Dense fog likely to return towards month-end, says the weatherman

A day after first dense fog of the season badly affected the air and rail traffic in the Capital, the situation improved considerably on Tuesday with a fewer cancellations and delays. The flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport were almost normal with just four cancellations and about 80 delays.

According to the Meteorological Department, the airport witnessed dense fog from 1-30 a.m. to 3 a.m., while low visibility procedure remained in place from 7-30 p.m. on Monday to 9-48 a.m. on Tuesday with a three-hour lull in between. The weatherman said the dense fog is likely to return towards the month-end.

An airport official claimed that most of the flights were delayed due to congestion and backlog and majority of the flights operated on time in the afternoon. Also, the four flights that were cancelled due to foggy weather ran on small routes like Allahabad and Dehra Dun.

At least a dozen flights had to be cancelled and more than 150 were delayed due to dense fog on Monday, causing great inconvenience to passengers.

The situation on the train front also improved with Northern Railway claiming that just 61 trains were running behind schedule compared to 114 on Monday. Besides, 43 trains were cancelled and 12 were partially cancelled.

Meanwhile, Metrological Department director R.K. Jenamani said the IGI airport could witness 120 hours of dense fog during the next two months. “The fog season has started from today and it will last up to February 20 next year. Heavy fog conditions are expected to last for about 120 hours during this period,” said Dr. Jenamani, adding that situation this year may not be as bad as it was last year.

He admitted that the biggest challenge for the department was to forecast the visibility at separate airways as the visibility on runway 29 tends to be less compared to 28. “We witnessed a unique phenomenon on Monday with the runway visual range at runway 29 being just 50 meters when it was 600 metre at 28. It is very difficult to predict visibility at separate runways,” Dr. Jenamani said.

Delhi International Airport Limited officials have claimed that the airport was well-equipped to function during low visibility conditions and fight weather woes. Giving details of various steps taken by the company to deal with adverse weather conditions in the coming weeks, DIAL officials informed that 145 parking bays had been provided with CAT III compatible lighting systems, an increase of 15 parking bays compared to last year.

In an attempt to improve communication with passengers DIAL would be sharing fog related details and status of flights on social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter and Google+) in addition to its website. Also, the seating capacity at Terminal-3 and Terminal-1D has been increased, additional food and beverage counters opened and additional manpower deployed for cleaning of the washrooms during fog period.