Poor visibility also hits train operations; 12 cancelled, 64 delayed.
New Delhi: With Delhi airport experiencing an early fog this year, the authorities said that they have put five extra RVR (Runway Visual Range) devices to give real-time information about the runway visibility to the air traffic controller.
Curbing disruption of flight services will get tougher as the high pollution levels and adverse wind patterns have made the fog situation worse, R.K. Jenamani, head of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport meteorological unit, said. Hundreds of flights were delayed and many cancelled or diverted after dense fog hit the national capital last week. According to Mr Jenamani, calm or light wind conditions for barely 24 hours is good enough to trigger a six-day foggy spell in the capital since pollution levels are at its all-time high. He said that the second spell of dense fog is likely to hit the capital from Wednesday. On an average, Delhi sees 20 days of dense fog between mid-December and mid-February.
This year, the MET office has installed five new RVR devices at Delhi airport, taking the total tally to 18. The equipment helps a pilot operating an aircraft to accurately measure the visibility at various points on the runway and aids in decision making on whether it is safe to land the aircraft in foggy conditions.
“The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has made all the necessary arrangements to ensure uninterrupted provision of safe, efficient, and orderly air traffic services at IGI Airport,” A.K. Bhardwaj, the general manager of Air Traffic Movement said.
The collaborative decision making (CDM) process to effectively manage any disruptions due to fog is already in place and all the stakeholders are on-board to ensure that there is less inconvenience to the air travellers during the winter months, Mr Bhardwaj added. Authorities claimed that due to better coordination among all the stakeholders, the number of diversion due to fog at Delhi airport had came down to 44 in the last winter season as against 144 in 2014-15. “We are fully prepared to handle flight operations this year. CAT-III B system installed at the Delhi airport is capable of handling flight arrivals with Runway Visibility Range of up to 50 metre,” Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) chief executive officer I. Prabhakara Rao said. Three runways at the IGI Airport are certified for CAT-III B operations, which would allow landing of the compliant aircraft with visibility as low as 50 meters.
Meanwhile, fog continued to disrupt train operation with 64 north-bound trains, including Rajdhani and Shatabdi, running behind schedule by several hours while 12 trains were cancelled on Tuesday.