New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) Sudden dense fog at the IGIairport today brought the air operations to a standstill forabout three hours leading to delay of around 150 domestic andinternational flights, diversions of 18 and cancellation offour others.
Flight operations came to a standstill between 7 AM and10 AM as the runway visibility was far below the requiredminimum range of 125 metres for low visibility take-offs.
Poor runway visibility, which dropped to 50 metres at onepoint of time, delayed the departure of about 60 morningflights while 18 incoming flights had to be diverted toAhmedabad, Jaipur, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Lucknow, airportsources said. Four domestic flights were cancelled.
The cascading effect was observed till evening when thetotal number of delayed flights crossed 150, an airportofficial said.
Fog started to descend upon the airport around 4 AM andit started to become dense around 4.30 AM. At 4.44 AM,airport authorities implemented the low visibility procedureon both the runways, which continued till 11.35 AM.
During this, a total of 120 flights landed using variouscategories of instrument landing system.
A total of 49 flights operated with CAT-I, while 14 usedCAT-IIIA and 57 used CAT-III B ILS.
The runway visibility started to drop below the requiredLVT of 125 metres around 7 AM, delaying many flights.
Passengers were a harried lot as the airlines had allowedthem to board the aircraft without anticipating that the fogmight thicken.
Some of them had to spend more than three hours in theplanes as their aircraft were parked on the taxiway and couldnot take off due to poor visibility.
"We were at the runway since 6.50 AM and at 9.40 AM, thepilot announced that we need refuelling now, as they hadburned the fuel at the taxiway, what a waste of preciousfuel," said Rajesh Nagar, a passenger who boarded a JetAirways flight to Chennai.
Some of the passengers, who only had cabin baggage withthem, cancelled their journey and deboarded the plane.