Fog delays 15 flights at Delhi airport

December 11th, 2008 - 12:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) A flight had to be cancelled, another diverted and yet another 15 flights were delayed as a thick fog set in the capital Thursday morning, dipping the runway visibility at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).An IGIA official told IANS that the runway visibility, although improving now, had dipped to as low as 400 metres early in the morning, much below the required 750 metres, thus affecting the flight schedules.

“The runway visibility after 6.54 a.m. had dropped to 450 metres and went lower to 400 metres. That delayed at least 15 flights. A Mumbai-Delhi Spicejet flight had to be diverted to Jaipur for the same reason,” the official said.

The delays, the official added, were for a maximum 45 minutes. A Jet Airways Amritsar bound flight from Delhi was also cancelled.

“The visibility has now risen to 1,000 metres and is improving,” he said.

Airport officials Wednesday said the third runway at IGIA had been equipped with surface movement radars that are essential in low visibility conditions but they were yet to get permission to operate the equipment.

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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