Currently, there is total chaos at airports across India as dense fog covers the South Asian country. Operations were significantly affected at major airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, & Hyderabad. In this article, we will have a look at all the details.
The reason for the fog is attributed to the smoke from bonfires lit for the Bhogi festival on the evening of Pongal.
Delhi Airport: An Absolute Chaos
Due to dense fog surrounding North India, operations at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport were seriously affected. For 10 hours between 00:30 hrs and 11:30 hrs, visibility at Delhi Airport was below 50 meters. This was the worst fog of this season.
Between 13 and 14 January, more than 600 flights were delayed from the airport. Around 76 flight departures were cancelled. Talking about arrival traffic, around 21 flights were diverted, majorly to nearby airports like Jaipur and Ahmedabad.
Between 05:00 AM and 07:30 PM, 245 incoming and 355 outbound flights were delayed. 14 incoming and 62 outgoing flights were canceled. Overall, between 13 & 14 January, 192 arriving flights were canceled. At the same time, around 200 departures were canceled. Delays of 5 to 8 hours were common.
Not just Delhi Airport, but most of the airports in North India faced similar disruptions. The best examples are Amritsar, Jammu, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi & Patna.
Not Enough Runways
Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport has two CAT-IIIB-compliant runways, which help pilots in conducting precision landings. In September, the Delhi Airport operator decided to shut down one runway because of the recarpeting work. Airlines previously as well blamed the airport operator for not doing proper planning.
According to sources of The Hindu, 10 flights were diverted to Jaipur International Airport because pilots were not trained for CAT-IIIB landings. Earlier, DGCA issued show cause notices to SpiceJet & Air India for not deploying CAT-III complaint crew for North India flights.
Since many departures were delayed, some aircraft found it difficult to be assigned a parking bay. An Air India Boeing 787 flying from Frankfurt to Delhi landed but it took two hours to be assigned a parking bay. Only after this, the passengers were deboarded. A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 also suffered the same situation. After landing, the crew had to wait for a long for a parking bay.
Air India flight to Canada was delayed by more than 9 hours. Passengers were kept sitting in the aircraft for hours. Many pilots across airlines had to step down from their aircraft due to completion of Flight Duty Timings Limitations.
Other Indian Airports
Similar to the Domino effect, the dense fog at major airports impacted the aviation industry of the country. All flights from Jammu Airport were canceled. In Southern India, Chennai Airport witnessed the cancellation of more than 50 flights. Hyderabad Airport handled the diversions of more than 10 flights originally destined for Chennai.
At Kolkata Airport, more than 200 flights were affected. More than 30 flights were canceled. For the third consecutive day, Pune Airport witnessed a huge disruption with the cancellation of more than 50 flights. Most of these flights are of IndiGo.