Fog envelopes IGI, affects schedule of about 200 flights

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) After a gap of three weeks, densefog returned at the IGI airport today bringing air operationsto virtual standstill and disrupting schedules of nearly 200domestic and international flights, causing inconvenience tothe passengers.

Over 150 flights were delayed by half an hour to threehours, a Jet Airways flight from Abu Dhabi had to be divertedto Mumbai while two domestic flights -- of SpiceJet andKingfisher -- from Mumbai had to be diverted to Lucknow andJaipur respectively after runway visibility dropped to 50metres early in the morning, an airport official said.

"Airlines had to cancel 13 domestic flights from and tothe city. Also. most of the flights scheduled to depart after5.45 AM were rescheduled," he added.

Fog started to descend on the airport around 3 AMforcing the airport authorities to implement low visibilityprocedures on third runway at 3.32 AM.

Visibility at the main runway also started to deterioratearound 5.30 AM and authorities implemented the low visibilityprocedures at 5.45 AM.

The LVP remained in force till 12.30 PM during which112 aircraft operated with the help of various categories ofinstrument landing system (ILS). During the eight hour and 58minutes duration of LVP at third runway and six hour and 45minutes on the main runway, 68 flights operated with CAT-IILS, 5 with CAT-II, 17 with CAT-IIIA and 22 with CAT-IIIB ILS.

Most of flights scheduled to depart early morning weredelayed as the runway visibility dropped to 75 metres, farbelow the required minimum criteria of 125 metres for take-offset by the DGCA, while the general visibility remained below50 metres for about five hours.

The runway visibility hovered between 50 to 100 metresand there were hardly any take-offs, due to which there wereinordinate delays in schedule of flights, the official said,adding between 7 AM and 8 AM only three flights took off.

The situation started to improve only after 10 AM, whenthe visibility started to improve and become 800 metres butthe flights remained delayed due to cascading effect of theearly morning fog, the official said.

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