morning fog. Those who had worked late will return to work by noon,” he said.

Many trains to and from the capital were also running well behind schedules as much of northern India was covered by fog.

The minimum temperature Thursday morning was recorded at 8.5 degrees, the next few days are likely to see a dip in the minimum temperatures by three degrees, an official from the Safdarjung meteorological office said.

“The maximum daytime temperatures have already dropped to 16 degrees Celsius from 20.8 degrees Celsius in just two days, the chill is still setting in,” the Met official added.

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