Published On: Mon, Jan 15th, 2024

Scindia announces measures to tackle fog disruptions at Delhi airport

New Delhi: Delhi airport faced severe disruption of flight operations on Monday due to dense fog that reduced visibility to zero for several hours.

DGCA will issue an SOP for airlines on better communication

Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that the authorities had to shut down operations temporarily on CAT III runways, which are designed to handle low-visibility conditions, as a safety measure. He also shared the steps being taken to mitigate the situation in the near future.

Scindia took to X (formerly Twitter) to inform the passengers about the fog situation and the steps being taken by the aviation ministry and other stakeholders. He said, “Yesterday, Delhi witnessed unprecedented fog wherein visibility fluctuated for several hours, and at times, dropped to zero between 5 AM to 9 AM.”

“The authorities, therefore, were compelled to enforce a shut-down of operations for some time even on CAT III runways (CAT III runways cannot handle Zero-Visibility operations). The decision was taken keeping passenger safety in mind, which remains the foremost priority for all in the aviation ecosystem. ”

Scindia also announced the following steps to improve the operations at Delhi airport in case of fog. He said “Delhi Airport has been asked to immediately expedite the operationalization of the CAT III-enabled 4th runway (in addition to the existing CAT III-enabled runway) to the satisfaction of the DGCA India, in order to get approvals.”

The DGCA will issue an SOP for airlines on better communication and facilitation of passengers to minimise discomfort in view of flight cancellations & delays due to adverse weather.

Scindia also appealed to the travellers to bear with the situation and assured them that all stakeholders are working round the clock to minimise the fog-related impact. He said, “It is my earnest request to all travellers to bear with us during this difficult period. All stakeholders are trying their best to minimize passenger inconvenience.”

He also warned against any incidences of unruly behaviour by the passengers and said that they will be dealt with strongly in line with the existing legal provisions. He said, “Incidences of unruly behaviour amidst this are unacceptable, and will be dealt with strongly in line with the existing legal provisions.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry Of Aviation (MOA) refuted the claim made by an X user who said that only one of the four runways at Delhi airport was operational and that it did not have CAT III facility. The user, Kapil Chopra, had tweeted, “Delhi airport has 4 runways, guess how many are operational ? One. Yes. And guess what, the operational runway does not have CAT 3, so cannot operate in fog. No flights took off for 5 hours. Why?”

The MOA responded by saying, “This is not correct. All three Operational Runways at Delhi Airport including a CAT III runway were handling flight operations as per their capabilities yesterday, however, with reduced capacity due to intense fog.”

The MOA also shared the data of the flight movements on the three runways from 5 AM to 9 AM. It said, “Data from 5 AM to 9 AM shows that the CAT III Runway RWY 11R/29L handled 30 landings and 1 take off during the 4 hour period whereas the non- CAT III Runway RWY 9/27 couldn’t handle any flight movement and RWY 11L/29R handled 2 Take-offs during the period.”

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